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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Campaign Without Conscience, A Betrayal of

Andrew Rice with his wife, Apple, and their son, Noah

A Campaign Without Conscience, A Betrayal of Faith

I saw my friend, Andrew Rice, in church at Mayflower last Sunday. Andrew is running for the Oklahoma State Senate in his district in central OKC. He told me of a campaign tactic being used, in nearly all certainty, by the Republican Party which reveals a party operating without a regard for morality in its grab for power.

Several of the voters in Andrew's district, Oklahoma Senate District 46, have been getting phone calls whose callers claim that Andrew favors terrorism. First, you have to understand that Andrew and his family are one of the victims of the worst terrorist attack in American history. On September 11 2001, investment banker David Rice was killed when the World Trade Centre collapsed. Later, a group called Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation were contacted by the mother of the alleged 20th hijacker, Zacharias Moussaoui. She had a unique request. She wanted to meet some of the families of the victims and ask for their forgiveness. Andrew, along with several other victims' families, met with, this grieving Madame al-Wafi, who begged their forgiveness for her son's hatred. Andrew forgave her because he felt that to return hate for hate dishonored his brother's "spirit", and I feel Andrew knew he was following the commandment of the man from Nazareth who comanded us to forgive though we are wrong 70 times 7 times and who forgave those who were responsible for his execution.

This act, done in the spirit of Christ, is the very deed this smear campaign is trying to use against Andrew Rice. This damning abuse of our political process is being carried out by some group called RDI, headquartered in Cincinatti, Ohio, because they were paid $300,000 by a shadowy Republican organization. The cry that Robert Welch uttered against Joesph McCarthy echoes down to our time, "Have you no sense of decency?" You claim to be the party that defends the practice of Christianity in the public arena, the party of values, the party of morality. Where are your morals now? In Oklahoma, we have seen candidate after candidate in their political ads extol their Christianity, their time spent teaching Sunday School, their donations of land to build churches. I have no doubt of their personal sincerity, but I demand in the name of the one whom they claim to serve that they denounce this discipable act in no uncertain terms, that they honor this most Christian act of Andrew's, or all their claims of faith ring hollow to me.

Jesus once said, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul." I believe that this applies to this heinous political tactic. Those who have committed it have sold their soul to try to amass power. Shortly before his death from a brain tumor Lee Atwater, who employed these type of tactics to help elect Republicans like Ronald Reagan in an act of repentance, issued a number of public and written apologies to individuals whom he had attacked during his political career, including Michael Dukakis who was a target of several vicious, unwarranted attacks. Of course, by that time, the damage had already been done and it was too late to erase the stain he had foisted on the body politic. Whoever is responsible for this act needs to seek forgiveness and offer restitution before he or she meets a similar fate.

If you wish to read about Andrew's act of forgiveness, you can go to this link to read his remarkable testimony:The Forgivenss Project-Andrew Rice

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