Stranger in a strange land

 

My wife and I moved to Sherwood, Ore., in 2007 to be closer to the grandkids in Portland. We attend the local Catholic Church. Much to my chagrin, the parish is almost solely Republican with an anti-abortion core. For many in the church, there is only one question to ask candidates for public office: "Are you pro- or anti-abortion?" This came to mind when I read Sierra Crane-Murdoch's article about the simple litmus tests for Idaho Republicans, the shunning of those who do not exactly fit the rigid profile, and the dumping of the critical thinking program in local schools when conservatives control school boards ("Right-wing Migration," HCN, 5/13/13). In my own Catholic parish, the majority of daily Mass attendees who are hard-core Republicans similarly ostracized me. When I created an Obama bumper sticker, someone tried to rip it off. (I had over 90 more at home.) Over a period of two years, it became clear that I was not going away and that I was willing to challenge any statements with which I disagreed. At one point, one of the old-timers came to me and said, "Terry, I'm afraid to say anything political around you because the next day you'll hand me a typed statement showing that I'm wrong." My reply: "That's right, LeRoy!"

Terry Miller
Sherwood, Oregon