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May 24, 2004

Cheney Stumps for “Christian Nation” Candidate

Listed in: Separation of Church and State, NJDC News, Press Releases

Washington, DC: In a recent campaign trip to Texas, Vice President Cheney "officially backed" a Republican congressional candidate who has asserted her view that America is a "Christian nation."

The Waco Tribune-Herald reports that Cheney "officially backed GOP congressional candidate Arlene Wohlgemuth, underscoring new dynamics at play in the fight over who will personally represent President Bush in Congress." Wohlgemuth is the same candidate who earlier this month said, "We are unique in the world because we are a Christian nation, a gift of God, founded on our belief in God," according to the Cleburne Times-Review. She added, "I believe very deeply that what our laws say are important to God." The same newspaper article reports, "Wohlgemuth said some laws do not line up with God's will and that Christians should continue to push for change in those areas."

The Waco Tribune reports that "Cheney's appearance helped the Wohlgemuth campaign raise more than $300,000 and marks the first time a member of the Bush administration has endorsed a candidate running against U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco." Cheney added of the candidate, who lives in Bush's district, "She's got his vote."

"It is amazing, in this day and age, that the predominant 'tin-ear wing' of the Republican Party still thinks this country is and should remain of one faith -- the Christian faith," said National Jewish Democratic Council Executive Director Ira N. Forman. "Key Republican leaders should immediately condemn and distance themselves from this kind of exclusivist rhetoric -- including President Bush, Vice President Cheney, RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Chief Deputy Whip Rep. Eric Cantor. We've heard it before from many GOP leaders, including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Education Secretary Rod Paige, and others -- and it is simply unacceptable.

"We know the GOP is desperately trying to increase its tiny share of the Jewish vote, but this is a heck of a way to go about it," Forman added.