GOP’s Burgos Suggests Jews Shouldn’t Run for Office – UPDATED
UPDATE #1: Responses came in from Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, RPV Chairman John Whitbeck, and Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity. (See Virginia Republican Leadership Responds to RPV State Central Member’s Anti-Jewish Comments.)
UPDATE #2: Republican leaders from across the Commonwealth have responded (see statements at above link).
UPDATE #3: John Whitbeck on John Fredericks radio show.
UPDATE #4: Fredy Burgos responds.
UPDATE #5: Bearing Drift’s response to Tim Hannigan
UPDATE #6: The Republican Standard joins Bearing Drift calling for Burgos resignation.
UPDATE #7: WTOP, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, Inside NOVA, Yahoo News, Raw Story, VPAP News, The Hill, The Baltimore Post. Cleveland Jewish News.
Charlottesville’s Coy Barefoot radio show had guests Rick Sincere and Shaun Kenney discussing this issue around the 15:00 mark.
In a stunning rebuke of Virginia’s Jeffersonian ideals, Republican Party leader Fredy Burgos took to Facebook in support of a religious test for party office, attacking one candidate for his Jewish faith as part of what Burgos called a “duty” to oppose non-Christians running for office.
Burgos, who represents the 11th district on the party’s State Central Committee, directed his remarks against Mike Ginsberg, a Jewish Republican running for the chairmanship of the Fairfax County Republican Committee against opponent Tim Hannigan, for whom Burgos serves as a campaign organizer and advisor.
Prefacing his comment with “MAKE FAIRFAX GREAT AGAIN,” a slogan adopted by campaigners for Hannigan which Burgos had printed on red hats given out to campaign supporters, the party activist with a history of controversial remarks explained his opposition to Ginsberg’s candidacy on religious grounds, writing that, “Having a preference for Christians over non-Christians as political leaders is not bigoted.”
“It is a preference and a duty we are allowed,” continued Burgos, before closing by quoting Chief Justice John Jay, in writing, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is their duty, as well as privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
The shocking comment is not new territory for Burgos, whose attacks against Muslims, interracial marriage, refugees, Catholics, and Methodists have attracted nationwide attention and garnered condemnation from all corners of the party.
In 2016, Burgos faced widespread condemnation for his remarks against Islam, which he called a “death cult organized by Satan” before comparing Muslims to Nazis and calling for a religious test for immigrants wishing to come to the United States.
Burgos stoked controversy again in 2017 with an appalling Facebook screed in which he lamented a “cultural cleansing” directed against white people, which he said was a result of “Cultural Marxism,” a term derived from the anti-Semitic ravings of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, whose campaigns against “Cultural Bolshevism” laid the groundwork for the regime’s persecution of the Jewish people.
In it, Burgos took aim at interracial marriage, lamenting the “idea that white people, instead of birthing white babies, should interracial marry or adopt non-white children.”
He opined that “Cultural Marxism” – a term which anti-Semites have used as an attack against Jewish people – was “the greatest cancer in the Western world” which “must be cut out.”
In 2018, Burgos’ long history of bigoted remarks figured prominently in the nationally-reported resignation of former Republican Kyle McDaniel, who served alongside Burgos on the party’s State Central committee prior to his departure.
In announcing his resignation, McDaniel wrote:
“I held my tongue when Fredy Burgos called Muslims ‘savages’ and Islam a ‘death cult created by satan’, claimed that interracial adoption and marriage is a threat to western culture, claimed that calling refugees ‘human’ ‘is a stretch’, characterized Catholics as worshipers of false idols, and claimed that Methodists are ‘humanists’ doomed to hell.”
Far from being a faceless Internet troll, Burgos serves on the Republican Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee and ran with the party’s nomination and financial support for the Virginia House of Delegates against Jewish Democrat Eileen Filler-Corn in 2013. It remains unclear whether he campaigned against Delegate Filler-Corn on similar grounds or whether he thought her unfit to serve on account of her faith.
In campaigning against Ginsberg, Burgos never implied the aspiring chairman would be incapable of doing the job, just that his Jewish faith runs afoul of what Burgos sees as a religious test for party office.
Ginsberg has been a volunteer leader with the Fairfax GOP for over a decade. He holds a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from Harvard University, a masters degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University, and a law degree from Harvard Law School.
To many Republicans, Ginsberg’s background reflects the character of the county: educated, professional, and civically-engaged. That didn’t factor into Burgos’ calculation, which disqualified Ginsberg at the outset for being Jewish.
In an earlier Facebook post from December 6th, Burgos took aim at Ginsberg in support of Hannigan, lamenting those who do not share his cultural values before asking Fairfax Republicans to #WinAgainWithHannigan and #SmashCulturalMarxism.
The week before that, he showed off a box of red hats emblazoned with the campaign slogan “MAKE FAIRFAX GREAT AGAIN” which he used to open his post invoking a religious test to the exclusion of Jews in the race.
To be clear, there is no indication that Burgos’ preferred candidate shares his views or support of a religious test for party office which would exclude his Jewish opponent from consideration. However, given the close connection between the two, these comments threaten to undermine Republican efforts to grow the party and reverse a trend of decline which saw Democrat Ralph Northam capture 68% of the county’s vote for governor in last November’s general election.
To remain effective if he wins the chairman’s post, Hannigan needs to swiftly distance himself from the bigoted attacks on his opponent by denouncing Fredy Burgos, decline any assistance from him or his supporters, and immediately join in calls for Burgos to be removed from SCC.
The idea of a religious test for office runs counter to ideals of religious liberty, which were most notably laid down by Thomas Jefferson, author of Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom. Jefferson’s law would later serve as the inspiration for the No Religious Test Clause of the United States Constitution, which declares that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
Ten years earlier, in penning the landmark law protecting religious liberty, Jefferson said:
“That therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right.”
In attacking Ginsberg’s Jewish faith, Burgos has done exactly that which Jefferson found so deeply offensive to tolerance and liberty and so injurious to the governance of a constitutional republic which sought to elevate capable leaders on their merits.
If Republicans share these precepts, they will swiftly bury Fredy’s disgraceful political career, and the long string of hateful remarks which have come to define it, in a hole so dark and deep that these wretched and abhorrent views might never rise to soil the party or this nation’s public life ever again.
Fredy Burgos must resign immediately.
If he does not, Republicans have a duty to cut out this cancer.
The time has come for leaders to either side with the party’s highest ideals and the man who prohibited religious tests for candidates, or else they side with the hateful demagogue who spits on Jefferson’s legacy in their name.
Also from Bearing Drift….
–Editorial: We Need Leaders Who Know When to Shut Up; Burgos Should Step Down – 2016
–Elgendy: Burgos’ Comments Hostile to Inclusivity Within RPV’s State Central – 2016
–Freedom of Religion Is Still In Our Constitution – 2016
–Bigotry on State Central – 2017
–SCC Member Kyle McDaniel Resigns from Virginia Republican Party – 2018
–Stephen Spiker: Why I’m Staying in the Republican Party – 2018
–Kyle McDaniel and the Virginia of 2018