To : all Subj: the truth comes out * Original Message Posted via CIVLIB * Date: 11 Jul 94

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From: Tom Pardue 13 Jul 94 17:38 To : all Subj: the truth comes out * Original Message Posted via CIVLIB * Date: 11 Jul 94 10:00:11 * From: Tom Pardue @ 1:260/338.4 * To: all * Forwarded by: Christopher Baker @ 1:374/14 * Message text was not edited! @MSGID: 1:260/ 6006b150 @PID: FM 2.02 Here is an intersting column from the paper Sunday. It was written by syndicated columnist Frank Rich. ================================================================= When Arlen Specter, the moderate Republican senator from Pennsylvania, spoke out against the radical religious right at his party's Iowa convention last month, he was booed. His words were far from incendiary. He was merely defending "the basic American principle of separation of church and state." The speech was heartfelt, telling of his penniless immigrant father's escape from Russia to America in 1911. The senator seemed to be speaking not just as a politician but as a Jew. Is it coincidence that Specter, the only Jewish Republican senator, is one of the few GOP leaders who have dared criticize the Christian right? Hardly. If you are an American Jew, you have every reason to worry about a political movement whose most powerful leader, Pat Robertson of the Christian Coalition, calls the constitutional separation of church and state "a lie of the left" and vows to dismantle it. I, for one, still remember how it felt to be a Jew involuntarily praying to Jesus in a public elementary school before the Supreme Court outlawed school prayer in 1962. The extremists of the Christian right want to turn back the clock on school prayer, as they do on abortion and other issues. Their Republican defenders argue that those who challenge their views are leftists and Christian-bashers. But Specter is no pinko bigot. And there's nothing far-out about the Anti- Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the research organization whose book-length study "The Religious Right" has become a political football in the weeks since its publication. As Iowa Republicans booed Specter, so the far right, starting with the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, and Patrick Buchanan, have worked overtime to discredit the ADL and its report. What do they fear? Not the religious right's familiar hostility to pro-choice women and homosexuals but the relatively secondary sections that deal with the religious right and Jews. The radical right knows that Jews can be formidable political adversaries and so wants to distract them from the ADL report by trivializing it as an anti-Christian broadside obsessed with anti-Semitism. But the study is not anti-Christian. At the outset, its author points out that most evangelicals and fundamentalists "are not affiliated with religious right groups" and often share the same moral concerns as Jews. Nor is the ADL report preoccupied with anti-Semitism. Though it cites a few ugly incients, it more strenuously notes that leaders like Pat Robertson are staunchly pro-Israel. But Robertson is pro-Israel for a theological reason that does Jews little good: His prophecy of a Second Coming turns on a gathering of Jews in their biblical homeland. And his movement's relentless drive for a theocracy, if not anti-Semitic, does Jews no favors, either. The Christian America he envisions will enforce its narrow views on everyone through the schools and courts. Critics of the ADL report attack its footnotes rather than its main thesis, hoping that Jews won't read the actual document, which presents the Christian right as a more subtle threat than the rabid, headline-grabbing anti-Semitism of Louis Farrakhan. But Jews have been through too much in their history not to look at the fine print. They can see that the only Jews who are supporting the religious right are those whose conservative Republican causes and candidates come first. Specter is not putting his party first. His brave speech, barely reported but still resonating, may mark the beginning of the end of the religious right' s honeymoon with mainstream American Jews.


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