Michael Bloomberg and His God Problem

If New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were to actually run for president one wonders how he would fare among … Continued

If New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were to actually run for president one wonders how he would fare among those Americans for whom a candidate’s personal religiosity ranks among their greatest concerns. I am speaking, of course, of the so-called “values voters.”

Now, let me immediately confess that I occasionally find myself hurling profanities at this category because it is so vague and imprecise. Here is one ambiguity that always burns my feathers: What do the values voters, as construed by the Faith and Values Industry, want? Do they require that a given politician profess: (a) a religion, any religion, as long as it is genuinely practiced? or, (b) their own particular religion?

If you’re a pious Mormon like Mitt Romney you sincerely hope the answer to this question is “(a)” because few politicians live their religion as earnestly as the former governor of Massachusetts (and few can, like Romney, claim that they have not as much as a tibia in their Faith and Values closet). If you’re a Baptist like Mike Huckabee, or a Catholic like Rudy Giuliani, you sincerely hope the answer is “(b).” For if such groups ever actually did vote as homogeneous blocks they would be serving up a handsome electoral windfall. And if you’re the current Mayor of New York City, you hurl profanities (but for a different reason) at values voters, not to mention the American electorate’s odd preoccupation with the personal religious beliefs of its public servants.

If values voters really do exist, the very competent, very capable, Michael Bloomberg is going to have the darnedest time winning them over. All mayors of the ultra multi-cultural Five Boroughs must learn how to speak a discourse of pluralism and tolerance. This Bloomberg can do solidly, though not spectacularly. But he appears very uncomfortable–John Kerry uncomfortable–speaking about his own religious convictions. I, along with many of his other constituents, had always attributed his reluctant and maladroit God Talk to the fact that he was a nonbeliever–an unremarkable identity in America’s greatest city.

I had assumed this until Bloomberg recently described himself as “short, Jewish divorced billionaire.” This was about as explicit a profession of faith as New Yorkers have heard from their unsentimental leader. Some Jews were surprised (though not necessarily upset) to hear Bloomberg publicly refer to his religion. Mindful of option “(a)” above, Opposition Research teams across America have surely taken note of what could be spun as a self-serving “conversion.”

Mr. Bloomberg is affiliated with Reform Judaism and this too augurs badly for his candidacy. Let us assume that he is deeply committed to his faith. Let us even assume that while he was skillfully micromanaging the City’s recent upswing, he secretly received his rabbinic training and ordination at Hebrew Union College on Broadway and West Fourth Street. My surmise is that even if this were the case, Rabbi Bloomberg would still fair poorly in the Red States. This is because Reform is an example of the type of secularized religion I have been discussing in previous posts. With its emphasis on human agency and social justice, it is nowhere near as obsessed with the role of the divine in everyday life as are certain varieties of conservative Protestantism. Highly educated, affluent and at peace with modernity, they resemble, in many ways, the small but influential class of urban-dwelling non-believers. A Reform Jewish candidate stumping among, let’s say, Evangelical Christians might be construed by them as a Unitarian, a secular humanist or even an atheist.

American voters–God Bless them–sometimes have difficulty permitting the private sphere to remain the private sphere. This deprives them, again and again, of credible political candidates. Mr. Bloomberg’s handlers may well teach him to communicate with Conservative Christian voters, but who will teach some of the latter to recognize that there is no necessary correlation between one’s private faith and one’s ability to effectively lead the public?

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
August 20, 2007; 9:30 AM ET

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  • jay

    Sadly, I doubt that America is mature enough as a nation to elect someone with little or no religious affiliation … not to mention someone who is Jewish, African-American, or female. We like to talk the talk of being free from all those old-fashioned bigotries, but once the average American gets in the voting booth, I suspect he/she will fall back on the traditional white male Christian candidate who knows how to do the god talk.Hope I’m wrong, but I don’t have much confidence in most of my fellow citizens to think outside of the box created by our puritan ancestors.

  • Warren Frisina

    Dr. Belinerblau,I was nodding along as I read your post until you got to the point where you suggested that Reform Judaism resembles “urban-dwelling non-believers.” This is the kind of hyperbole that generates far more heat than light. Coming from you, it helps validate the press’ tendency to reduce religion to absolutist and literalist claims, and nothing more. This same move is also in evidence in Hitchins’ and Dawkins’ neo-secularism. Since I know your brand of secularism to be much more sophisticated than either of theirs, I’m going to assume you were caught up in a rhetorical flourish and did not mean to suggest that “real” religion is absolutist while religions that adopt a more pluralistic understanding of their traditions and beliefs are somehow not genuinely religious.Warren Frisina, Hofstra University

  • jay

    Warren Frisina:I did not perceive that in the professor’s article. I think he was saying that many Americans — rightly or wrongly — will fail to see much distinction between Bloomberg’s non-dogmatic, pluralistic Judaism and a form of secularism in which one’s religious affiliation is based more on tradition than actual belief.Personally, I don’t know or care if Bloomberg is atheistic or not. At least he is not “channeling god” at every opportunity and seems capable of making leadership decisions within a secular (rational) frame of mind. That would be a big step up from our current “leader.”

  • Gaby

    They won’t elect him because he is divorced. Who on earth would be the first lady???????

  • jay

    I would’ve suggested Leona Helmsley as a ceremonial first lady, but her schedule for the foreseeable future has made her unavailable.

  • Gaby

    Hahahahha! Good one, Jay!

