Globe and Mail

God and politicians

Being religious is belief and character

Editorial Position
The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, August 8, 2000

Al Gore's choice as his Democratic vice-presidential running mate is Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman. While Sen. Lieberman has a reputation for high moral standards -- his belief in just wars, his votes on abortion and tobacco restrictions -- these all are shadowed by a non-political core reality to his life.

He is an Orthodox Jew. This means, among other things, he keeps kosher; he consults Rabbinic sources when faced with contentious issues; he does not work on the Jewish Sabbath unless that work promotes "the respect and protection of human life and well-being."

While Sen. Lieberman's candidacy clearly addresses several political difficulties facing Mr. Gore -- in particular, his unwilling association in the popular mind with the philandering of President Bill Clinton -- it also interjects the question of religious belief into U.S. high politics in a way it hasn't been since a Catholic John Kennedy ran for the presidency in 1960.

In a general sense, a belief in God and the inclusion of religious practices in a life should never be a bar to high office. Yes, we do mean you, Stockwell Day. In a specific sense, continually asking how that belief system will affect your decision-making, is both legitimate and necessary. Yes, we still mean you, Stockwell Day.

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