By Recker McDowell
That religious Easter Facebook post from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey keeps on getting resurrected.
And that is to the Republican governor’s political benefit, especially as he eyes a political future beyond his current office.
Ducey posted scripture from John 11: 25 on Easter Sunday commemorating the Christian holiday. “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die’,” the verse reads.
Ducey titled the Facebook post from his official page “He is risen!”.
That has triggered criticism from a group called Secular Communities of Arizona which argues Ducey crossed the church and state separation line. They contend the post goes beyond just recognizing the holiday since it was from Ducey’s social media account as governor.
Kudos to you if you have heard of Secular Communities of Arizona.
The criticism sparked media reports, including from the Arizona Republic and Fox News.
The Arizona Republic followed up most recently with a story April 30 citing First Amendment ‘experts’ who also say Ducey’s post from his official social media account crosses the line of the Establishment Clause.
For anyone counting, Easter was on April 21.
The Easter issue is political currency for Ducey, in a state where Evangelicals, Catholics and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are key voting blocs and political constituencies.
Those groups also like Easter and the resurrection of Christ just a bit.
It also gives Ducey a chance to battle the media. That’s another winner on the right in the age of Trump. Ducey could run for U.S. Senate or even be a vice presidential or presidential candidate in cycles beyond 2020.
Ducey responded directly via Twitter earlier this week to Republic reporter Maria Polletta who wrote the latest story.
“With respect to your ‘experts,’ people don’t lose the right to free speech when they run for office. So, no, we STILL won’t be taking the post down. Not now, not ever,” Ducey tweeted.
That followed past social media posts from the governor standing by the “He is risen!.” post.
Ducey’s stance also won’t hurt his already friendly relations with Vice President Mike Pence, a strong evangelical Christian.
In GOP politics, at least for now it is an Easter gift that keeps on giving.