  • Janet

    How about if the secularists and atheists voted as one block? Would that not make a big enough constituency to get someone elected? When are we going to have a political leader who will not shamelessly pander to the religiously infantile in this country? When I see Hilary or Obama profess their faith, I just think they are hypocrites. What political leader is going to have the guts to tell the religious hysterics to get a grip, and leave their religion at home?

  • Patrick

    GOD does not vote so the values vote or the Family values folks; conservative evangelics; do not matter with regards too their religious beliefs.Engaging religious debate in the name of politics is disingenuious at least and pandering to christians at best.Whom apointed Jack to be the religious barometer from GW University in the first place?

  • Patrick

    GOD does not vote so the values vote or the Family values folks; conservative evangelics; do not matter with regards too their religious beliefs.Engaging religious debate in the name of politics is disingenuious at leats and pandering to christians at best.Whom apointed Jack to be the religious barometer from GW University in the first place?

  • Gaby

    Hey there, Jacob, how is thee??? If I ever come to NY, we need to have some brewskies.Janet:I like that idea. If I ever hear about a secularist bloc, I’ll join.

  • susan

    this post is inane where it is not offensive. as a reform jew i find you to be utterly ignorant of my faith and would, therefore, hesitate to credit the rest of your opinions.


    I’m in on the secularists block. 20 million to go!!!!


    I think it’s time we became more vocal. As quiet as it’s kept many believers really believe in a secular government. They want to be able to choose their politicians on qualities other than the “god litmus test”.Secularism must mean a refusal to play the “god” game in public.

  • Jeff


  • Anonymous

    The Faith and Values Industry wants politicians to profess their own particular religion: Evangelical Fundamentalist Baptists and no other. Only the Evangelical Christians really seem to care what religion a candidate belongs to, unlike the more rational and logical Christian religions that don’t hold to the view that only the born-again will go to heaven. Why does a person’s particular faith, or lack of faith, matter at all when running for office? It should be illegal for a candidate to mention religion at all.

  • Meyer

    You can call those who choose a candidate based on the candidate’s religion “values voters” if you want. I call them narrow-minded bigots, and frame the issue thusly:Q: How should Mayor Bloomberg campaign to win the vote of narrow-minded bigots? A: If he wants to win the votes of narrow-minded bigots, he’ll campaign for their votes the same way Republicans have successfully since 1968. And their religious beliefs have had little or nothing to do with it.

  • Bot

    Janet, Sorry, the United States is the most church-going Christian nation on the planet. Get out of your NYC – DC orb and get in synch with the rest of the country (the “fly-over” provinces). Cheers,

  • Ethan Quern

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think so…The current President’s relationship to faith, and the revulsion of many Americans to his statements, visitations, and other antics provide ample fodder for moving on.I think Americans have seen what a faith-based presidency is like, and they don’t like it much.Let’s see what happens in 2008!

  • tony

    It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if the MSM could grow up and remind voters of all stripes, including the deity-obsessed ones, that George W. Bush had PERFECT faith credentials and what did it get us?We just need someone competent in the White House right now. Who cares what religious beliefs that person possesses? If you get hit by a car, do you start interviewing the EMT’s on their religious beliefs, or do you want them to help save your life and get you to the hospital?This whole conversation is absurd and continually puts losers and charlatans into elected office.

  • Klem

    Goodness, I hope Bloomberg doesn’t talk about his religion–I am so bored by theocrats these days, aren’t you?They just keep saying the same thing over and over again:”I am not mature enough to make, and be responsible for,my own decisons and behavior; therefore I present (insert deity) Who absolves me of rational thought and culpability.”Another way of putting it: Bush killed God, didn’t he?All this country has left is Mammon, god of the dollar bill.

  • Garak

    I think a lot of moderate and liberal christians and jews would vote for a secularist. Many of them that I know feel very uncomfortable with candidates who wear their faith on their sleeves. And I live in a red state, part of the “fly over provinces,” as Bot puts it.

  • Henry

    Dear Professor of Religion,My religion is my business…and so it is for Bloomberg. It’s his affair and his alone.Attending graduate school in nyc and studying political science I’m hard pressed to recall a religion class. Hmm. Well, perhaps a Constitutional Law 1 class…speaking toward the separation of church from affairs of state. And that is it. Discussion ended. The Office of Faith Based Initiative should focus on ceasing as an entity of our secular government. Bye Bye. Religion should not intrude the electoral process. thanks for allowing me to express this point of view on your bandwidth. henry

  • Edwin

    Being in peace w/ fictitious characters, such a benevolent & omniscent friend for grown-ups, or God, is not important to most educated Americans. On the contrary, spirituality is something so personal that I’d prefer the candidates would not divulge such info to the public. In conclusion, who cares about religion?? Only the ignorant do. Only the ignorant.

  • Athena

    People are surprised because a potential candidate is hesitant about talking about their faith in public? It’s not surprising to me. Back in the day, before public testimonials of faith on baseball diamonds, football fields, etc., white folks – especially in the Northeast – were taught from an early age not to talk about religion or politics. Like my favorite tailor, Garak, just said, a LOT of people, not just “secularists” are uncomfortable with candidates talking about religious preferences. I’d rather hear that a candidate was going to govern by the Constitution rather than a set of Bibilical laws – only three of which are written into the legal code.

