A place for new ideas to settle.

25 January 2017

Open letter to Mark Miloscia, WA State Senate

Exercising freedom of conscience: A virtuous act for any American or Christian

Dear sir,

The First Amendment to the Constitution seems clear to me: civil protest and peaceful assembly are basic American liberties. They are also Christian liberties, which also seems obvious to me given the history of the Christian religion; but as I am not a Christian, perhaps I am wrong about that.
Though I may not be a Christian, I still respect the many Christians over America's history who have stood their ground against the government---facing public ridicule, arrest, even physical injury or death---because of their beliefs.

Specific examples that come to my mind are abolitionists, suffrage and civil rights proponents, and conscientious objectors. Moreover, I firmly believe that Americans or Christians have the right to assemble and protest against abortion or extending marriage beyond certain traditional interpretations, even if I just as firmly believe that the government should not meddle in matters of pregnancy or the loving relationships of consenting adults.

Did you call a political protest "unAmerican" or "unChristian" merely because it opposes the current order of things? In my view, to do this is to demean and disparage the legacies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the coalition of church leaders who marched with him to end segregation; the Hofer brothers who perished from abuse in military prison rather than go against their Hutterite faith and fight in World War I; Lucretia Mott, a Quaker minister who advocated abolition of slavery and universal suffrage; on and on throughout the history of this nation.

Of course, those people too were "unAmerican" and "unChristian" according to some of their contemporaries. Were those critics correct? Or was it "unAmerican" or "unChristian" specifically to march for those beliefs, even if the beliefs are eminently American or Christian (or both)? If so, does the First Amendment have an escape clause when the protests are against certain American values, or certain Christian values? I don't see one, but perhaps you can explain my error.

Or will you release a similar statement condemning those people who participated in the Washington March for Life on Monday, 23 January? Surely they acted much as the Women's March participants or the inauguration protesters did, only for a slightly different cause... but it seems possible that some of the same women marched in all three events. Do they start being Americans and Christians once they participate in "correct" demonstrations? Is it American for every citizen to hold entirely the same set of beliefs?
In the end, I guess I'm just confused how you intend to remain in office after slandering so many Washington State residents, Christians, and American citizens.

Thank you for your time. I wish you good fortune in any future recall campaign.

Sincerely,

Stephen Peterson