Local Republicans on Religious Liberty, Abolishing Federal Agencies

Herb Schreur, Bob Dishman, and Larry McBain formed the 2014 Wright County Republican Party platform committee, with Schreur chairing. In the Monitor’s May 22 issue, they discussed the general philosophy that underlies the local platform, planks on which are introduced in the hopes of being adopted as part of state and national platforms. In this issue and others to come, the committee will discuss specific points on the platform.

You can read the platform in its 14-page entirety here.

Religious Liberty

The six-item religious liberty section was the longest 2014 addition to the Wright County platform. It affirms the “right of Iowans to speak freely and to practice religious freedoms,” support for “the display of the Ten Commandments and other expressions of faith and doctrine in public places,” and urges “the legislature to end censorship of discussion of religion in our founding documents.”

The section did not pass at the District IV convention on procedural grounds that planks must be introduced individually. Schreur said he hopes to bring up the planks individually at a future convention.

“God was in the beginning of America,” said Bob Dishman, platform committee member and pastor at Park Church of Christ in Goldfield. “I believe just like our Founding Fathers did when they said that the higher power had a hand in forming of the United States of America.”

Among the present threats to American’s religious liberty, Dishman cited the Affordable Care Act. He said that The Ten Commandments “is an expression of a set of rules based for all men,” and that to remove them would require literally destroying architectural foundations: “Have you been to the Capital? Have you looked up and seen what is written on the walls of the concrete itself? Just by taking away the Ten Commandments from the display, you’d have to start jackhammering a number of institutions.”

“Bob and I are both Christians,” said Herb Schreur, platform committee chair. “We recognize everybody’s sinners, everybody’s got problems, and everybody needs authority. Sinful people need to have encouragement and advisement.”  He also said that he felt Christianity was disparaged in the public sphere, while “secular religions like Humanism or Darwinism can have all the time they want.” Schreur spoke in favor of prayers at school graduation and noted that his daughter had received pushback for advocating Creationism in college.

Regulation

1.15 We call for the federal department of agriculture and EPA returning control the state gov’t.

2.06 We support the elimination of extra constitutional departments (EPA, Dept of Energy, Dept of Labor, etc.) and the return of these functions to the local level or private sector.

4.02 We affirm the separation of powers and limited government as established in the Constitution; therefore, the Department of Energy shall be eliminated.

3.01 Abolish the United States Department of Education and the Cabinet position of Department of Education Secretary.

“Just because we think the federal government shouldn’t be doing that, doesn’t mean that we don’t think [these items] should be regulated,” said Shreur. “Very few people have problems with their county governments. When you’re dealing with people you live with, you tend to be more realistic. Every level you go up, you get people who are more disconnected.”

“If you start living by the Constitution, there’s an enormous level of [agencies] you wouldn’t have on the federal level because of the pure and simple facts that those things belong to the states,” Dishman said. “Some of them probably had some use in their beginnings, but over time they’ve grown so large and massive that they’re taking things away from what the state is supposed to be doing.”

Dishman cited an objection to the Common Core Standards (plank 3.17) on similar grounds. The federal education standards, with increased emphasis on standardized testing, have received broad criticism from across the political spectrum.

12.13. – We believe that the market place, and not the government, should set the minimum wage (price of labor) as well as other prices.

“You take away the drive of the individual to work hard to get ahead,” Dishman said of increased minimum wages, stating that low-paying jobs were “entry level positions” for young people seeking work experience, amid visible workers at the fast food establishment at which we met, the youngest of whom appeared in her 30s. According to the Iowa Department of Revenue. 27% of households in Wright County make $20,000 or less.

“Yeah, it’s fair!” he vigorously affirmed to the question “do you think they system is fair?” “I have the same access to resources that everyone else has,” he continued, suggesting that those unhappy with their wages should seek other work. “I don’t have near the money, but I have access to resources… There’s actually more poor people today because of the War on Poverty, because the government gives them a check and a lot of them don’t want to give up the check. Now that’s just a fact.”

“Possibly, government has no business setting minimum wage to start with,” Larry McBain added. “Let the market take care of itself.”

“A man works hard, he can make as much as he wants to,” Dishman said against taxation. “That’s called freedom.”

Schreur stated that places pay starting salaries for general work well above the minimum wage rate, depending on the local economy. “You can make $15 up in North Dakota,” he said. “If you want them to pay them more, why not tie it to a tax cut? Any time you do something mandatory, you’re putting a ceiling.”

Schreur also stated he had no sympathy for people who did not work because they “hadn’t found the right job.” “The primary right you have in America is the right to starve in the ditch if you’re not willing to work,” he said, also lamenting a system that has allowed costs in fields such as health care to rise dramatically. “Not everyone has the same access to opportunities as I did, but we’re not walking such a narrow line that if you don’t make some right choices, you won’t do OK.”

Read more – including the platform’s thoughts about “Liberty” – in the Monitor’s May 29 issue!