  • ROb

    Frankly I am sick of electing politicians that claim to be something that they aren’t. However they aren’t much different than the average American. Organized religion in the country is a joke! This administration has set another hypocritical example for religious affiliation. Obviously it has been an embarrassment not only for the administration but for the entire country as well. In my opinion there is not a single candidate that can fix the problems that this claimed “God” loving President has given us. Frankly I don’t have a problem with Bloomberg. Unfortunately when the voters go to the voting booth they won’t vote for him because he’s a Jew. Unfortunate! He is the only one that can fix our problem…in my opinion.In my opinion it’s people like you putting thoughts in to the minds of people that perpetuates bigotry. Shame on you!

  • Howard Reisner

    I am more than a bit confused. Would it be politically advantageous to profess an attraction to Luther, Zwingli or Calvin? Is there a particular Lubovitcher sect that has a greater affinity for God than others? Is it dependent on sidelock length? When I entered graduate school in prehistoric times I was asked for my religion on a little yellow card (one suspects so as to simplfy last rights given a major laboratory snafu). I said (in a moment of perhaps more significance than realized at the time) that I worshiped Moloch. I suspect I am out of national politics forever based on unacceptable religious levity and a taste for child abuse.

  • Sally

    The Bloomberg Jewishness that would bother Americans is not his religion…but his Israel centered politics. His relationship to AIPAC et.al. New Yorkers work daily to marry Israel to the United States…more covereage for Israel in the Times every day than any 45 states in America.

  • Joe Anthony

    As a Unitarian, I perked up when Jack said voters mights confuse Bloomberg’s reform Judism with Unitarianism. Actually, our congregration has quite a few Jews as well as escaped Catholics, recovering Baptists, and repenting Presbyterians. So their perception of B.’s religiosity might not be too far off.

  • Jan Taddeo

    Berlinerbrau states that Reform Judaism is based on human agency and social justice … not being well-versed in RJ (yet), I have to trust this is true. He makes an indirect comparison to Unitarian Universalism, which I claim as my faith, and I know that we have a long history of faith in human agency and a commitment to social justice. I would be most pleased to see a candidate who ran on a platform that recognized the inherent worth and dignity of ALL people (each and every person), and affirmed the interdependent web of life of which we are all a part (and had a track record to match). So far the only candidate who comes close is Dennis Kucinich. When most of us, especially those in power, finally understand that what we do to one another we do to ourselves, and that all that we do impacts all of life, then we can begin to turn towards healing the wounds we have inflicted on one another and on the earth.For me, being a Unitarian Universalist means being a very religious and faithful person. I don’t need an external anthropomorphic image of God to live my faith; I only need to know that I am inextricably interconnected to all of life – and this I know through my own personal experience and human agency, and this inspires me to acts of love and justice.Blessings…

  • John Scanlan

    Bloomberg does NOT have a god problem. If you’ve actually read the U.S. Constitution, you’d notice that there is no religious test for office.We need an agnostic in the White House. We’ve seen where the bigotry of Pat Robertson and James Dobson have gotten us … trapped in a war on Islam and divided as a nation.

  • R.M.mac. Beaskins

    These posts, are they for ideas or not so subtle campaigning for Bloomberg?

  • govtDr

    George Bush has said he was chosen by GOD to lead this nation during these difficult times. Question: Why does GOD hate America so much that He/She has foisted that upon us ?Answer: Because, as the Bible says, the Anti-Christ must rule for a time before GOD’s final victory can occur.

  • Amanda S.


  • On the plantation

    Michael Bloomberg is such an intelligent person, he would probably charge God for a consultation.IMO, in simplest terms, Bloomberg has one big thing in his favor and one large overhanging thing in his disfavor. First, the plus. He was a hands-on manager with a great deal of direct contact at all personnel levels of his market-data/analysis and business-media enterprise. The pool of people with clear and strong impressions has to be enormous by comparison, for example, to a John Edwards. To a great number of people, he is no unknown.Second, the negative. He is an elitist, demonstrably of the arbitrary type, and insensitive to mere mortals. That’s the God problem.

  • Bob Kholos

    Jacques Berlinerblau is over-reaching.

  • Ron Martin

    I am neither a republican nor a democrat. In my mind, democracy means I have a choice to make that should be based not on which party someone belongs to but how well I feel the person can govern.My faith is strong and I must say that I have never had a minister that made me wish the man had gone into politics so that I could vote for him.Likewise I have never asked any president, of a company that I have worked for, what his religious beliefs were.If I were to ask a customer about his faith, I would most certainly be suspected of not having strong ethics – it has nothing to do with our relationship.Why then, am I supposed to believe that a man’s faith will make him a better leader. Of all of our recent presidents, Jimmy Carter would have, arguably, been considered to be the one that lived his life with the highest Christian standards. Few history books will mark his presidency as defining or eventful – he has enjoyed far more results as an activist than he ever did as a president.Instead of voting with our hearts, we need to vote with our minds. We do not need to emulate our leaders, we need to trust that they will lead strongly with the best intentions for all US citizens, not just those that believe as they do.A good president needs many qualities, only a few of which are compassion and empathy. Those candidates that define themselves as strong Christians, are also the ones who seem to go out of their way to state they will have no compassion or empathy for anyone who does not believe as they do.Funny thing is, I never remember reading about Jesus Christ in this way, and He is who they are to be emulating in their faith – somehow they have gotten it all wrong in my mind.I’ll vote for the strong athiest or the Baptist minister whoever is the best leader in my mind. I hope others will follow.

