The Republicans of about 20 or 30 years ago. Not the current Rethuglicans. Back when they were preaching equality and personal freedom and liberty even when they didn't realize it. Before they began their full measure and effort of turning this nation, as an independent and secular state, into a Theocracy of one religion, despite the separations of church and state put in place to prevent such a thing.

When did, and why should, being a "good christian" become the requirement to be a leader in government. It certainly hasn't stemmed the tide of corruption, lies, hate, bigotry, and wars; oh and infidelity in marriage.  So with what claim do they lay their hands on that it has lead them to be moral leaders in a nation of plurality? One in which it is the exception more than the rule to find "good christian" leaders amongst the people of so many faiths and beliefs even with the exclusion of religion from their lives.

If these are the litmus tests of  great and good leaders, surely the test strips have expired and must be replaced.  Should we not be looking for those who can show in their history and deeds and beliefs that which is of true morality, of honesty and fairness, of determination and strength, of belief in a free nation for all its citizens, and of being a fair nation to all those around the world for all citizens, not only the unbelievably wealthy amongst us?

I think that sometimes we as a people get hung up on the comfortable use of terms. Instead of relying on what their specific meanings are. For ex. Marriage is the religious union of two people. It was adopted into legislative terms due to commonality and convenience of the term. And has since been used in its place of commonality and prominence in the legal documents as a means to support the bigotry of the majority of the right wing hate society, those who do not feel that Homosexuals are less than human are of course excluded.

And as liberals, I think many have failed in this aspect as well. To take a former republican belief, in this aspect we need smaller and less government. The government has no business being involved in the religious institution or the business of marriage.

It's only place is that of granting civil union documentations for the purposes of legal rights, such as for the IRS, for the rights of any partner in the other partner's life as outlined by the union. This shall be determined by two consenting adults of legal age. And that is where the litmus test stops. Anything beyond that is an over reach of the government into the activities and liberties of the private citizen.

As for Marriage, the church is free to marry or deny its services therefor to any whom it sees fit as an independent and non-governmental body. And as such should also receive no more than non-profit status as with any other such institution, no subsidies etc from the government. Let the free markets decide as is our faith of capitalism, and let them build true and genuine community support. And as far as the use of the term married/marriage outside of the government and legislature and laws, any may use it as they feel fit as protected by the 1st amendment.

Because after all, different words have different meanings for different people all the time. For the church it can be a religious bonding, for the secular it is a term of joining amongst two loving consenting adults in the eyes of their peers. And as for the government, they are all civil unions in the eyes of the law.

Where oh where did those Republicans go? The ones who were statesmen, who fought for the equal rights between the races, and who passed the laws protecting the women and the men of a nation. Where did those moral leaders go that held the ideals of a free nation in their hands and hearts with such reverence that they stood up and said "NO MORE!" to the hate and segregation, and to the legislated bigotry? Where did those leaders go?

I dare say that if a Republican of the 50's were stood next to a Republican of today, you would call the former a Democrat, and the latter a Thug.

DB