CONTROVERSY!

Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 28, 2004 / 5 Shevat, 5764

Candidates finding piety a must in politics

By John Chadwick



Welcome to Campaign 2004, where the candidates' personal piety has become almost as important as their policy proposals. Is this a good thing?



http://www.jewishworldreview.com | (KRT) President Bush spoke of the capture of Saddam Hussein in distinctly religious terms.


"Justice was being delivered to a man who defied that gift (of freedom) from the Almighty to the people of Iraq," he said.


Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., gave a speech in which he thanked the Divine for the Hebrew prophet Amos and Jesus of Nazareth.


Not to be outreligioned, Howard Dean told audiences in Iowa that he prays every day and has read the Bible.




Printer Friendly Version

Email this article


Welcome to Campaign 2004, where the candidates' personal piety has become almost as important as their policy proposals.


"This is where we are now," said Mark Silk, an associate professor of religion in public life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. "What questions about pot smoking were to the candidates in 1988, belief in Jesus is to 2004."


But the earnest disclosures of religious devotion draw complicated and sharply divergent reactions in the multi-faith mosaic of the nation.


"I think the current administration has really upped the ante, and I do find it disturbing," said the Rev. Lynne Bleich Weber, pastor of the Episcopal Church of the Atonement in Tenafly, N.J. "You can't rule out G-d talk. We have freedom of speech and religion. But when I hear talk of G-d blessing a particular political agenda or mission, I find that's dangerous and inappropriate."

Donate to JWR

But others — including a fast-growing and emboldened evangelical Christian movement — contend that G-d has been kept out of the public dialogue for far too long. And they're working to bring him back.


"We have people throughout our state who have been praying our nation would be restored to our G-dly heritage," said Patricia Wenzel, a West Milford resident who is New Jersey coordinator for the National Day of Prayer. "I think for people to begin asking questions about the candidates - 'What is your value system? And under whose standard do you live?' — for people to be asking this, that's huge."


Both sides agree on one fact: The days when the nation's leaders could discuss their religious beliefs with reticence and restraint are over. Faith is now perceived as an essential part of a candidate's resume.


The turning point, some scholars say, came during the 1980 presidential campaign, when Ronald Reagan met with religious conservatives in Dallas, telling them famously, "I endorse you."


"What's happened is that the Republicans have figured out that the religious right is an important resource, and the Democrats have had to follow suit," said Ted G. Jelen, a political science professor at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.


"Those who consider themselves part of the Christian right account for 15 percent of voters. That's a larger bloc than blacks, than unions, and close to Hispanics."


The religious right is particularly strong in the South, but groups like the Christian Coalition are active elsewhere, sending out e-mail alerts on a range of hot-button issues to members, who then inform their pastors and congregations.


Bush is expected to easily capture the evangelical vote in the South. From his own story of personal transformation through Christ, to his limits on stem cell research, to his efforts to provide tax dollars for religion-based social service agencies, Bush "has made it clear he is one of these folks, and they think he is one of them," Silk said.


Yet one public opinion poll suggests it isn't just the religious right who wants to hear more religion from political leaders. The poll, conducted during the summer by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, reported that 41 percent of respondents said there had been too little reference to religious faith and prayer by politicians, nearly twice as much as the 21 percent who said there had been too much. The poll also found that more than half — 52 percent — said they would have reservations voting for a president who had no religion.


The political repercussions are evident on the campaign trail, where Dean came under intense scrutiny late last year because he avoided discussing religion. In a recent Newsweek interview, the former Vermont governor was asked: "Do you see Jesus Christ as the son of G-d and believe in him as the route to salvation and eternal life?"


Dean responded: "I certainly see him as the son of G-d." The flurry of G-d talk has sparked a backlash.


The Anti-Defamation League, a [thoroughly secular — editor] Jewish organization, issued a statement this month warning against the growing emphasis on religion in the campaign.


"Candidates should feel comfortable explaining their religious convictions to voters," said Barbara B. Balser, ADL national chairwoman, and Abraham H. Foxman, the group's national director. "However, we feel strongly that appealing to voters on the basis of religion is contrary to the American ideal and can be inherently divisive, wrongly suggesting that a candidate's religious beliefs should be a litmus test for public office."


New Jersey-based American Atheists plans to start a political action committee this year to make sure its voice is not excluded from the debate.


Ellen Johnson, a Midland Park, N.J., native who runs American Atheists from her home, cited a 2001 survey that showed 14 percent of the nation has no religious beliefs. The problem, she said, is that the millions of atheists, humanists, and agnostics aren't very well-organized.


"The politicians are doing what they perceive as necessary to get elected, and I don't blame them," Johnson said. "But this year we will be asking candidates questions and we will be making endorsements."


Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic front-runner and a Catholic, will not emphasize his religion during the campaign, a spokesman said.


"The senator has said religion shouldn't be used to affect public policy," said Dave DiMartino. "He regularly attends church on the campaign trail, but he doesn't think faith is something you have to beat people over the head with."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

John Chadwick is a reporter for The Bergen County (NJ) Record. Comment by clicking here.


© 2004, The Record (Bergen County, N.J.) Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services