Letters to the editor, week of April 18, 2012

Religion and electability

No doubt, religion plays a major part in the everyday lives of millions of Americans, and the political arena is no exception. Take this year’s GOP presidential candidates, for example, all of whom are trying to curry favor with evangelical Christians who constitute a large segment of the Republican base. 

What if a candidate for the presidency were well qualified for the office and an atheist, an agnostic, or perhaps, one who didn’t believe in any religion at all, but who was decent, moral, ethical and a good person (or as we Jews like to say, a “mensch?”). Furthermore, what if this person were, no doubt, qualified for the “highest office in the land?” Would such a person be a viable, electable candidate for the presidency? 

I’m a conservative, who’s extremely proud of his Jewish faith, and my answer would be an unequivocal yes if the candidate were the best qualified person for the job. However, I suspect the answer to such a question from the overwhelming majority of our nation’s electorate—whether Democrats, Republicans or independents—would be a resounding no, particularly, among social conservatives.

I deeply respect those who practice religion—any religion—and I respect, just as much, and in the same vein, those who don’t.  I think it’s important to remember that, inherent in the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion, is the guarantee of freedom from religion.

Although my point may seem hypothetical, as I can’t think of a time our nation’s history when the American public was ever faced with such a choice, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t, nor will never happen.

Gene Carton, Olivette

Making the most of a stolen identity 

I read, with interest, the recent Letter to the Editor entitled ‘Community Divisions’ (Letters, March 28). What was interesting to me was not the writer’s comments about the endless banter between Norm Pressman and Rabbi Goldson, of which I think most people had already grown tired. Nor was I particularly interested in reading about the writer’s recollection of the ‘good old days’ at Epstein Hebrew Academy. 

I was, however, surprised to see that the letter was signed by my cousin, Herb Lipshutz. I was surprised because he died on Purim, 1994. 

It’s unfortunate that the individual who wrote this letter would attempt to exploit him so many years after his death. A little due diligence by the Jewish Light might have prevented this situation. I do, however, want to try and make the best of this unfortunate circumstance. Therefore I will be making a $100 donation to EHA (the school that the writer so fondly recalls) in memory of Herbert Lipshutz. I hope other readers of the Light will follow.

Daniel Lefton, University City