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Cincinnati's Af-AmTaliban mayoral candidate

“Don’t be deceived by this issue of ‘separation of church and state.’ Why do you think Satan wants to keep Christians out of the media, education, politics, government and economics? So he can control their destiny. He doesn’t want them to take any part in decision-making in any of these crucial areas. ‘… Satan wants power and control over the people of God.’- (Ephesians 6:12.).”
— Charlie Winburn, current Cincinnati Republican mayoral candidate (and pastor of Ridge Acres Christian Center), in his religious tract “Ruling and Reigning in the ’90s.”

Free advice for AmTalibaners and wingers running for office: make sure any writings you have out there aren’t going to come back to haunt you (see Doug “4000 posts on white supremicist web site” Hanks), or strongly defend that wingnuttery so you can go down in flames.

A Repug mayoral candidate in Cincinnati really has a problem. He has a host of foaming-at-the-mouth quotes to explain away. You know, a little problem that he has with church-state separation.

Republican mayoral candidate Charlie Winburn began the work of energizing his “base” 16 years ago. As the new pastor of a small church then known as Ridge Acres Christian Center, Winburn wrote a religious tract titled “Ruling and Reigning in the ’90s.” In a 250-word passage on the political system, he said it was the job of Christians to “elect only born-again Christians to public office.”

Sixteen years later, that statement has thrust religion into the 2005 mayoral campaign – and in so doing opened a local front on the national red state/blue state culture wars that defined the 2004 presidential campaign.

Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Timothy M. Burke denounced Winburn’s book last month as “distinctly un-American.” Burke said Winburn was establishing a religious “litmus test” for public officials. Women’s groups said other statements in Winburn’s book – that a wife “must be taught what her boundaries are” – make the College Hill preacher unfit to be mayor.

Here are some more of the godly wisdom of Winburn from his essay:

“It is God’s will for the Church, through the Kingdom, to influence the political system by first teaching those in the system to obey and respect the laws of God.”

“Politics is dirty because the true believers are not really involved in it. We Christians must clean up politics. It is our job to elect only born-again believers to public office. If officeholders are not Christian and refuse to obey the laws of God, we must work hard, under the law, to unseat them. … Jesus came as King to establish His Kingdom, not a political Kingdom. We must get into control of politics by subduing this kingdom so God’s Kingdom can rule in the earth. (Revelations 11:15, 16.)”

“What I’m saying there is that they have used the separation of state and church to tell Christians, “You stay over there in those four walls of the church building, and you leave government alone.” There should not be separation of church and state, or synagogue and state. They should participate in government whether they are Jew, Christian, Muslim or Protestant.”

“The pastor and his congregation are under commandment to begin to teach more than their church members. If the president, Congress, governors and mayors are not Christians, we must teach them the ways and acts of God. We must go to them aggressively, but tempered with love.” (this one is from Winburn in 2005)

Now that he’s running for office, the heat is on. He does have defenders, not surprisingly, in the religious black community. And, interestingly, the Democratic party there is queasy about taking this dude on, in fact, one rep is blaming the party chair for raising the issue!

…the Cincinnati Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which said Winburn was exercising his freedom of speech and religion.

And Democratic Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune criticized Burke for bringing the issue up. Portune said he fears attacking Winburn’s writings could energize the same evangelical Christians who helped President Bush carry Ohio last year. “I think Tim’s letter helps to continue to promote stereotypes that the Democratic Party is anti-faith,” said Portune, who is considering a run for statewide office next year. “It casts the party as petty and personal.

Excuse me? Petty and personal? The man sounds like he is calling for a religious takeover of government, based on those writings. He has the First Amendment right to say anything he wants about his faith and how it informs his political views. That doesn’t mean he cannot be asked to “clarify” what he is saying or has said in the past.

It’s another example of ball-less Dems afraid of the AmTaliban, and, more importantly the socially conservative, religious black vote. Why is no one paying attention to this problem? I’ve been a broken record on this, especially when it comes to faith-based payoffs and the use of homophobia by the GOP to slice off a chunk of the religious black vote.

The Dems are completely impotent in this area. Please, someone lead. Mel Watt cannot be the only one with synapses firing on reframing issues for the black faith community.

Voters have a right to know what this man really believes and what he plans to do if elected regarding his strong statements about faith and government. It’s all on the table. Unbelievable.

Winburn, for his part, issued a non-apology/apology, which suspiciously sounds more like “I wouldn’t have written that if I knew I was running for public office.” That’s fine, he simply needs to address his past statements, and make it clear where he stands today — the voters will decide in the end.

Winburn – while stopping short of renouncing the words he wrote in 1989 – conceded that his words might sound intolerant in 2005. He said he would have written some passages differently in 2005. He said his aim was to motivate born-again Christians to get involved in the political system. On page after page, Winburn urged Christians to “infiltrate” the media, corporations, abortion clinics, banks, colleges, farms, the medical and legal professions – and government.

“If I had to rewrite that section of it, I would rewrite it. I concede that someone could see that and say I’m not tolerant of anyone. How I would rephrase that today is, everyone should obey the laws of the land, and have respect for each other and have tolerance for each other regardless of their race religion or their creed.”

I don’t sense a real shift in thinking, but that’s not the point. He’s a candidate for office, for god’s sake. His view of the world is fair game. The fact that to many Dems can’t or won’t politically counter someone that has beliefs in Winburn’s sphere suggests more trouble on the Left than on the Right.

***

[UPDATE: More links on Winburn madness…]

* Letter to the Editor: Winburn Is a Demagogue. Excerpt: “The sheer fact
that we have a mainstream mayoral candidate who believes in exorcising demons and attacking people who are different shows how the Republican Party has moved away from its traditional advocacy of limited government to one which advocates a war on everything and everyone it finds indecent.

In doing so, it has given a voice to extremist demagogues such Winburn, who stands up like a clown and makes proclamations that are downright childish and idiotic. Imagine, a mayor of a mid-sized city in the United States whose other job is relegated to exorcising demons and writing books urging Christians to purge their government of non-Christians.

* Charles Winburn’s Revival. Excerpt: “In 1993 Winburn campaigned to pass a city charter amendment prohibiting legislation that would protect gays, lesbians and others from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Last year the Equal Rights No Special rights campaign paid Winburn thousands of dollars in consulting fees in an unsuccessful effort to preserve the charter amendment, which voters rejected. But as a councilman, Winburn included the gay-rights lobby Stonewall Cincinnati in the Chairman’s Roundtable on Public Safety, which brought together 60-some disparate entities.”

* Editorial – Gloryhallastoopid. Excerpt: “There are more Winburnites among us than we know, enough to put Winburn ahead of the rest of the pack of likely Republican candidates, according to a GOP poll. Some aren’t bold enough to post yard signs or attend his College Hill church, The Encampment, but you will know them by the postmodern mark of the beast: their vote.

They’re the silent, bitch-ass supporters who let politicians like Winburn feed their muted rage over alleged special rights being doled out, and they’re determined to keep God in politics and reason out of office.”

* Holy Writ: Democrats Debate Winburn.

Thanks to House Blender and Julien’s List contributor Holly for the pointer.

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