Charlotte’s Letter to Sen. Ted Cruz on Misunderstanding Religious Freedom

Dear Senator Cruz,

I have written numerous letters to you considering the nature of our shared Christian faith and its appropriate intersection with culture and politics. As one of your constituents and as a minister, I have concerns about the numerous ways you conflate religion and politics and how this confusion contributes to division and animosity within our society. I am especially bothered by your constant rhetoric about “religious liberty.” I believe your approach is wrong-headed.

2dbb9186aaf3996a953dd8e78a9c1e3eDon’t misunderstand; I am a great supporter of the religious freedom of American citizens. I am ever so grateful for the First Amendment and for our nation’s efforts to abide by the remarkable principle that separates the State and the Church.

However, throughout our actual history, Christianity has enjoyed special privilege in America from its founding to this very day. Maybe not an “establishment” by government but certainly an advantage over other expressions of faith. The obvious result of this cultural advantage is that people of other faiths and people of no faith are often at a disadvantage.

Because I am a Christian, I am concerned about all our fellow citizens – equal not only in the eyes of the Creator but also in the eyes of the law. Since you say you too are a Christian, then it is right for you to treat each person as you would want to be treated. Since you are the elected representative of a wide array of citizens, it is your job to work for liberty and justice for all.

Why aren’t you concerned about the “religious freedom” of every American?

In my opinion, you have made a mountain out of a molehill by claiming that marriage equality threatens some people’s religious freedom.

I ask you: How does acknowledging the freedom of same sex couples to marry have anything at all to do with you and your freedom? I just don’t get it.

The SCOTUS ruling doesn’t require you to change your personal opinion; it doesn’t limit your right to express that opinion. Your tax dollars are not paying for these weddings. I can’t imagine a same sex couple asking you to officiate at their wedding ceremony, but if they did, you could just say “no.”

The SCOTUS ruling doesn’t require a County Clerk or a baker to change their religious beliefs. But the Supreme Court does require all elected officials to abide by the law. It requires merchants who operate within the public sphere to avoid discriminating against their fellow citizens.

Besides, I suspect clerks and bakers do business every day with people they dislike or disapprove of in some way or another. So what? We don’t have to approve of other people in order to treat them with respect and to do our own work with integrity.

Allowing for the greater freedom of our LGBT citizens in no way diminishes the freedom of straight citizens. IMG_0362So I just don’t understand: why does the marriage of my precious friends, Scott and Val, have anything whatsoever to do with you and your religious freedom?

Whenever I serve as minister of a local congregation, I must constantly take into consideration the broad range of beliefs inherent within such a diverse group of people. Shepherding, preserving, nurturing, deepening community in the midst of differing opinions is always a challenge but crucial to the work of a pastor.

If I let my personal opinions run rough shod over the concerns of another, I replace love with selfishness. If I allow the personal beliefs of one group to diminish the sincere beliefs of another group, I damage the health and vitality of the whole group. Finding ways to help a community grow together in love and grace in the very midst of its diversity is good and wise pastoral care. It is also good and wise politics.

Mr. Cruz, divisive rhetoric and intolerant policies are not wise and helpful politics. This is not even patriotic. And it is certainly not the way of Christ. I urge compromise and compassion instead. Our nation would be much stronger if our leaders and citizens practiced compromise and compassion. This is what true freedom requires. This is the real fruit of liberty.

Respectfully yours,

Rev. Charlotte Vaughan Coyle

 

Charlotte Vaughan Coyle lives in Paris TX and blogs about intersections of faith, culture and politics on her website and Intersections Facebook page. She frequentlyIntersections logo shares her thoughts with Coffee Party USA as a regular volunteer.

Charlotte is an ordained minister within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and also blogs about Scripture from a progressive Christian approach in her Living in The Story Musings.

 

 

49 thoughts on “Charlotte’s Letter to Sen. Ted Cruz on Misunderstanding Religious Freedom”

  1. disregarding all religions and connections to religions for the moment. Can you say HOMOPHOBIA. Years ago it was the Black Americans 100’s of years ago it was the Native Americans. Seems some groups of humans need to hate to get by.

  2. The funny thing about all this mumble-jumble is that if there is no religion to abide, this discussion wouldn’t exist.

    Religion exist only to discriminate and separate one human from the other. And that is the problem with Senator Cruz and his religious beliefs, pure violence comes from his actions.

