Religious Freedom in Virginia's 20th House District sign now

The right to practice any religion, or none at all, is one of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed to all Americans under the Constitution. The Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom further guarantees that no candidate for public office must submit to a "religious test."

Yet, you have said publicly that "people in the 20th District are solid hardworking Christian individuals. They are a replica of what this country was found on and built on."

This statement shows a misunderstanding of our past and our present. It is wrong about the men and women of many faiths who came from many nations to build America over four centuries. And it is wrong about the people of the 20th District today who practice Christianity along with such faiths as Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism, or who practice no faith at all.

Even worse, by singling out people of one religion, such a comment contradicts the spirit of the US Constitution and the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom and insults the residents of the 20th House District, including many Christians who value tolerance and diversity.

We call on you as a candidate for public office to apologize for this unfortunate comment and to to openly affirm your commitment to the principle of religious freedom as enshrined in the US Constitution and in the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Religious bigotry and intolerance poison American political life and pose the gravest threat to the civil discourse necessary to our democracy. Therefore, we further call on you, until the end of this election campaign, to refrain from appealing to religious prejudice in hope of political gain in the 20th District race.

Finally, when you entered the race, you promised to run a positive campaign focused on the issues. As a service to the voters of the 20th District who care about pressing concerns such as jobs, transportation, and quality of life in our area, we call on you to keep your promise to stick to substantive campaign issues.

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Albert YoderBy:
Politics and GovernmentIn:
Petition target:
Richard P. "Dickie" Bell

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