A Friday Harbor man claims he was kicked out of a position with the San Juan County Republican Party because he stood in the way of a far-right religious agenda.
“The San Juan Republicans are nothing more than a pimple on the liberal bubble,” wrote John Christensen to the Journal.
On Jan. 7, Christensen was voted in as state committee man for the county’s party.
His wife Heather was elected secretary, she has since resigned.
During this time Nathan Butler was voted chairman.
According to Butler, on Feb. 4. an almost unanimous vote removed Christensen from his position.
“All of us in the Republican party are saddened by the recent conflict with John Christensen and regret his public escalation of this issue. I can confirm that John was removed, per our bylaws, by a vote of more than 2/3 of our central committee, and much to our regret Heather Christensen resigned as secretary,” wrote Butler in a statement to the Journal. “We do not wish to aggravate the problem or embarrass anybody by discussing why he was removed, except to state that the vote was nearly unanimous.”
Christensen had concerns about the chairman’s religious beliefs and criticized Butler for not being more transparent about his Mormon faith. Christensen is also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ Later Day Saints, but says there is no political profit in bringing up religion at the local level.
“He will do nothing but add to the existing polarization in our community,” Christensen said in a letter to the Journal.
Christensen calls himself a mainstream Republican who is fiscally conservative and socially moderate.
“The mainstream Republicans of Washington state are centrists; we believe in what Ronald Reagan termed ‘the big tent.’ We can meet in the middle and get the business of America done,” he wrote to the Journal. “We support marriage equality, and leave choice to the individual.”
Butler says he is a Mormon; supports early, legal abortions but not late-term procedures; and believes marriage should be between a man and a woman.
In a statement to the Journal, Butler wrote: “John and I have never discussed social issues. The Republican party is a big tent, with people who hold a variety of views. We recognize John’s right to express himself and we sincerely wish him and his family well. We hope for an amicable relationship going forward, but accept that this may not be possible.”
Christensen is considering filing a lawsuit against the San Juan Republican Central Committee, as he claims that there was no just cause to remove him from his position.
“Butler has done more damage to the San Juan Republican party – and in less time – than any other chairman,” he said.