Letter to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent-News.
If rural Ohio Republicans were surveyed and asked if they believed in freedom and liberty for everyone, to the person they would say YES! However, words are cheap, and when we take a close look at Republican behavior and practices, we learn that they only believe in freedom and liberty for some people.
Most rural Ohioans voted for and currently support Donald Trump. They overwhelmingly voted for the disgraced ex-president in 2016 and 2020, and plan to do so again in 2024. Does Trump believe in freedom and liberty for everyone? Of course not. He routinely threatens people like me, calls for my arrest, and says that I should expelled from the country of my birth. Why? I have political and religious beliefs different from Trump and his MAGA followers. Evidently, freedom and liberty only apply to people who agree with Trump and the rhetoric of white Evangelical Christians. Everyone else is an enemy of God and state.
When local Republicans talk glowingly about their commitment to freedom and liberty, I don’t believe them. These same people are working diligently to undo the express will of the people as they try to neuter recently passed initiatives that legalize abortion and recreational cannabis. If Republicans truly believe in freedom and liberty, then they would accept the will of the people. Instead, both at state and local levels, Republicans are intent on forcing their moral beliefs on others.
Republicans want public school students to have freedom to attend release time programs such as Lifewise Academy — an Evangelical organization — yet when The Satanic Temple wants to sponsor a release time program, all of a sudden freedom only applies to Evangelical Christians. Everywhere we look, we see right-wing Republicans prosecuting the latest iteration of the culture war. For all their talk about freedom and liberty, Republicans deny that same right for everyone. Not for LGBTQ people, nor socialists, atheists, or humanists. Not for women seeking abortion care, nor people with moral beliefs different from the Christian majority.
I am in the minority when it comes to my political and religious beliefs. Even local Democrats distance themselves from me because I am a Democratic socialist, too liberal, or a godless heathen. That’s the price I pay for living in rural Ohio. That said, I demand and expect the same freedom and liberty as my Republican neighbors.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
Connect with me on social media:
Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.
You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.