James Linderman is the Prosecuting Attorney (who represents the local government in criminal court cases) for Emmet County, Michigan, and he’s running for re-election for his fifth term this week.
His campaign strategy? Remind voters that he’s Christian. Super Christian. A True Christian™. And not-at-all Jewish like his opponent.
That’s not an exaggeration. This is the flyer he’s using to get people to vote for him:
(Christian “principals”? And what does being anti-abortion have to do with being an attorney?)
His opponent, Republican Stuart Fenton, rightly pointed out the inherent bigotry associated with that message, especially when he’s the only other candidate in the race.
“I don’t know what’s in his heart, but it is highly offensive to many people, including myself,” Fenton said in an email to the News-Review. “What’s the message he’s sending — ‘Keep the Jews out?’ Why and how is that a relevant issue to the the job description of prosecutor? Aren’t church and state supposed to be separate? Taken in the best light it’s religion baiting and pandering. It’s also very un-Christian like.”
Besides the disturbing underlying message that only devout Christians ought to be elected to office, Linderman’s flyer makes you wonder if he’s going to treat non-Christians differently in court. Would he fight for harsher sentences for Muslims or atheists? The only reason that needs to be asked is because he thinks being Christian is some kind of virtue instead of just some personal belief.
Needless to say if any non-Christian ever tried that stunt, conservatives would flip out over it.
The Petosky News-Review points out that Linderman isn’t even the only candidate using Christianity to win votes. Supporters for John Damoose, a candidate for State Representative, are pushing for a full-fledged theocracy:
The campaign material for Damoose says he will “always represent Michigan’s Christian values,” and help “Michigan families follow Christ.”
Damoose says that’s not something his campaign authorized… but also, sure, why not.
… he did argue that his Christian beliefs “undergird everything he believes about politics.”
“Separation of church and state was never really about keeping people of faith out of government,” he added. “It was about protecting the church from the state. … I don’t think there is that wall of separation.”
Damoose is one of several Republicans running in Tuesday’s primary. Given the district’s demographics, the Republican candidate will likely win in November.
The message from these candidates is clear: They want Christian votes. If that means throwing all non-Christians under the bus for the sake of politics, they have no problem playing along. They’re precisely the kind of people who have no business running for office.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)