    Religions exist only to inspire violence -in all its forms-, discrimination, racism, ethnic cleansing and separation.

    And Ms. Charlotte: All your rethoric on “religion” is wrong headed.

    Think of this: All of you “christians” will go to the hell of the islamic religion and so on. Total nonsense.

    1. Oh my goodness, what a sad commentary Mauricio! Evidently you have had a negative experience with religion. So have I. So have most people (I’m guessing).

      Religions exist because humans have created this construct in order to try to understand what it means to be human within a universe filled with mystery. Of course religion has been (and will always be) misused; it is a human creation. Violence has been done in the name of religion. Great good has been done in the name of religion. And throughout history great violence and great good has been done by humans in the name of no religion at all. Goodness and violence are human characteristics, not dependent on any religion.

      The great religions have taken root and evolved within human communities because they cast grand visions of living together in harmony and humility. They remind us that we are finite and fragile. They point us beyond ourselves.

      You are responding to my blog about how to understand religious freedom in America. The Founders’ genius to prohibit the establishment of any religion within our political system has served us well, but there will always be challenges within our society as we seek a proper balance in this matter. The Founders honored the free exercise of religion and invited all of us to speak freely within the public sphere (the 1st Amendment). I honor your right to speak your opinion and since you have done that (mostly) respectfully here on my website, I have chosen to respond. I hope you will respect my right (and the right of all Americans) to live our lives with faith and to participate in the religions of our choice even though you choose a different path. Peace…

  3. “I ask you: How does acknowledging the freedom of same sex couples to marry have anything at all to do with you and your freedom? I just don’t get it.”

    I’ll answer for Sen. Cruz. When the SCOTUS ruled that marriage is a right (which isn’t a bad ruling), they unwittingly created a tiered rights society. Because we have anti discrimination laws, business owners (even if it is just an individual) must serve groups deemed to be disadvantaged by our government. A noble gesture for sure. But, the requirement implies that the rights of the business owner are subservient to the rights of the ordained social groups.

    When applied to weddings, anti discrimination laws force people of religion to serve in ceremonies that are clearly against the business owner’s religion. In practice, there are few differences between anti discrimination laws and ends tired servitude.

    Ted Cruz and I against forced abandonment of religious liberty for the privilege to participate in commerce. That applies to all religions and social groups.

    “I suspect clerks and bakers do business every day with people they dislike or disapprove of in some way or another.”

    That is their decision to make, not yours. The point of the first amendment is to acknowledge the freedom people have to practice their religion as they see fit. It is not up to you or the government to determine how and when an individual will practice or interpret their beliefs. Clearly, anti discrimination laws are ironic in that they create discrimination against groups that are not ordained by the government.

    “Mr. Cruz, divisive rhetoric and intolerant policies are not wise and helpful politics. This is not even patriotic. And it is certainly not the way of Christ.”

    Have you removed the plank lately?

    Reread Matt 10:14 and 11:21. Jesus said that His word should be delivered and then, if they don’t receive it the disciples should move on and shed their responsibility to them.

    It is our responsibility to spread the word, follow His law and forgive those that repent. It is not our responsibility to support sin. God does not compromise. God dictates to us and it is not flexible. We must take the whole Bible as it is written, not just the parts that are compatible with political beliefs or a secular society’s beliefs.

    1. Todd Penner You and I will agree to disagree of several points. Jesus probably heard some of these same kinds of complaints every time he ate with the “tax collectors and sinners.” I am happy to follow God’s law as summarized by Jesus: love God and love our neighbor. I am happy that I am not responsible for judging others; I’ll leave that to God.

      Historically and currently, “the government” bends over backwards to provide all kinds of exceptions for religious convictions. Your liberty is not at risk; only your privilege.

      Peace…

    2. The point where your argument goes so wrong is the same one that also holds true for the man you defend: you switch out the actual ruling with an entirely fictional one better suited to your argument. The Ogerfell case wasn’t that everyone has a right to marry; it was a 14th amendment challenge alleging that having special laws that Only apply to same-sex couples seeking to marry violated the requirement to be “equal under the law”. Everything starts as legal and possibly becomes illegal when a law is passed to forbid the specific action. Having the Supreme Court rule “legalized” gay marriage only in the sense that it nullified every measure that prevented it. If something is legal, other effects snowball from that and no one can force their counterparts to Not proceed. Genuine religious freedom requires that those who believe gay couples should marry be allowed to practice the rituals of their faith.

