I’d wager, whether religious or not, the average American knows at least something about the 10 Commandments, such as they were carved in stone and given to Moses or that they include instructions such as honor thy father and mother or thou shall not commit adultery. As they are an important foundational basis for Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, one can find monuments and references to them throughout the United States on both public and private property. In 2007, I even found a plaque listing the commandments on a Taco Bell in eastern Tennessee.
But, apparently, the Republican Party of Virginia has decided to add to these 10 Commandments ordained by God. On February 4th, RPV Chairman John Whitbeck penned an email where he created the 12th Commandment. For those who don’t know, many years ago a Republican Party chairman in California wrote the 11th, “thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican”.
As Chairman Whitbeck says:
My friends, I am not going to copy the California Chairman and demand the 11th Commandment be followed by our candidates in 2017. That’s been done before. Instead, I am going to ask every Republican leader, District chair, unit chair, elected official and grassroots activist to demand our candidates follow the 11th Commandment. Let them know that personal attacks, false innuendo and below the belt politics have no place in our Party. If we do that, our nominees will emerge strong and with a united party behind them. Too often, we fight the primary well into the general election. We saw multiple examples of this in the last few years. In some cases we won and in some we lost. But in 2017 we are more likely to lose if we don’t follow the 11th Commandment. So I ask each of you to hold our candidates accountable in this regard.
He goes on to add:
What I will do as your Party Chairman is call for an adherence to a 12th Commandment. It is a solemn duty I believe is incumbent upon all Republicans. Quite simply, the 12th Commandment should be “thou shalt support the Republican nominee.”
Whitbeck explains his rationale:
The last few years we have seen good Republicans, even members of our local Units, openly support Independent and third party candidates far too often. While we all appreciate people standing on principal [sic], how is it principled to support someone who has no chance of winning and handing elections over to the Democrats?
Listen to what Mr. Whitbeck is saying here. At the end of the day, principles don’t matter. What matters is electing Republicans and defeating Democrats. Imagine what he might have said if he lived during biblical times. Sure, you might think that King Ahab and Queen Jezebel are terrible and immoral people who constantly violate God’s law, but if they are Republicans, we must never speak ill of them and we must always support them no matter what they say or do. Or, yes, as pro-lifers we don’t approve King Herod’s plan to kill all male infants in Bethlehem, but if he came to power under the Republican banner, all Republican activists must not call him out on this. Would modern day conservative Christians have the courage to denounce these ill-fit leaders or would they stand with Chairman Whitbeck and support Republicans who might stand against every principle they claim to care about simply because “we don’t want the Democrats to win, do we?”
What baffles me is what sort of arrogance and irreverence would compel Chairman Whitbeck to “demand” his 12th Commandment? Does anyone else see the sacrilege of placing loyalty to the Republican Party of Virginia and her candidates on the same plane as God’s commandments? Are commandments such as “thou shall not murder” and “thou shall have no other gods before me” equal in importance as “thou shall support the Republicans no matter what” and “thou shall never vote thy conscience”?
Although it may be true that as Chairman Whitbeck says, “If you add the Libertarian candidate’s vote totals to that of our nominees in 2013 and 2014, we would be living out the last year of Governor Cuccinelli’s term and the third year of Senator Gillespie’s,” I know many, good, liberty-minded folks (myself included) who would not have voted for Ed Gillespie in 2014 even if the Libertarian candidate, Robert Sarvis weren’t on the ballot. Why wouldn’t some Republicans support Ed Gillespie in spite of his being the party nominee? The answer is simple; he didn’t share their most important values.
I guess this latest affront from the Republican Party of Virginia shouldn’t be surprising given that although they retracted it in the spring of 2016, the RPV posted on Facebook that “Not voting to stop Hillary borders on treason.” The current party leadership has helped transform the Republican Party of Virginia into an organization that is unconcerned with their creed, liberty, and conservative principles. Instead, the only two important pillars of the “Republican faith” are winning at all costs and unquestioned loyalty. As demonstrated in the quoted email, the chairman even dares to elevate himself to a modern day prophet of God by issuing new commandments. They believe that anyone who holds an opinion that deviates from the GOP (God’s Own Party) and does not prostrate him or herself before their leaders and nominees, must be declared a heretic or a traitor and cast into utter darkness.
I’d like to see some socially conservative group call out John Whitbeck and the RPV for this blasphemous attempt to add to God’s law, but I expect that there will be no outrage and no call to action. After all, the most important thing at the end of the day is to be a “Republican first”; decency is burdensome and all other principles are secondary to prevent a future Governor Northam or Governor Perriello, right?