Dear Senator Cruz,
I’ve been looking at the information about your newly formed Religious Liberty Advisory Council. Reading your description and recognizing some of the people you have appointed to serve as advisors, I have to ask: Whose religious liberty are you seeking to protect?
Of course, as soon as I ask that question, I know the answer. It seems to me that your concerns are not the concerns of our Constitution: to hold in tension the many and varied rights of this vast variety of citizens who are all equally Americans.
It seems to me that your concerns are only for some Americans; your kind of Americans.
Why else would you form an advisory council that will offer you prefabricated, predetermined advice? There is no diversity within this group you appointed. There is no one here who will challenge your thinking and represent alternative viewpoints. There is no one here who will represent the voices and concerns of other people who are outside your tribe; who are outside your favor.
As I look at this list of advisors, I see only those who will tickle your ears with advice that is firmly grounded in your preconceived presuppositions and your narrow worldview. These kinds of advisors will not serve you well if you would seek to be a president for ALL Americans.
As a fellow Christian, as a minister and as a Texan, I have written numerous letters to you about my concerns. As one who stands proudly and humbly within the Christian social justice movement, I cannot be silent; I must speak out for those whose voices are not being heard. And I have to say it breaks my heart to hear you advocate so passionately for the “right” of certain types of Christians to discriminate against some of their fellow Americans. And in many cases, to legally discriminate against their own fellow Christians.
Do you not see that in supporting the religious privileges of some, you are damaging the human rights of others?
Within your Religious Liberty Advisory Council, who will speak up for the religious freedoms of our Muslim, Sikh, Jewish and other sisters and brothers who also have religious rights? Who will encourage you to advocate for the freedoms of our gay, lesbian and transgendered sisters and brothers?
You might consider calling me. I’m sure I can add some diversity to your council.
Rev. Charlotte Vaughan Coyle
A brief glimpse at Sen. Cruz’s Religious Liberty Advisory Council
Chair – Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council. Tony Perkins publishes a regular column for The Patriot Post: http://patriotpost.us/columnists/287
The Southern Poverty Law Center categorizes Tony Perkins as an extremist and the Family Research Center as an anti-LGBT hate group. See here: https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/tony-perkins
David and Jason Benham and pastor Mark Harris were featured in a recent Mother Jones article. See here: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/04/ted-cruz-advisers-north-carolina-anti-lgbt-bill
The above article lists several statements of Sen Cruz naming what he will do and undo if he becomes president.
The Benham brothers are sons of the infamous Flip Benham of Operation Save America. See here: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/ted-cruz-touts-endorsement-extreme-anti-gay-anti-choice-activist-flip-benham
Professor Carol Swain has an active petition circulating against her by students at Vanderbilt University. See here: https://www.change.org/p/vanderbilt-university-suspend-professor-carol-swain
Charlotte Vaughan Coyle lives in Paris TX and blogs about intersections of faith, culture and politics on her website and Intersections Facebook page. She frequently shares her thoughts with Coffee Party USA as a regular volunteer.