    3. Yes. Todd your answer comes from a place of white male privilege so deeply assumed, that your deprecating, sneaky-snarky reply might go unoticed.
      No more.
      I challenge you to look deeper into the subversiveness of Christ’s life.

    4. You are incorrect. Refusal to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple is exactly the same as refusing to allow an African American to eat at your lunch counter. You are also confusing the gay marriage issues with freedom of religion issues when it comes to performing a marriage ceremony. BECAUSE church and state ARE separate, no minister, pastor, or priest, rabbi or mullah can be required by law to marry a gay couple if he has a religious objection, if doing so would be counter to his faith. However, a town justice of the peace, a secular official, must follow the law and marry a gay couple who comes to city hall. I hope this helps clear up your confusion.

    5. No business person is forced or required by law to participate or to “serve in ceremonies” against their religion. Florists and bakers and caterers are not serving in ceremonies at all. They have no part in the religious rite of marriage. They provide a tangible product or service without ever being asked to bless or condone or approve of ANYone’s marriage, gay or straight. Their approval is neither required nor requested at ANY of the weddings or wedding receptions for which they provide goods or services, so why on earth do they have to make a show of withholding their approval which was never asked for?

      Do these business people providing goods or services for weddings go out of their way to “spread the word” or “call to repentance” everyone else or just the same-sex couples? Would they also refuse to sell their goods and services for the wedding of a man who ditched his wife (divorce=sin, right?) in order to quickly marry the girlfriend he got pregnant (adultery = sin, right?) or would they just do their job and look the other way because “straight people are okay, just the gays need to be knocked down”? Seriously, these are for-profit business people, not clergy and not religious organizations. This is what the separation of church and state includes. In church, do your own thing. But when you go out into the public square to do business, you follow the laws governing the public square. You don’t get special rights to exclude an entire segment of the population. Thankfully the vast majority of Christian business persons in 2016 know the difference between living their faith and using their faith to beat up on the current Outcasts du Jour.

  4. The author starts with the false premise that Cruz cares and would be susceptible to a rational argument. His is a ‘limbic strategy’ of preying on fears and prejudices – a demonstrably successful strategy. Religion is just a convenient vehicle of choice.

  5. I can just add my Thank You to these comments. Your words make so much sense. I do not attend church and have been disillusioned by so many who call themselves christian. I do know of christians I truly appreciate – you being one. Your words give me hope. Again, thank you.

    1. It’s easy to lose hope these days, isn’t it Carol? We need each other in all our wise and wonderful diversity! We have to hold on to hope together. Thanks for reading and thanks for the conversation. Peace…

      1. I saw this for the first time only today. Charlotte’s attitude sounds a lot more like Jesus’s teachings than the hatred and intolerance displayed by many of the players of this rapidly intensifying tragedy. I am not a Christian, nor have I ever been, but that doesn’t prevent me from respecting Jesus and Christians. I draw the line when people tell me that I’m inferior if I don’t believe what they believe. I ask only that people respect my rights as I respect others. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.

        1. “… I ask only that people respect my rights as I respect others. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.” Amen Steve! Thanks for reading and thanks for chiming in. It takes all of us! Peace…

  6. I just wish we could publish your letter on “FOX”.

    Thank you for your courage and speaking your mind. You epitomize the true values of being a “Christian” which are sadly often forgotten.

    Namaste’

  7. So Cruz is allowed to just say no to marrying a gay couple, but a baker can’t refuse service? As we can all see lately, the market does a pretty good job of handling business owners who discriminate. Unlike Obama, I have always believed any two adults should be allowed to marry, but I don’t believe that creates an obligation for a business owner. I do believe the next step will be trying to criminalize publicly stating an opinion opposing same sex marriage. It’s not far fetched, one look at the redskins case tells us there’s no rest until nobody is offended.

    1. A business operates in the public sphere and gets its authority to operate from the state. The state has an interest in fostering certain ideals which include no discrimination. Therefore, as a condition of business license to operate in the public sphere ( which is what every private business does when it functions ) the state has a right to lay down certain conditions including requirements not to break the law or discriminate.

      Marrying a couple is not the same as issuing a marriage license. The state issues marriage licenses, which is a legal binding agreement sanctioned by the state and setting up certain legal obligations and expectations between the people involved.

