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Why I don't believe in the 11th Commandment

By Scott Tibbs, March 28, 2006

I hear a lot from some of my fellow Republicans about the so-called Eleventh Commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican." We need to win elections, and we cannot do that if we are divided. Party unity is the key to winning elections. But the question I have is this: when a Republican is ideologically no different from a Democrat, what is the point of supporting that Republican? Isn't it more than a little hypocritical to criticize Democrats for taking a Leftist stance or advancing a Leftist cause while ignoring the "moderate" Republicans who take the same positions?

I had two letters to the editor published in the Herald-Times criticizing Republicans last year. In May, I criticized City Councilor David Sabbagh for voting six consecutive years (now seven) for a funding package that included a taxpayer handout to the local abortion clinic. Last November I had another letter published criticizing County Commissioner Joyce Poling for voting with Democrat Iris Kiesling to expand Monroe County's smoking ban.

Both letters drew complaints from some fellow Republicans. Following is an except from a letter I sent to Sabbagh in January regarding party unity:

I would like to take this opportunity to explain my perspective. I am a Christian conservative Republican, in that order. Even as a Republican candidate for elective office, I do not hold a specific loyalty to the Republican Party. I ceased to identify with the Democratic Party and became a Republican in January of 1993 when it became clear that the party of President Bill Clinton not only did not represent my views, but was diametrically opposed to those views.

I am a Republican because helping the Republican Party is the most effective way to advance my core principles of limited government and individual liberty. For the most part, the Republican Party platform is consistent with my core beliefs. However, my first loyalty is to the Lord Jesus Christ, especially as it relates to serving as a voice for His children who are killed by America's abortion industry. There will be times when some Republicans act in ways that undermine limited government and individual liberties. When that takes place, I do not consider party affiliation to be a barrier to standing in defense of these core principles. On the other side of the coin, I do not expect that my fellow Republicans will stay silent if I do or say something in opposition to their own core beliefs.

What brings this back up again is Sabbagh's comments in the Herald-Times a couple weeks ago. When asked about a proposed city ordinance that would add "gender identity" to the city's human rights ordinance, Sabbagh is said "Whys it taken so long? Its the right thing to do." Sabbagh told the H-T that he would sponsor an ordinance to add "gender identity" to a list of protected classes.

It is one thing for Sabbagh to vote his conscience on the issue of gender identity. It is quite another thing for him to be out there advocating a gender identity ordinance and promising to sponsor the ordinance. When Sabbagh is advocating for an ordinance that the Christian conservative base of the Republican Party finds gravely offensive, he cannot expect to avoid criticism for his political activity.

Sabbagh has won three consecutive elections for City Council with people in his district well aware of his Left-leaning social views. However, if the Democrats would run a more moderate candidate rather than environmental activists like Kelly Boatman and Bill Hayden, Sabbagh might have been bounced out of office already. As it was, he won by only 105 votes in 1999 and was crushed by moderate Democrat Peggy Welch when he attempted to win her State Representative seat in the 2002 election.

A political party serves no purpose if it does not stand for something. A political party is a means for like-minded people to advance a common agenda, not to see than members of a clique gain political power. While the Republican Party has a big enough tent to handle reasonable disagreement on issues, a Republican who stands against the core principles and moral standards held by most of the rest of the party, he cannot expect that stand will be ignored.