  • Thud

    I hate to see people give credence to the idea that “values voters” are conservative Christian voters. It makes it sound like conservative Christian values are the only values that matter, or that the rest of us do not vote our values.I believe in and hold to my values which are often different from those of Conservative Christians. I value aiding the impoverished. I value environmental conservation. And I value tolerance for people different from myself. And so I vote my values — which means I vote Democrat. I am religious, but if Bloomberg is not that does not bother me. Religious tolerance, including tolerance for the irreligious, is another one of my values. So is separation of Church and State — which I always thought was a shared American value. Does my willingness to vote for Bloomberg make me a “valueless voter” or an “amoral voter”?

  • Mr Mark

    The United States is a democracy. It’s a political system that allows each and every citizen to have a say in how their government runs.The major religions do not advocate democracy. They are based on the political system of a monarchy, or the kingdom, if you will. There is no free will in any religion. You either vote with the king (god) while you’re alive, or your head is lopped off for eternity. Of course, there are no votes in heaven, are there?It’s strange that so many people in our country believe that a person whose ultimate goal is to live as a serf in some eternal celestial monarchy has the wherewithall to preserve and advance our democracy. Does not the bible say that one cannot serve two masters? Is that not also true of the political systems we embrace?I look forward to the day when religion is a sorry footnote in the world’s history, while knowing I won’t see it in my lifetime.

  • walden1

    Do we really need all this faith-based commentary? We were established as a secular political experiment in the late 18th century. That you are invited by the Post to make these choice comments on the candidates, is a sign of how far all media (and candidates) have been forced to the Far Right by the highly organized Flat Earth Christians and the Bush White House. Please go back to pastoring and leave the editorial pages free of any kind of Faithology!

  • neil perlman

    Just the type of thinking one would expect in a theocratic state.

  • Tom Smitsloo

    Maybe your founding fathers expressed the explicit desire to separate religion from state, and maybe the present generation should look for other individual qualities to establish their trust in a candidates character? We Europeans hardly care whether a candidate for office believes in Santaclaus, in G-d or in humanism. As long as his or her core beliefs appeal to us. And a core belief is an individual thing, not subject to what institutes such as churches force us to express. I happen to be of the … faith …. but this is of no concern to anyone but me.

  • Tom Smitsloo

    Maybe your founding fathers expressed the explicit desire to separate religion from state, and maybe the present generation should look for other individual qualities to establish their trust in a candidates character? We Europeans hardly care whether a candidate for office believes in Santaclaus, in G-d or in humanism. As long as his or her core beliefs appeal to us. And a core belief is an individual thing, not subject to what institutes such as churches force us to express. I happen to be of the … faith …. but this is of no concern to anyone but me.

  • Rich

    In November 2006 and the aftermath of the Congressional election opinion polls show that the vast majority of the public are done buying into the Bush religious program and have comfortably returned to their tolerant secularism. The hard-core Bush/Republican/Evangelical block makes up no more than 25% of the electorate, and even the rest of the Conservative voters are weary of their obsession and are distancing themselves from the Religious voters on many issues. So the Christian political movement has seen its day for now and no candidates on right or left need cater to it. In fact, openly playing to religious sentiment may be a loser’s game in the current climate.I expect the candidates in 08 to go on fighting the last war by awkwardly catering to religion when that factor is no longer in play, because politicians are simply not good at reading the public. But those who are insiders to the religious right would do well to see the reality of their new minority status and not overplay powers they no longer possess…

  • david

    All the electorate needs to know about this mater, but unfortunately, in many instances, disregards in spirit:U.S. Constitution, Article VI: “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

  • isthisajoke

    I don’t care how big, good, or what kind of Jew Bloomberg is, and I hope if he does run he tells anyone who asks that it’s none of their damn business! Including the right-wing so-called values voters. I am sick of being held hostage by the these morons. C’mon candidates, here’s your chance to show some courage. I for one will vote for the candidate who has the moxy to stand up to these idiots. Oh, and I grew up and live in a “flyover” state and I am not alone in these views!

  • BelieverNoMore

    Any religion is a crutch for the individual. As such I am very interested in the religious believes of all presidential candidates – the stronger it is the less likely I will vote for him/her. Religion, like anything else, is part of Einsteins relativity. It certainly may hit you but if it sticks around something is wrong. Move on so to speak, especially a potential President of the US. Atheism really is the next step up.

  • Bill

    I am sure that I fit the author’s definition of a “values voter.” I am a conservative republican, and my first choice for president is Mike Huckabee. I believe that most “values voters” do not require that a candidate adhere to a particular religion; instead, we are concerned about the morality of the individual and the policies that we can expect him or her to implement. For example, I liked Ronald Reagan. I question the genuineness of his faith, but he consistently implemented policies with which I agreed (except his choices for supreme court justices). And he did not have any disabling moral weaknesses that compromised his effectiveness as president. Contrast this to Bill Clinton. Yes, he was a Baptist, however uncommitted, but he lacked key character qualities of honesty and loyalty, which in turn limited his effectiveness as president. Plus, he backed policies that a “values voter” finds abhorrent, such as the right to abort an unborn child on demand.The religion of a candidate is one of many factors to consider when deciding whether the candidate will do what you want the candidate to do if elected. Bloomberg fails the test, not because he’s Jewish, but because he’s wrong on many of the issues. Romney has some convincing to do because of his recent about-face on abortion. And Rudy’s policies on social issues are a disaster, regardless of his religious stripes, if any.So you see, it’s not about the religious brand. It’s about character, and pursuing the right policies.

  • Bob

    One thing much more important than Bloomberg’s believe is his love life. I just don’t se much of that lady of his. Also he officially met her at some dinner party, all pre-arranged by some hostess which seems artificial at best. If he is a closet homosexual I will never vote for him because he is playing games. Guilliani I vote for any time because he is who he is.