      You have conflated that with a wedding which ministers and other religious authorities perform. Marrying same sex couples cannot be compelled on clergy in observance of our long held respect for religious freedom. However, the state can be compelled to treat all its citizens equally under the constitution which is the ruling the Supreme Court handed down.

    2. Hi Charles, at my job, I serve many different types of people. Because of the nature of the work, I don’t know their sexual orientations or their religious beliefs. I just know that I need to do my job, give them what they’re paying for and do it with a smile. If I didn’t, I would be looking for a new job. Why is that so difficult to understand? A baker probably bakes things for people they don’t agree with all the time, but when it’s a gay person, all of a sudden, that’s unacceptable? If you judge one class of customer, you better start judging every customer. Are you divorced? No cookies for you. Did you have sex before marriage? Sorry, I’m can’t sell you this car. Just treat everyone the same and leave the judging to God.

    3. Umm…perhaps no rest until we look at all people and see God/ourselves in them, and CHOOSE to do nothing to offend another?

    4. In the case of the bakery refusing to provide a cake, you have two offended parties – the couple and the baker. But only one of the parties is also practicing discrimination.

  8. Tracy, as I re read the post you are referring to I’m puzzled as to where you read Rev. Coyle as name calling and judging. She was kind and did not, as far as I can tell, criticize or otherwise indicate that Jeff should change his view. It saddens me to see how disturbing and maybe painful this is for you.

    Being one of those whom you believe is condemned I can tell you for certain that I’m being loved into the the Kingdom everyday, with such blessings that I can hardly understand. And, I’ve had five decades of powerful music ministry that included the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, the Episcopal and Lutheran churches. All these churches and hundreds of people welcomed and encouraged me. Not one in all those years felt I was an abomination.

    Since Jesus is alive and well, since He is the Living Word speaking and guiding in new and amazing ways in this crazy century we live in, it leads me to believe there is room for all.

    I hope and pray we all find ways to walk through this painful issue with ease and grace. I wish you well. Wiley

  9. After just reading your recent letter to Sen. Cruz, let me thank you for clarity, sincerity, and speaking your truth. Thank you for being you. Why not? Everyone else is taken.

    Paul in Buffalo.

  10. Pastor Coyle, I feel moved to commend your truly humanistic letter to Sen. Cruz on behalf of LGBTQ Americans. In my experience, religion too often occludes humanism; which is one of the main reasons I am now an atheist.
    I grew up in a nondenominational “Protestant” church and constantly heard that any who believed differently than us were “evil” and “going to hell.” Your reasoned and heartfelt words of compassion are a welcome change from the dogma with which I was inundated while growing up.

    1. Thank you A.J. The “gospel” is “good news.” What some Christians preach sounds like anything but. I’ll continue to ground myself in a gospel of love and welcome and let God do the judging. Peace…

  11. “2 Tim. 3:16-17  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
    Stories, pop psychology and worldly methodology do not feed sheep.  They must be fed on the written Word of God as it is exegeted properly and applied by the Holy Spirit.”

    http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/agoodshepherd.html

    Jeremiah 23
    Ezekiel 34
    Her. 10:21

  12. Thank you for so perfectly stating the religious, political, historical, constitutional and legal facts of separation of church and state. So many Christians are insisting that Christianity is under fire and being discriminated against. This is far from true Christians have always had the upper hand in the United States what is happening currently is a bunch of babies wanting to be the ones on top and not wanting others to get their equal rights. I am a Christian and support other religions and other people of whatever race or gender or sexual orientation having their equal rights. These Christians are acting like a bunch of schoolyard bullies making all Christians look bad.

  13. Thank you, Reverend Charlotte, for being a voice of love and compassion among all the hateful rhetoric tossed around by the likes of Ted Cruz, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Donald Trump, et al. I’m Jewish, and Christ is not a part of my belief system. That being said, from all I’ve heard and read, he was a man of tolerance, love, and inclusiveness. People like Cruz and his ilk pervert everything Jesus stood (and stands) for. We need the voice of reason to carry across the land, not that of bigotry and hate. Keep up the good work, even when, I’m sure, you feel like you are fighting an uphill battle.

