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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 Sept. 2, 2011 / 3 Elul, 5771

A religious test for a president

By Wesley Pruden




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We're getting close to the beginning of the new presidential election cycle, so we must get back to Sunday school. The pundits are parsing religion again. Somebody has to pose the liberal's religious test for public office.

Bill Keller, the executive editor of the New York Times, thinks the nation is in peril because several Republican candidates -- and the incumbent president as well -- are men and women of religious faith. Mr. Keller likens religious faith to claims "that space aliens dwell among us," and presidential candidates should be put to a faith test to determine whether they're fit to hold public office. A belief that extraterrestrial creatures have visited Earth doesn't necessarily disqualify a"candidate out of hand," he says, but a careful voter "would certainly want to ask a few questions."

It's not easy for liberals like Mr. Keller to live in a corrupt, rotten society like ours, where every four years right-thinking citizens who read the New York Times, vacation on Martha's Vineyard and eat their organic peas have to take a primer on what the crazy church folk, with whom they're doomed to share the planet, believe is important. This year it's Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry who populate the worst nightmares of good and worthy folk. Four years ago it was President Obama and whether he shared the kooky racist beliefs of his Chicago pastor. He said he didn't, and gave a Christian testimony that would satisfy a fundamentalist test of faith. Eight years ago Joe Lieberman had to demonstrate that his Orthodox Judaism wouldn't prevent his getting the lights turned on at the White House on a Saturday. Before that it was Jimmy Carter's born-again faith, a straightforward description of spiritual conversion that the chattering class never could quite get straight (though they did sympathize with the lust Mr. Jimmy said he held in his heart).

Religion just doesn't frighten Americans who live south and west of the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Three of four Americans tell pollsters they pray, a majority attend religious services at least occasionally, and many are there every time the church doors swing open. We've got two dozen kinds of Baptists, millions of Roman Catholics, nine kinds of Methodists and Presbyterians, seven brands of Mennonites, five flavors of Quakers, a dozen denominations of Orthodox Christians from the east (some not necessarily very orthodox), 10 Lutheran bodies, four organized varieties of Jews, enough Muslims, an assortment of two dozen kinds of Pentecostals, and there's even the Bill Keller Ministries, Inc., which advertises itself as the "the world's Online Church." You can find it on the Internet. There's no indication whether this is another Bill Keller, or whether Bill the Pundit is moonlighting from his day job at the newspaper. That's just the list of flavors from the World Almanac; there are others. G0d-talk doesn't frighten most folks because it's the basis of the moral codes that still guide most of us.

Americans have a right to ask a presidential candidate about anything, and there are no dumb questions. Only dumb answers. A lot of ex-candidates who gave dumb answers could tell you that through scalding tears of bitter remembrance. Mr. Keller thinks he sets traps for Messrs Perry and Romney and Mzz Bachman with devilishly clever questions, such as, Do you thinkAmerica is a "Christian nation" or a "Judeo-Christian" nation? Would you appoint a Muslim to the federal bench? Should the theory of evolution be taught in the public schools? Is it fair to hold offensive remarks by a candidate's pastor against the candidate?

These are perfectly legitimate political questions, easily answered by legitimate political candidates. The culture, the zeitgeist of America, is obviously Christian, both Judeo and otherwise. That's exactly what infuriates Mr. Keller and his like-minded unbelievers. A Muslim is as qualified as a Methodist to be a federal judge if he is qualified in the law and holds only to the Constitution, and shuns Islamic law. Evolution should of course be taught in the schools as a scientific theory, but not as a quasi-religious doctrine. We're all responsible for the reputations we make, and if we hang out with crackpot pastors and unrepentant killers we have to take the consequences.

But some of the people who imagine they're honest skeptics only pretend their questions are about politics, when they're really about mocking religious belief. John F. Kennedy put such questions to rest, and the rest is history. Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Michelle Bachmann have a solid precedent.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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