  • Ethan

    As I see it, it isn’t Bloomberg that has a religion problem, it’s America!

  • jhbyer

    The suggestion of a penetrating gaze in Mr. Berlinerblau’s photo is affirmed by his essay.

  • Peter

    I love how anyone who believes in God is a “Right-Wing Moron”Way to go oh tolerant ones. Show us the way to a truely liberal society!!. Truth is, the only acceptable belief to a liberal is that God is dead.If God is dead then where is his body thou great scientist?? He never existed you say??? Then prove it. Until then your belief is a belief. That is right YOUR BELIEF IS A BELIEF.

  • Janet

    If Bloomberg referred to himself as a “short, Jewish divorced billionaire”, that statement might very well have absolutely nothing to do with his religious convictions, and everything to do with his ethnic and cultural heritage. Many, many non-believing Jews, loosely refer to themselves as Jews. To be Jewish is not just a religious identity, it is also a cultural and ethnic identity, and many Jews who no longer attend synagogue, belong to any Jewish community, or believe in the god of the Old Testament, refer to themselves as “Jews”.

  • Thomas

    I think he can break through that boundary if he needs to. Bloomberg is a smart self-made man who is fully capable of organizing what needs to be done for the country. After GW Bush, I think the god vote has diminished in value as more people have learned how it is exploited. Think about the abortion / gay rights positions of Guiliani. Sure Dr. Dobson came out and said True Christians must not vote for this evil-doer, but last I checked he is the frontrunner. It may not fly well in Iowa, but there are other republican markets. Most are trying to pander to the values voters, and Rudy’s success will show whether that is necessary in a Rep primary. But there is also a practical centrist sect that Bloomberg as an Independent has a unique ability to tap into and poach votes from both sides of the aisle.

  • walden1

    The American Republic, such as remains of it, is now forced to consider Mormans, Jews, Protestants, Muslims, as private Sects equivalent to: Scientology, Catholicism in its historic heyday, and the Mafia. We need lots of spiritual guidance, its true. This will take some work on the part of any shepherd and any herd. Shame on The Post for soliciting faith commentary that will always be inadvertently political. Shame on a religious figure who thinks he can compete with James Carville or Karl Rove! It’s time to trash the ego, question your faith, and bring hard thinking to save our nation, a community of good-tempered morons! With all due respect.

  • Finbarr

    If there’s one thing I want in a person who controls nuclear weapons, it’s a belief in supernatural beings. Bloomberg really should let us know.

  • yoyo

    I have a dream,

  • wayoutthere

    I hope we live in a country where a relatively secular Jew has more difficulty getting elected due to being relatively secular than to being Jewish, but I doubt it. And to write a whole column about the former and ignore the latter is insane.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah wouldnt it be great to see a candidate stand up and say “Well,I don’t believe there is a God.Never seen one,never heard from one,never needed one.I would vote for that man for refusing to play to the crowd,and for having the integrity and guts to be a nonbeliever and open about it.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to know what makes Professor Berlinerblau think he’s qualified to categorize Reform Jews as “non-believers”. And non-believers in what, exactly?

  • peter

    YOYO:Your dream sounds alot like the mind-police to me. This dream already existed in communist Russia and still does in communist China. Your dream is only a happy one for those who believe the same as you. That is the antithesis of freedom.

  • Bucinka

    I am tired of hearing the radical right being referred to as “values voters” as if they are the only ones. We are ALL values voters. And guess what, millions of values voters are non-Christians. I’ll say one thing for the vast right-wing conspiracy, they have certainly co-opted the rhetoric on this issue.”When the anti-Christ comes, he will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” –Sinclair Lewis

  • Anonymous

    I would not vote for Romney.Romney should have the good sense to look in the mirror and tell himself to snap out of his silly mormon faith,which if he would think about it seriously,hed see that he’s a mormon just because he was raised to be one, having been born in Utah.not because mormonism has any veracity or truth or anything going for it.Just that he was programed to believe it,and like a good robot,he does.

  • Bob Revitte

    Living 2000 miles from NYC doesn’t qualify me to speak to Mr. Bloomberg’s religiosity but why do the media allow Rudy Giuliani to continue to profess to be a Roman Catholic when his outward actions and beliefs are so contrary to the Catholic Church? Surely, being baptized Catholic as an infant doesn’t infuse a Catholic with life long membership in the Catholic religion if the person elects to lead a life which is so contrary to the teachings of his church. May I suggest the media refer to Mr. Giulani as a former Catholic or perhaps a Catholic not in good standing with his church. That would be more accurate.

  • walden1

    Finbarr–Why do you think belief in a supernatural being will aid a political leader in preventing nuclear destruction of the planet?Think on it a long time. Human beings are Mortals. We live in Time. We are born into the world with no mission. We go through life without a clue. Eventually, after shouting out our opinions in editorials or blogs, we die. (Some irony here!)Life, individual and collective, becomes much more vital and exciting if we conceive things without recourse to any sort of reality outside of Time, such as an omnisciescient God. Without this contingency, without the openness and risk at each step, what does our famous “human freedom” mean? If we blow up the planet with nuclear weapons, I don’t think God will take responsibility. Believe in God, but I think we have a responsibility to get it right in Time, on this particular Earth.

  • Finbarr

    Walden1: Irony!

  • tadlad

    Isn’t Reformed Judaism Jews that accept Jesus as the Messiah? At any rate, Bloomberg is one of the best civil servants NYC has seen in ages. He really does an awesome job, and works hard to represent the people.I personally would like to see him run for president.