  14. Thanks for such a refreshing letter form a Christian and pastor too. I unfortunately have had a lesser opinion of “Christians” and there so called value system because for so many years I see so much hypocrisy in the Christian of today. I was raised as a Catholic and still practice the basic tenets I learned but I have not had much faith in organized religion for a very long time. Pope Francis and now you are restoring that faith so I Thank You for your truthful and bold letter to Mr. Cruz.

    1. Thanks so much for writing Joan. I adore Pope Francis! Talk about bold! So I love that you put me in the same sentence with him! Institutional church does have its challenges and its down side but I’m grateful that God keeps showing up in all sorts of unexpected places – even church. 🙂 Keep on the journey. You are not alone. Peace…

  15. Thank you Charlotte for this amazingly heartfelt and honest letter. It’s truly a breath of fresh air. I feel that many Christians feel the same as you but for some reason they are afraid to rock the boat and come out and say it.
    If there were more Christians and especially pastors like you I might find my way back into a church one of these days.

    Thank you again, keep writing those letters. Even if Ted doesn’t see them, somebody will.

    1. Thanks Gregg. I’m grateful there are a growing number of churches and Christians that actually are living out the gospel. If you are ever interested, let me know and I’ll give you some recommendations. Peace…

  16. Creating the right of same sex marriage has created quite a challenge to the rights recognized in the 1st Amendment. This challenge fall primarily on two items in my opinion. The first being your right to freely exercise your religious beliefs and the second you right of association. The Amendment does not stop at saying the government will not make any law establishing a religion but goes on to say that it won’t make any law restricting the free exercise of a religion. Forcing a law on people to do something that that is against their religious beliefs on many people’s minds violates their free execise rights. Gay marriage is not only a Christian issue. Forcing a businessperson to associate with falls in here too. It may also be seen as forced labor. No one is entitled to another persons labor unless the labor is agreed too. Simply opening a store doesn’t mean I aree to do what ever you ask. No one is talking about it in the media but a Muslim bakery refused to mske a cake for the current special couple in the news this past week. Do I have the right to demand a Muslim catering company serve pork ribs at the bbq I am hiring them for? Back to the issue at hand a city in Idaho is trying to force a minister to perform a ss marrige by fining him for every day he doesn’t do it. Is that the free exercise there of the 1st Amendment speak of? As a Christian minister you know the Old and New Testaments speak against homosexuality. You may be one of those who say – well it doesn’t say anything about them marrying so it ok. That’s fine you get to believe that but you can’t force others to hold that belief.

    1. Thanks for your comment Jeff. Obviously we see this differently. My own journey out of fundamentalism and into a larger Christian world with a broader understanding of Scripture took me several years and lots of prayer. I’m very grateful for the journey, for the ministry God has given me and for the grace that surrounds us all – even with all our various mistakes and misunderstandings. Peace…

      1. And just like that, you neglect to acknowledge and avoid answering anything he said. I find it interesting that the LGBT community and all of its supporters cry out for open minds and acceptance of their beliefs and lifestyle, yet are so close-minded to Christians’ beliefs and resort to name-calling and bullying those who don’t fully agree with them. Hello Pot, meet Kettle. Whatever happened to agreeing to disagree? People have different opinions, and that’s okay. We don’t all have to believe in and support gay marriage, and it doesn’t make us a bad person if we choose not to support it. As a Christian, I will stand firm in my faith until the day of Christ’s return, and I will not waver in my beliefs. Just as I don’t support other sins, I will not support the sin of homosexuality. I can still love the sinner and show him/her God’s love, yet hate the sin, just as Jesus did. But I don’t, and won’t, “conform to the ways of this world” (Romans 12:2), and support gay marriage. And quite honestly, I’m disappointed in the clergy and “men/women of God” who are held to a higher calling who do. You’re doing the LGBT community a great disservice by supporting their lifestyle and telling them it’s okay to commit the sin of homosexuality instead of compassionately teaching the word of God, and you will be judged by God when the time comes and held responsible for those false teachings.

        1. Dear Tracy, I am all for “agreeing to disagree;” that’s what you and I are doing here as Christians with different beliefs. I am not for the way some Christians expect their particular understanding of the Bible to dictate the law of the land. The Supreme Court’s job is not to interpret the Bible but rather to interpret the Constitution and ensure that our laws allow for fair treatment of all our citizens.

