May 25, 2023

Letter to the Editor: Ellis County GOP chairman responds to church, state series

Posted May 25, 2023 5:55 PM

I am disappointed that Hays Post has chosen to republish a series of hit pieces from the Kansas Reflector, beginning on May 25 with an article titled, “Church and state: Republicans revel in the divine plan to turn Kansas into ‘conservative sanctuary.’” 

Written by Kansas Reflector editor-in-chief Sherman Smith, it relied on a deceptively edited audio recording to mischaracterize a speech I gave earlier this year.

The Ellis County Republican party has responded with a statement on its Facebook page which contains links to a video of my speech along with the subsequent Q&A session.

Whereas Smith accused me of taking an “extremist position” on race, I unequivocally denounced any form of racial bigotry 12:26 minutes into my Q&A, saying, “No one should ever be vilified, or blamed, or hurt, or discriminated against because of the way they happen to look.” I also asked listeners at 17:57 minutes to treat those who do not fit traditional gender norms with dignity, stressing how “we need to keep in mind there are people who are struggling, and we need to approach them with love and kindness.” 

What’s more, I explicitly disavowed political violence at the 27:33 minute mark of my speech, saying, “I’m not calling to ruin anyone’s life. I’m not supporting Antifa tactics.” However, I did express a desire to turn Kansas into a sanctuary for those fleeing dysfunctional blue states, part of which involves improving our self-defense laws while ensuring our attorney general can target the criminal element and the violent political agitators who enable them.

Further, I decried the use of hateful material to indoctrinate children. As an example, I pointed to “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness,” which is available at the Hays Public Library. Aimed at children ages 8 and up, it states on page 59 that white people made a deal with the devil to gain wealth and privilege at the expense of minorities (a screenshot of the page in question is included in our statement). In addition to vilifying white children, this message disempowers children of color by teaching that life is hopelessly stacked against them. 

Decent Kansans are horrified to see children subjected to vile hate and they wish to be free from criminal violence. I and the Ellis County GOP will continue to fight for their values.

Adam Peters, Ellis County Republican Party Chairman

Counterpoint: Opinion: Revelations of religious zealotry infiltrating Kansas politics raise alarms near, far