  • william becker

    Well said, Mr. Berlinerblau! When will the voters of this great Country stop putting our candidates through the religion test? The Constitution actually ststes that there shall be No Religious Test for political candidates, and I will do everything I can to assure that this standard is followed. Besides being outside the intent of this particular clause, don’t the “religious” among us realize how insulting it is to assume that the nonreligious are somehow not as moral, honorable, patriotic, or otherwise worthy of office?

  • Dave

    I couldn’t give a rat’s you-know-what about the specifics of his personal beliefs; it’s just not my business or concern. I just want to know if and how far he would go towards standing for or against the racist obscenity known as Israel. If he’s another Joe Lieberman or Richard Perle or countless other zionists who have derailed our government and strong-armed us into doing Israel’s dirty-work, then it IS my business, as well as every other American with any moral judgment.

  • walden1

    Finbarr, Sorry, I missed it. God bless you! (No irony here, they ain’t got no copyright on His name!)

  • yoyo

    Peter.Pretend for a moment that there is no god.

  • mnjam

    “With its emphasis on human agency and social justice, [Reform Judaism] it is nowhere near as obsessed with the role of the divine in everyday life as are certain varieties of conservative Protestantism.Maybe Reform Jews, Unitarians and their ilk (e.g. Jesus) really believe in a creator GOD — infinite, extracosmic and supratemporal, whose presense in the world is the freedom of mankind to make a “good” world better; whereas conservative Protestanism, whatever that means, s believe in a “GOD” who is more like Zeus — running around the universe, wacking his enemies, curing disease, assisting with stock market tips, determining the outcome of football games and, of course, impregnating virgins. This God sounds a lot like that of bin Ladin, save that bin Ladin’s God procures virgins for martyrs and is a bigger fan of soccer than of American football.VIVE LE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, THE GREATEST BULWARK OF FAITH EVER DEVISED.

  • Josh Kolchins

    Mr. Bloomberg, should he decide to run for president, shouldn’t have to justify his religious beliefs to anyone. Nor should any other candidate. Religion is a purely personal matter that has no place in politics. The author’s assertion that Conservative Christians would view a Reform Jew as an atheist or a secular humanist is probably right. However, that would only reveal their own parochialism and ignorance of the wider world, Jews in particular and non-protestants in general. In light of the negative politics, partisanship and lousy policy foisted upon this country as a result of the Christian Conservative agenda of the past decade, a candidate espousing a religious view that the Christian Right doesn’t understand or even outright loathes would be laudable.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t this post is supposed to be ABOUT ‘faith’, which one might suppose, means faith in some not secular God or other.

  • daveb99

    Oh, geez. Leave Bloomberg alone. Leave all the candidates alone. Here is what the Constitution says, in Article Six: “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”We have boatloads of religiosity with the Current Occupant and his crowd. A lot of good that did the country.

  • daveb99

    Oh geez. Leave Michael Bloomberg alone. Leave all the candidates alone, for Pete sake. This is what the U.S. Constitution has to say about religion and public office: “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”We have boatloads of religiosity with the Current Occupant and his gang of crooks and liars. What good is it to have “deeply religious” people running our government when they can’t seem to screw in a light bulb properly? We don’t need religious people as much as competent and honest people.

  • Anonymous


  • The Moderate

    Surely the Evil “Conservative Christians” would never tolerate a Jew, or a Black, or a Woman!!! Its a wonder that a Black and a Woman seem to be doing so well in the polls, and it is widely held dream that the Jew will start his own candidacy.I don’t know a single Christian who held Joe Lieberman’s religion against him, so where is this coming from?Looks like more paranoia.

  • Jim

    Sad. Americans regularly vote for people because of their Religious beliefs and beleiving in God is a must – and look at where it has gotten them An idiot President who talks to God and a budding theocracy with Christian zeolots that are not much different from Muslim Zeolots – arrogant, beligerent, non tolerant people imposing their beleifs on others (and killing them in the process). Billy Graham will still die, just like every other living thing. THERE IS NO GOD because no God would inflict a country George Bush et al as their leaders. ANY NON BELIEVER would do a better job of running the country but America is more preoccupied with what religion or lack thereof a person has rather than the fall of the American Empire – which we are all witnessing right now.

  • Ja Joz

    Att: M O D E R A t, E T A L, Ya!Secular minds at Their best!!

  • jay

    Finnbar — So, you want the person who has his finger on the button of nuclear weapons, the most lethal technology we have, to believe in supernatural beings? Like angels, fairies, devils, and similar creations of primitive minds? Is that what you really want?

  • michael gordon

    The constitution says “No religious test” for any office.Candidates should honor both the letter and spirit of this clause, by not speaking about their religion, and letting their lives and

  • Tommy

    Methinketh this secular humanist doth protest too much, but he’s right that Bloomberg is unelectable as President, or even as dogcatcher, outside Godless Gotham!Shalom, Mayor!

  • The Moderate

    Dear JA JOZ:Yes. Sometimes I think this blog should be called “Against Faith”. It really does sell fear of, mistrust of, and paranoia about our neighbors who are Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Mormons, or Moslems.

