A Conservative Politician with Uncompromising Religious Convictions in Heavily Democratic District.
By Sheikh Musa Drammeh
Thursday, January 17, 2019, Bronx, New York--Days after Governor Cuomo announced the “Reproductive Health Act,” sponsored by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, and implored Albany elected for its quick passage, Councilman, Rev. Ruben Diaz, a democrat and a minister in the South East Bronx, did what he is known for, protest and advocate against such bill. He and his army of other like-minded ministers from the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization and LACA quickly organized an opposition rally on the steps of City Hall to denounce the bill.
Rev. Diaz, regardless of his party’s position on certain issues, has always stood his grounds (often times alone) concerning social issues he deemed are against his religious beliefs. Whether it’s LGBTQ, abortion and other liberal issues, he never shied away from making his oppositions known. Because of his publicly manifested religious convictions, people often wondered whether there is a distinction between Ruben Diaz the minister and Ruben Diaz the politician.
Although Reverend has no shortages of critics and detractors from those who vehemently opposed his views, his consistency in opposing what he deemed are affront to his personal principles has earned him respect even among those who do not espouse his views.
Despite his conservative leaning positions on certain social issues in an overwhelmingly democratic district, Rev. Diaz has mastered the art of winning. He is in contact with his constituents in many creative ways, including birthday cards, community and ethnic-specific events, award ceremonies, opinion columns, television shows, etc. He started out as a freshman in New York City Council, went on to become New York State Senator and is now back again in the City Council.
Furthermore, one would think a politician in a heavy democratic district like his would be more amenable to compromise on certain democratic-champion liberal issues, not the Reverend with his Trademark Cowboy Hat. The stronger his oppositions are, the fiercer their attacks and protests get, the firmer his conviction becomes. During the 2016 primary, Reverend had almost caused a ‘Boogie-down’ riot when he hosted Bronx social archenemy Ted Cruz for a campaign trip in the Bronx.
Governor Cuomo, like other New York politicians who are known for their progressive liberal politics, has a long diverging encounters with the Rev. Like his City Council colleagues now, as a Senator, Reverend had moments on the Senate Floor where he would speak to a room full of legislators who are mostly in opposition to his ranting and lectures. “This bill and Cuomo’s Agenda give unlimited rights to abortion even at nine months. The bill does not protect women, to the contrary, it prevents them from suing. It change school curriculum to encourage underage sex. It gives free birth control and Morning After pills to school kids without informing their parents,” said Rev. Diaz.
As usual, below you will see the quotes and positions of New York State’s top democratic leadership who supported the Reproductive Health Act that Reverend and his clergy coalition has staunchly opposed.
"A woman's right to make her own decisions regarding her personal health is a fundamental right, yet Washington, with its extreme conservative agenda, continues to threaten the freedoms for which women have fought for decades to attain," Governor Cuomo said. "New York will not stand for a federal government that presumes to know what is best for women across this country, and we will fight with everything we have to ensure the Reproductive Health Act is passed immediately, protecting a woman's right to all reproductive health care options no matter what actions our nation's leaders take next."
"All women should have the right to choose and access to affordable contraception coverage," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "We are committed to protecting the rights of women in New York with the passage of the Reproductive Health Act at the beginning of this year's legislative session. As the federal government threatens to roll back our progress, we will not stop fighting to ensure women have equal opportunities and live the New York promise."
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "This past November, voters gave the Senate Democrats our largest Majority in a century. We ran on a message of moving New York State forward and passing historic legislation to protect and expand New Yorkers rights. With threats to women's rights coming from Donald Trump and the federal government, and our current state laws antiquated and out-of-date, the Reproductive Health Act is essential. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo, Speaker Heastie, and my Senate Democratic Majority to pass this critical legislation and advance women's rights."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "Year after year, the Assembly Majority has fought for the reproductive rights of women by passing the Reproductive Health Act, the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act and the Boss Bill. We know that when women are in control of their family planning decisions, outcomes improves for everyone. I am proud to lead a body that is fearless in its pursuit of putting families first, and I am especially grateful for the tireless advocacy of Assemblymembers Glick, Cahill and Jaffee, sponsors of the legislation. We look forward to finally seeing these measures enshrined into New York State law."
Senator Liz Krueger said, "For too long, women in our state have had their health and safety compromised by our outdated abortion laws. With reproductive rights and access under attack from Washington in a way we haven't seen in decades, now is the time to pass the Reproductive Health Act and reclaim New York's place as a progressive leader. I thank Governor Cuomo for stepping up for women in New York and across the nation, and I thank Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Member Glick, and all the advocates who have worked tirelessly for years to advance women's reproductive freedom. Together we will pass the Reproductive Health Act, and that is only the beginning of our vital work."
Assembly Member Deborah Glick said, "New York women deserve to have their own healthcare decisions respected. Abortion is a medical procedure, not a crime. The days of demonizing women's reproductive healthcare must come to an end. When abortion is illegal women die, and pregnancy is not a risk free condition. That is why making the Reproductive Health Act law is crucial."Pictures by Parkchester Times