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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 Dec. 8, 2003 / 13 Kislev, 5764

Lieberman vs. Lieberman on religion

By Jeff Jacoby



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http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Senator Joseph Lieberman plays one of the most tangled games of "Twister" in US politics.


He is a knee-jerk lefty on most domestic issues but a decided hawk on foreign affairs. The ardently conservative National Review endorsed his first run for the US Senate, but the ardently liberal Americans for Democratic Action regularly gives him high marks (2002 ADA rating: 85 percent). On the Senate floor in 1998, he famously condemned President Clinton's extramarital behavior as "immoral," "harmful," and "sordid," but on the campaign trail in 2003, he routinely invokes — and claims to embody — Clinton's political legacy.


Lieberman casts himself as an independent Democrat of firm convictions who refuses to pander to his party's noisy left wing. "I know who I am," he says, and proudly quotes Al Sharpton's comment about him to the New York Times: "He don't care if they heckle or boo, that's who he is. I respect it." Yet he has abandoned most of the positions that used to epitomize his political independence, including support for school choice, opposition to racial preferences, and endorsement of private Social Security accounts.


But nothing distinguishes Lieberman from other prominent Democrats more than religion. As Al Gore's running mate in 2000, he became known for his frequent references to G-d and forceful calls for more religion in public life. "As a people we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to G-d and G-d's purpose," he said in a speech at the Fellowship Chapel in Detroit. He reminded his audience that "George Washington warned us never to 'indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.' "


That speech was praised by many conservatives, but it was sharply criticized by liberals who took it as an attack on church-state separation. The quotation from Washington particularly rankled. "To even suggest that one cannot be a moral person without being a religious person is an affront to many highly ethical citizens," wrote Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League. In quoting those words, the New York Times editorialized, Lieberman "seemed to cross the boundaries of tolerance."

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But Lieberman didn't back down. In a speech at Notre Dame two weeks before the election, he again emphasized the importance of faith to civil society, and condemned the secular orthodoxy that characterizes the American left.


"The line between church and state is an important one," Lieberman said, but "we have gone far beyond what the Framers ever imagined in separating the two. . . . We have practically banished religious values and religious institutions from the public square." He suggested again that public religion is necessary to combat moral decay. "In communities across America, people of faith are working to repair some of the worst effects of our damaged moral and cultural life, and because of their good works and that of others, we have made real progress in reducing teen pregnancy, youth violence, and abuse."


Lieberman may backtrack and flip-flop on other issues, but religion, it would seem, is one subject on which he refuses to waffle.


Or is it?


During a visit to the Boston Globe last week, he was asked again about that 2000 speech. Did he really mean to assert that religion is necessary for morality?


He could have answered "Yes," and observed that just as medicine tends to make society more healthy, religion tends to make society more ethical. He could have explained that Judeo-Christian teachings are a wellspring of the civic virtues that a sound democracy requires. He could have pointed out that even Thomas Jefferson, skeptical deist though he was, considered religion "the alpha and omega of the moral law" and for that reason used government funds to underwrite the religious services held in the Capitol and other federal buildings.


But he didn't. Instead of defending the stance he had articulated with such apparent conviction in 2000, Lieberman scuttled away from it.


That quote of Washington's had been "taken out of context," he assured his questioner. The "remarkable" thing about the American system "is that while the Declaration says that we get these rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as an endowment from our Creator, one of those rights is to not believe in the Creator."


As for the notion that religion is a mainstay of morality, Lieberman was having none of it. "All of us" know people who are religious but sleazy, he said, and other people, "totally religiously not observant," who lead "extremely moral and decent" lives. "I think that context was left out of that quote from Washington, which is the way I believe he meant it."


Actually, it's pretty much the opposite of what Washington meant. It's also pretty much the opposite of what Lieberman meant when he quoted him. Why the about-face? Because this time he was talking not to worshippers in church but to journalists at a newspaper? Because in 2003 he is trying to woo liberal voters in Democratic primaries, while in 2000 he was appealing to moderates and conservatives in the general election?


Both are plausible. So is this: Voters are unlikely to repose much faith in a candidate whose views on everything — even faith — can always be changed in the interest of winning at "Twister."

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JWR contributor Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist Comment by clicking here.

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