  • Karen

    It is better to wear your competence on your sleeve than it is to wear your faith on your sleeve. Recent history shows that. I think even Christian conservatives would accept a competent Jewish New Yorker if they saw what his record is in getting things done.Karen

  • Karen

    It is better to wear your competence on your sleeve than it is to wear your faith on your sleeve. Recent history shows that. I think even Christian conservatives would accept a competent Jewish New Yorker if they saw what his record is in getting things done.Karen

  • Karen

    It is better to wear your competence on your sleeve than it is to wear your faith on your sleeve. Recent history shows that. I think even Christian conservatives would accept a competent Jewish New Yorker if they saw what his record is in getting things done.Karen

  • al

    Silly,Bloomberg will always be a Jew no matter what he believes. It was defined by the Nuremberg laws, where heritage superseded all.Most Jews in America, other than the Orthodox are in belief and action, atheists.

  • Shag

    Just look at what these so-called evangelicals have gotten this country into. We are so bad off, it’ll take years to fix the nations problems.

  • Mark Oller

    There is nothing odd about a preoccupation with a candidate’s reigious beliefs. Nor is religion entirely personal. According to Christian fundamentalism, unbelievers will burn in hell forever, in which case they should be burned at the stake. The Theonomists prefer stoning. See “Christian Statesman” stoning.An alliance of Christian premillennialists, and mostly secular but fanatical Zionists, are to blame for the war in Iraq. Both are dedicated to Israeli expansion, at any cost, including World War III. Despite their hatred for each other, they keep their true beliefs to themselves.It is not irrelevant if a President’s beliefs are stark raving mad, either. President Bush is a true believer and a psychotic patsy. And Mormonism is laughable even to a Christian fundamentalist. Mitt Romney has to be a liar, because he is not an idiot.Mark Oller

  • peter

    YOYO:There is no natural vs. supernatural, religion vs. science. Only known vs unknown (from our perspective).I do not believe in organized religion for its own sake. And I don’t believe in pretending there is a God. I actually believe in God. The same as you believe in secularism or science or atheism or Darwin or rationalism or liberalism. Whatever you call it the question is the same: Why do you hate God?

  • George Albert

    1. You cannot be a Jew and not believe in G_d. There is no such thing as being ethnically Jewish. That is myth put forth by the MSM.2. Bloomberg would be a terrible president because one, he is showing to be a terrible mayor, he is arrogant and he does not listen to anyone but the sound of his own voice.3. Just because someone has money does not make them a good leader. Mitt Romney and Mike Bloomberg are two good examples of that.4. I would be glad to vote for real Jew as president and I believe most of the American people don’t care about a person religion so long as the person values human life and liberty and opportunities for people.

  • Terra Gazelle

    YoYo,Atheists like to say that everyone follows their parents religion…do you?I don’t. My parents were Christain, I am Pagan. While they were Monotheists, I am a soft Polytheist. I was born Pagan, I became Wiccan. terra

  • david

    Bloomberg is the smartest one on both sides of the fence. He has cleaned up the 5 boroughs of NYC without police force, with dignity and has maintained all campaign promises. He who runs NYC, can run the country. He is a brilliant businessman who has foresight, charm and wit. So, his religious beliefs don’t match up the Bible Belt or conservative philosophies. He would be the man for the job.

  • Bill Randle

    I am sick and tired of candidates using their religion as leverage in elections. It’s time we get back to keeping a clear separation of church and state and stop beating voters over the head with all the religious pandering.The qualifications of a candiate are all that matters. We don’t need anymore polarization of Americans based on religion. That was Bush’s specialty and it was terrible for the country. We’re already divided, so why exacerbate it by shoving more religion down people’s throats??

  • AJ

    Bloomberg has more competence in his little finger than Bush has when using every resource god gave him. Still, as others note, there are too many bigots in this country to elect Bloomberg president.Someday I believe it is inevitable that a majority will realize that organized religion is basically a form of organized ignorance, handed down generation after generation. Bush and many of the conservative base who will defend him to the death are good examples of the inevitable outcome.Still, we have to live with these so-called religious souls, so I hope we can find enough common ground and wisdom to co-exist peacefully that America doesn’t disintegrate into total polarization, chaos and dysfunction (boy, we’re almost there now, aren’t we).Hopefully as a first step we’ll quit electing incompetent, intolerant fundamentalists to public office.

  • Betty Louann

    Mr. Bloombert’s faith is of no interest to me. I only worry about those who proclaim their faith to the world ( wear their religion on their sleeves?). I don’t plan to vote for Bloomberg even if he runs, but it isn’t because of his faith. It’s because we already have lots of great candidates.

  • Rob J.

    The Golden Rule: “He who has the gold, makes the rules.”Call me a cynic, but should Bloomberg run, I do not believe he will have any problem at all with the ‘god vote’ because he, more than ANY candidate out there, is in the best position to exploit the Golden Rule. Those in positions to practice the true Golden Rule need not worry about common folk who adhere to false shadows of the rule premised on other ‘values’; such folk exist only to demonstrate the veracity of the rule itself.If anything is evident to me, it is that the “values voter” label is less one that identifies religiosity as such, and more a label that applies to those willing to blindly follow charismatic religious leaders (or other similar ideologues) like sheep. This is a significant distinction, and the only distinction that would matter to a Bloomberg candidacy exploiting the Golden Rule. Why? Simple. He need only win over the charismatics and he wins the sheep. If the charismatics won’t play his game, he need only expend some small portion of his vast resources to use proxies that tear down the current uncooperative charismatics and that strengthen the hand of new or alternative charismatics that will back him. There is no legitimate reason why Dobson, with his single-minded 2-3 issue conservative agenda must logically (or even biblically) speak for “values voters” more than a Warren or other similar charismatic who embrace larger agendas. There is similarly no reason why a new charasmatic couldn’t mirror Dobson’s approach but instead convincingly (to “values voters”) back a different set of 2-3 issues that parallel those valued in a Bloomberg agenda. With enough money behind the right charismatics and against the wrong ones, the “values voters” will do their duty as unwitting lemmings and once again reaffirm the veracity of the true Golden Rule. Will he succeed perfectly? Of course not. But he arguably doesn’t need to. He really just needs to fracture the voting block enough to render it inert.

