Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 Dec. 6, 2007 / 26 Kislev 5768

Politicians ‘do religion’ — and where they don't

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | During Mitt Romney's four years as governor of Massachusetts, his religious beliefs never once became an issue. For anyone who fears that a Mormon elected to high office would somehow misuse his position for theological reasons, Romney's gubernatorial record offers strong evidence that such concerns are groundless.


But prejudice about other people's religions doesn't yield easily to empirical proof, and Romney's campaign for president has had to contend from the outset with a handicap faced by no other candidate: More than 25 percent of Americans say they would not vote for a Mormon.


"I'm amazed by how many people I know who won't vote for Mitt Romney because of his Mormonism," e-mails a friend of mine, a conservative Southern Christian. "My wife, for instance. She says, 'Anybody willing to believe things as crazy as the things Mormons believe, I can't trust his judgment.' I pointed out to her that we believe that a man was raised from the dead, that he comes to us every week under the guise of bread and wine, and that we eat him up. 'That's different,' she said."


It remains to be seen whether Romney's much-anticipated speech in Texas tomorrow on religion and politics can allay the qualms of voters like my friend's wife. It seems clear that Romney will not follow the example of John F. Kennedy, who dealt with the "Catholic issue" in 1960 by saying in essence that if elected president, he would leave his religious views outside the Oval Office. Not only is Romney is too devoted to his faith to minimize it in that fashion, he is concerned, as he noted in New Hampshire on Monday, "that faith has disappeared in many respects from the public square."


But the former governor might want to quote JFK's warning about the risk of imposing an unofficial religious test on office-seekers. "While this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed," Kennedy said, "in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew — or a Quaker — or a Unitarian — or a Baptist. . . . Today I may be the victim — but tomorrow it may be you."


It was on Sunday that the Romney campaign announced the forthcoming speech, saying the candidate would discuss how his "own faith would inform his presidency if he were elected." On the same day in Britain, as it happened, the BBC broadcast an interview with former prime minister Tony Blair, who said that his Christian faith had been "hugely important" to him during his 10 years in power — but that he had felt constrained to keep it a secret for fear of being thought a crackpot.


"It's difficult to talk about religious faith in our political system," Blair said. "If you are in the American political system . . . you can talk about religious faith and people say, 'Yes, that's fair enough,' and it is something they respond to quite naturally. You talk about it in our system and, frankly, people do think you're a nutter."


Apparently that was more than Blair was willing to risk. The fear of being thought ridiculous was why his press secretary had snapped, "We don't do G-d," when an American reporter asked the prime minister about his religious views in 2003. It was why Blair's advisers vehemently protested when he wanted to end a televised speech on the eve of the Iraq war with the words "G-d bless you." American presidents routinely invoke G-d's blessing on the nation, but Blair's spinmasters warned him against offending "people who don't want chaplains pushing stuff down their throats." (Blair told his flacks they were "the most unG-dly lot," but bowed to their demand and ended the speech with a limp "thank you.")


By American standards, it is astonishing that a British prime minister should be unable to acknowledge taking Christianity seriously without causing himself political damage. Astonishing, and terribly sad. More than an ocean separates the United States from its mother country and much of Western Europe. Here, where any establishment of religion is barred by the Constitution, religious faiths flourish, and every presidential candidate is a self-identified believer. Across the pond, where a form of Christianity has been the established religion for centuries, the church has become a hollow shell, and a politician cannot "do G-d" without being scorned for his irrationality.


Mitt Romney knows that his speech isn't going to win over every voter who is uneasy at the prospect of a Mormon in the White House. Some anti-Mormon prejudice may be too entrenched to be dislodged by reason. But the very fact that Romney can give such a speech and have it draw such close and respectful attention is an indication of America's exceptional nature.

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

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

Jeff Jacoby Archives

© 2006, Boston Globe

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles