It’s not often we hear much church-state news from Hawaii, but today is the exception.
The head of the Hawaii Republican Party has taken it upon himself to send out an e-mail warning pastors that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mufi Hannemann is “not righteous.”
Hannemann’s campaign has been looking to visit churches across the state, and Hawaii GOP head Jonah Kaauwai believes any church that allows him to speak will in effect be furthering “unrighteousness.”
His e-mail also warns pastors that “neither Mufi Hannemann or Neil Abercrombie [the other Democrat running in the gubernatorial primary] is righteous and a vote for either in the primary or general election is succumbing to fear and advancing unrighteousness!”
Kaauwai puts forth Bible passages as proof for why Republican candidate James “Duke” Aiona is the only “righteous” gubernatorial candidate.
He cites Galatians 5: 19-21, which states, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, orgies and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life WILL NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.”
Kaauwai then asked, “Why would the Body of Christ as the representative of God’s Kingdom here on Earth promote and validate Mufi Hannemann by allowing him to speak from the pulpit platform of your church and join in this plan of deception???”
Kaauwai should know better. As a party official, he should not be using scripture as the basis for political decision-making. It’s inappropriate and it’s an unnecessary mixing of religion and politics.
As my colleague Rob Boston told the Associated Press, Kaauwai’s e-mail “looks like a document you would receive from your church pastor, not like something that would come from a party official.”
(Ironically, Kaauwai has a point about the dangers of political candidates visiting churches and shilling for votes. But he would have a stronger argument if he would cite federal tax law as opposed to Galatians.)
It’s clear that Kaauwai made a bad move here. He is the head of the party for ALL Republicans in Hawaii, not just Christian Republicans. Yet he tells pastors in the e-mail, “With more than 400,000 Christians in the State of Hawaii, WE are responsible no matter what the outcome of Duke’s race because we have been given the POWER and the AUTHORITY in the NAME OF JESUS!!!!”
Christians and non-Christians belong to both major political parties; this is not an election between a Christian party and a non-Christian party.
Plus, Kaauwai is seriously misguided if he thinks a candidate’s religiosity should be the basis for getting into office. Let’s remember, the people of Hawaii are electing a governor, not an official state clergyman.