Columbus, Ohio–Ohio gubernatorial candidate Congressman Ted Strickland today released the following statement:

Last week, Ken Blackwell was in Toledo speaking to a group of local Republicans.

The Toledo Blade reported on his speech: “Democrats, he added, ‘still believe that government is God, and God is not.’

No one would argue with the latter part of that sentence, but the first part is something else. Think about it. Here is a man who’s running to lead a state of millions of people. Millions of people of faith. Millions of Democrats who put God and family at the center of their lives.

These are good people, who do their best to live by the responsibilities of their faith. They know well the call to justice in scripture:

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” (Isaiah 58:9-11)

I believe Mr. Blackwell’s comments were both inaccurate and inappropriate. I believe that millions of Ohioans are owed an apology and a retraction.

I have always tried to live up to the scripture in Micah that says: “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

I will work hard to be a different kind of governor. I will pull us together to work for the common good. Not tear each other apart for political gain. I will be a governor who celebrates the diversity of our faith. Not one who cheapens the faith of millions. We need a governor who will walk humbly, not one who will speak carelessly.

I wonder how many other Republican candidates side with Ken Blackwell on this claim about Democrats? We’ll soon find out…stay tuned!

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