This article appeared in the Jewish Herald-Voice, a Houston/Gulf Coast community newspaper for members of the Jewish faith.
Chisum supports the Jewish state and respects the Jewish faith, his former pastor says
A challenger for the Texas House speaker job was wrongly associated with a religious identity attack against the current House speaker, according to a Katy, Texas, pastor.
Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, was one of two state reps endorsed by a partisan conservative newsletter, the Morrison Report, that recently attacked Republican House Speaker Joe Straus’ bipartisan record, some perceived “liberal” positions and his Jewish identity. It further attacks Straus by branding him a "traitor" and a power-hungry bully.
The newsletter calls for “true conservative” and “Christian” leadership in the Texas Legislature, which will vote on a new speaker after the start of the next session on Jan. 11, 2011.
Chisum, on Nov. 17, issued a public letter to Straus disavowing the attack and any association with the third-party source. "No one working with me on my campaign for speaker has anything to do with such tactics," Chisum wrote.
Dr. Randy White, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Katy, was Chisum’s pastor in Pampa.
“[T]he wording of the third-party piece was unfortunate. Its implication that the Jewish faith of the speaker of the House may not reflect the values held by a Christian voter reflected an ignorance of the Jewish community and Jewish values. Such insensitivity and ignorance is neither held by, nor endorsed by, Mr. Chisum,” Pastor White said in a Nov. 19 statement to the JH-V.
The Morrison Report made an issue out of Straus’ Jewish identity once directly and once indirectly.
“Joe Straus is pro-abortion. In fact, his rabbi sits on the board of San Antonio Planned Parenthood,” it states.
“Both Rep. Warren Chisum and Rep. Ken Paxton, who are Christians and true conservatives, have risen to the occasion to challenge Joe Straus for leadership,” it later adds.
Like Chisum, Rep. Paxton, R-McKinney, issued a statement on Nov. 17 that repudiated the religious identity attack and any association with its source.
Pastor White, an outspoken Christian Zionist who has a relationship with Houston’s Jewish community through the local Jewish Federation, said Chisum respects Judaism and supports the Jewish state.
“I was pastor of Mr. Chisum and his family for several years in Pampa. I can assure you that Chisum holds the same pro-Israel politic and Zionist theology that I hold to and preach consistently,” he said.
“I believe that a pro-Israel point of view should be a litmus test for those who represent patriotic Americans, and certainly for the Christian community. While Christians and Jews have ideological and theological differences, we can – and must – stand together for the protection and promotion of Israel as a Jewish state.
“Mr. Chisum is one whom the Jewish communities of Texas can respect as a pro-Israel politician who will consistently communicate strong Judeo-Christian values, and do so with respect to the Jewish heritage of the Christian faith,” he said.
The pastor concluded by stating: “I hope that all of us, Christian or Jew, will select our representatives based on ideology, not religion. I am saddened by the unfortunate connection to the Jewish faith that was made in the effort to communicate a political persuasion.”
Chisum has supported local issues of Jewish concern. For example, he worked with Rep. Ellen Cohen, D-Houston, to establish the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission.
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I am publishing this not to keep alive what I hope has become a dead subject -- the attempt to inject religion into the speakers race -- but to allow the views of Mr. Chisum's former pastor to be accessible to readers. Peter Morrison does not speak for Mr. Chisum.
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