          I will repeat what I said to Jeff when he also disagreed with me (see below): “My own journey out of fundamentalism and into a larger Christian world with a broader understanding of Scripture took me several years and lots of prayer. I’m very grateful for the journey, for the ministry God has given me and for the grace that surrounds us all – even with all our various mistakes and misunderstandings. Peace…”

        2. Tracy, are you willing to consider the notion that religion, as we know it, might not be what we have been led to believe, and that even the word of God has been manipulated by mankind? If so, check out Bishop John Shelby Spong’s books, (“Jesus for the Non-Religious ” is a good one), or Neale Donald Walsch if you’re feeling adventurous. (“Conversations With God” book 1, or “God’s Message to the World…you’ve got me all wrong”)

          One thing that Bishop Spong states is that theologians and ministers and priests have known about the inconsistencies of the Christian Faiths for a long time, but are loath to tell the general congregation because the truth would shake the faithful to the core…I’m so very ready to be shaken out of this discordant reality!!

    2. Jeff, what you fail to apply and consider in your statement is the 9th Amendment(part of the original Bill of Rights). It states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” This is known as the Unenumerated Rights Amendment. It protects those rights and freedoms not expressly stated.
      Additionally, and what SCOTUS’ ruling was derived on, you ignore the 14th Amendment, Section 1. It states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
      This Amendment to The Constitution expressly forbids states from enacting laws that directly abridge their rights. Even the Unenumerated Rights that were not expressly stated.
      These Amendments, as part of the constitution, were part of the Oath of Office for these elected officials. This Oath is usually sworn on a Bible. These persons do not get to suspend that Oath when acting as an officer of the state.
      As for private businesses, I don’t agree with the law suits as I feel we have become to litigious in our society. However, if they choose to exercise their religious freedoms and not serve those persons whose life does not line up with those religious beliefs, then they are fully open to the public shaming that will come when word of mouth is spread. Any business is free to act in this manner. The First Amendment protects them from Government sanctions only. It does not prevent other consequences of their actions and choices. Those consequences being negative press and attention that could possibly reduce their customer base.

  17. Rev. Charlotte, thank you so much for this brilliant, compassionate, and reasoned letter. It is beyond my understanding how other spiritual believers cannot or will not see the simple Christ-like truth of your words. As I listen to all the rhetoric, I reflect on my life as a man who happens to be gay, spiritual, gifted leader of worship, retreat leader, etc., and I know my presence is not threatening to anyone’s relationship. I just can’t fathom the fear that must undergird this kind of rhetoric. Men and women feeling they must break the law to protest my presence in the world.

    I’ve put my story out for my conservative friends to read, get an understanding of what being gay is about, and giving an opportunity for dialogue. It has been met with silence. I think if they admit that I have had a blessing from the Divine in my musical gifts then they would have to rethink their beliefs, I guess.

    Please keep speaking your truth. Maybe some of “them” will have a change of heart about “us”!

    Many blessings. Wiley Beveridge

    1. Blessings back Wiley. My husband has taught me that “anthropology trumps theology.” The more people get to know each other in real, flesh and blood relationships; the more people allow friendship to open their hearts, the more people are able to rethink their biblical and theological positions and change their minds. That’s what happened to me anyway. Knowing people like you changed my heart. Besides, in my experience, if churches didn’t let gay people lead their music programs they wouldn’t be able to have music programs. 🙂 Thanks for writing.

      1. Thanks for your response Charlotte. And, your comment about musicians in church music, hilarious, and spot on! This is conveniently ignored across all denominations.

        I’ve posted the link to your letter on my FaceBook page. It has received little attention. However, in hopes that this,letter would reach my conservative friends, opening a dialogue. No such luck yet, so I will repost it everyday as long as I feel prompted to do so! Here’s hoping.

        As well, I would love to send you one if my CDs. All I need is an appropriate address. Wiley

  18. Thank you for taking the time to pen such a beautiful letter. Your comments and suggestions need to be heard through this country.

  19. Well you know Ted Cruz isn’t going to take these letters seriously, because he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt, this woman isn’t a real Christian. His bible tells him so!
    And that’s how we divide as a community of believers. We don’t take to heart the message, we simply discredit the messenger.

    1. Of course you are right that this tactic happens way too often. But we won’t stop getting the message out. One heart at a time.

  20. Thank you, Charlotte, for your articulate and respectful plee to Senator Cruz, and for your persistence. This is precisely the type of thoughtful engagement necessary in our divisive national dialogue. This is precisely the type of thoughtful engagement necessary in our current divisive national dialogue

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