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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 Oct. 24, 2005 / 21 Tishrei, 5766

Religion and the public squared

By Suzanne Fields


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Religious faith is alive and well in the public square. It's central to the debate of who we are, what we expect to achieve, and where we're going in pursuit of happiness. The wall of separation of church and state has not been breached or lowered, but the public accepts as desirable a dialogue between Americans on both sides of the wall.

This religious debate once more confirms what Alexis de Tocqueville observed when he visited America in 1831. The force of faith arises not in spite of the separation of church and state but because of it: "By diminishing the apparent power of religion one increases its real strength."

Since de Tocqueville's visit, faith as a public issue has worked through several stages — for better and for worse — but it has never been absent from politics. In a book tellingly titled "What's G-d Got to Do With the American Experiment?" the contemporary philosopher Jean Bethke Elshtain puts the subject into perspective. "Separation of church and state is one thing," she writes. "Separation of religion and politics is another thing altogether. Religion and politics flow back and forth in American civil society all the time — always have, always will. How could it be otherwise?"


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The White House spinners were clumsy and opportunistic in the way they stressed Harriet Miers' evangelical Christian beliefs, but the idea that religious commitments should be considered as qualifications for public office is not new. When William Jennings Bryan ran for president — as the Democratic candidate, twice — his faith was a force that inspired both the candidate and his followers. When he came out of retirement to argue against the teaching of evolution in the Scopes trial in 1927, his use of religious faith destroyed his credibility.

When John F. Kennedy's Roman Catholic faith became a crucial issue in his campaign for the presidency in 1960, he welcomed questions about it so that he could set the record straight. "[I]f the time should ever come — and I do not concede any conflict to be even remotely possible — when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office," he told the Southern Baptist pastors of Houston, "and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same."

Catholicism was the controversial religion for John Kennedy because many Americans feared, as they had when Al Smith was the Democratic candidate in 1928, that a Catholic would take orders from the pope. Today religious faith becomes the focus of controversy for Harriet Miers because her faith plays a part in her attitude toward abortion. The thinness of her record pushes her faith center stage in a way that Chief Justice John Roberts' Catholic faith did not. Her faith became a sideshow, and that's too bad.

Critics of the way religious faith plays out in the public square are mostly on the liberal side of politics, attacking the moral fervor of the "religious right." That was not always the way it was. Religion enjoys a long lineage in our liberal tradition, especially as it was espoused by the contenders for the 19th-century anti-slavery movement, women's suffrage in the early 20th century, and in the civil rights struggles in the 1960s led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his clerical colleagues. Barack Obama, the Democratic senator from Illinois, has called on his party to restore the connection of liberal politics to the religious spirit: "Martin Luther King did it. The abolitionists did it. Dorothy Day did it. . . . We don't have to start from scratch." Maybe not, but it's a long way down the sawdust trail.

How faith is exploited usually depends on the politics of who's exploiting it. It can convey authenticity of motive or the hypocrisy of exploitation. In their book, "Religion Returns to the Public Square: Faith and Policy in America," Hugh Heclo and Wilfred McClay trace the ways faith can enrich or impoverish the public conversation. Mr. Heclo offers a warning: "Thinking about religion and public policy requires thinking in complex rather than simplistic ways. Doing so means harkening to what might be taken as a prime commandment of all religions — to 'pay attention' — that is, to look past the surface of things and not assume that what meets the eye is all that is going on."


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Just so. Harriet Miers' faith is of considerably less relevance than her judicial philosophy. Alexis de Tocqueville saw religion in America as essential to democracy, offering the strength of moral discipline, a restraining influence on unbridled freedom, and a source of vitality for "good citizenship." He could not imagine America without religion. Who among us can?

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