Dragging Jesus Into The Campaign

Jonah Kaauwai: righteous!

The spear carriers of the religious wars are back on the march for the Hawaii Republican Party.

Party chairman Jonah Kaauwai wrote a widely circulated memo that says “Duke Aiona’s campaign for governor is the Body of Christ’s opportunity to operate in the AUTHORITY. The primary election is the first step to bringing back a righteous leader to the highest office in this state which has not been seen since Queen Liliuokalani. Duke will win because the church has been behind him the entire time operating in the POWER and the AUTHORITY of the NAME OF JESUS!” (His capital letters.)

You might have expected GOP executive director Dylan Nonaka to disown such religious intrusion into politics, but no, he seems downright comfortable with it.

We had this kind of intrusion before and it was a disaster for the local GOP.

In 1988, the Hawaii Christian Coalition formed by evangelist Pat Robertson swamped party precincts. The upshot was that by 1993 the GOP lost more legislative seats than it started out with. GOP lawmakers Ann Kobayashi and Donna Ikeda defected to the Democrats.

Suggesting whose politics reflect the body of Christ and the authority of the church is a very risky business.

This back-to-God movement is largely Protestant. Aiona is a Roman Catholic.

Mufi Hannemann is a Mormon, a religion hard-core Protestants consider a cult and not part of their brotherhood. Neil

Abercrombie was confirmed as an Episcopalian in his youth but has not evidenced religiosity in his political life.

Religion’s always out there and part of our social fabric, but in politics it usually has been held at arm’s length. We seem embarrassed to ask a candidate

“Do you believe in God?” just as we’re loathe (usually) to ask if one is heteroor homosexual.

But Hannemann cracked open the door on this one when he said he prayed before he made city decisions and encouraged his cabinet members to do likewise. It’s therefore ironic that party chairman Kaauwai is saying “Neither Mufi Hannemann nor Neil Abercrombie is righteous, and a vote for either in the primary or general election is succumbing to fear and advancing unrighteousness!”

We’ll be reminded by Democrats that the very Catholic Sen. Vince Yano shepherded legal abortion to fruition despite his religion and the very Catholic Gov. John Burns let it pass into law despite his religion. And that GOP Rep. Cynthia Thielen voted for civil unions despite her party affiliation.

The GOP leadership is not only in risky business territory, it’s leadership is playing with fire.

Now comes our School Board amendment: Should members be appointed by the governor?

I say a loud yes.

The “hands of the people” means we elect members from a long list of candidates we generally know nothing about, are frequently proxies for the teachers’ union and sometimes dysfunctional.

If they are a governor’s appointees, we know exactly who to blame if the system doesn’t improve.

So a “yes” vote is a good vote.

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