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Shame On The Kinzinger Family

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) (HBO)

When you let politics come between family, that’s a sure sign that you worship a false idol. I have been hard in this space on progressives who have publicly denounced family members for being pro-Trump, or for not being sufficiently woke. Now I see that Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who voted for Trump’s impeachment, has been disfellowshipped by some of his family. Excerpt:

Two days after Mr. Kinzinger called for removing Mr. Trump from office following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, 11 members of his family sent him a handwritten two-page letter, saying he was in cahoots with “the devil’s army” for making a public break with the president.

“Oh my, what a disappointment you are to us and to God!” they wrote. “You have embarrassed the Kinzinger family name!”

The author of the letter was Karen Otto, Mr. Kinzinger’s cousin, who paid $7 to send it by certified mail to Mr. Kinzinger’s father — to make sure the congressman would see it, which he did. She also sent copies to Republicans across Illinois, including other members of the state’s congressional delegation.

“I wanted Adam to be shunned,” she said in an interview.

Here are excerpts from the actual letter:




Look, I don’t have any problem with people criticizing Adam Kinzinger. He’s a public figure who has taken a controversial stance. That comes with the territory. He’s not really my kind of Republican, though I think he voted correctly on Trump impeachment, and I admire his courage. But like I said, he’s a politician, and politicians get criticized.

But I am furious that family members would do such a thing — especially family members who purport to be conservative Christians. Raising my three children, I have told them all, explicitly and repeatedly, from the time they were small up even till today, that there is nothing they can do to lose the love of their father. I’ve told them that they may make me angry someday, and they may disappoint me in some way, but never, ever, ever will they lose my love.

I have a big family, and we do not all agree on politics. But I can’t imagine any of us writing a letter like that, much less publicizing it. There’s nothing wrong with them publicly opposing his views, but to cut him off from the family because he’s against Donald Trump? What is wrong with those people?! Readers of my books know that we have had trouble over the years in my family, and we are not as close as I would like us to be. Still, the idea that politics, of all things, would cause us to publicly denounce and disfellowship each other — it’s stunning, and disgusting, whether it comes from the woke Left or the Trump-cult Right.



about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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