  • yoyo

    PeterYou had me right up until your last remark.

  • Looken

    “Values Voters”. What a crock. This country is a hell of a lot less conservative than these ‘value voters’ would lead us to believe. I’d rather see an atheist in the white house, at least then I’d assume he/she wasn’t nuts.

  • sully

    Jacques, You make one large error in your article. You are assuming that there IS such a thing as a “value voter”, people with such small agendas as gay marriage, abortion, and other wedge issues that seem to only appear during the election season. During the calm times between elections, barely a peep. The reason is that what you refer to as “value voters” are actually voters who respond to the republican pandering to the christian fundamentalists. Why is someone who wants to end the Iraq war to save the lives of our troops NOT a value voter? Why is someone who wants to hand out clean needles to save the lives of addicts NOT a value voter? You see, what you have done Jacques is to have let those who claim to hold the value positions to own the term “value”. Yet we do not hear about the “liberals” who fight for money to keep soup kitchens open as value voters and we do not hear about values that are not explicitly christian. We do not hear about values that are not owned by the republican party because the republicans have successfully branded their party as the party of values even though anyone who looks at their platform and their actions knows they are anything but value oriented. They harbored a pedophile. They have committed crimes. They have lied to the American people. They have risked national security by outing a CIA agent for no more reason that spite.You, Jacques, are trying to figure out how much they care about the religion of a candidate. What you need to understand is that you are trying to figure out something that does not exist and that is why it is so difficult. You take the claims of republican campaigns and treat them as real when they are nothing more than made up rhetoric. Maybe you should instead hit the road, find these “value voters” and try to determine whether these values are rooted in upbringing or rooted in political party and religious politiking. I think you will find that most people, the vast majority, will tell you that they judge a candidate on their character but will likely agree that what their pastor says will influence their votes. These are people who do not think for themselves, and the republican party has sunk its teeth into them, not to meet their imaginary needs of a world free of abortion and gays, but simply to play to their fears for their votes.So Jacques, reconsider your starting premise and start over.

  • s cohn

    Berlinerblau is almost certainly right about Bloomberg’s absence of a genuine religious identity. Congressman Anthony Weiner picked up on this weakness when he ran for the Democractic nomination for Mayor in 05. (Regretably, it received no attention in the mainstream press.) It is perhaps also worth pointing out that Bloomberg often appears uncomfortable in front of Jewish audiences, a problem Ed Koch and Giuliani never had. See for example this Jewish Daily Forward article:Bloomberg’s very real “God Problem” will doom him to a Naderesque percentages if he is vain enough to run in a general election against an Obama or a Romney. I’m surprised no one has said that the Massachusetts native is as much an observant Jew as he is a genuine NY Yankees fan.

  • psyberdawg

    As an agnostic, I hope that we can eventually put this un-Constitutional “religious test” behind us.I don’t care whether a candidate is religious or secular, only that they are competent, ethical and compassionate. I see nothing inherently contradictory in living my life in harmony with religious teachings, Christian or otherwise, whilst being a “non-believer.” The Golden Rule is a fine example. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Could there be any better advice for living a good life? Those who pander to the Conservative Christian bloc — I don’t buy the media-created term, “values voters” — are failing the “ethical” test, for me. Jesus Christ taught humility, which, to my mind, includes not trumpeting or drawing attention to one’s faith:I have some good friends who are very conservative Christians. We disagree completely on some matters, but, through great patience, we have come to see a great deal of overlap in our “values.” They have even told me that they could vote for a non-Christian for President, if that person were ethical and lived with integrity, over an overtly Christian candidate who had demonstrated hypocrisy in his or her past, or who seemed to be a panderer.I hope there are others, like my dear friends, who would give a qualified, yet more secular, candidate a chance. I think they might be pleasantly surprised by the result.

  • phil filner

    Concerning the “divorced jewish billionaire”, Michael Bloomburg: when a person describes himself as “jewish”, more likely than not, he is describing his ancestry, not his religion.In a sense, all jews, regardless whether they are affiliated with haredi, orthodox, conservative, reform or reconstructionist congregations, or no congregation, are among the most religious people on earth. The practice of the religion of jews consists of striving to adhere to as many as possible of the rules of right living, as given in over 600 commandments and ordinances in the torah. Gradually, over thousands of years, these rules were debated and eventually authoritatively interpreted as applied to everyday life by wise rabbis, then written down in the talmud as case law by which to be guided. These rules and their interpretation are so deeply ingrained in jewish culture and tradition that even non-believers arising in jewish communities adhere to many of the rules without realizing that the rules exist and that by adhering to them, they are being conscientious jews.Michael Bloomberg does not have a God problem. People whose religions require that they have faith in the rightness of their religion’s version of God have the God problem.

  • Viejita del oeste

    tadlad wrote:

  • yoyo

    Terra Gazelle;My parents were indifferent to religion.

  • Bob

    As a former local elected official who doesn’t like anyone wearing their religion on their sleeve, I often wondered what I would say if anyone asked me a questions about my religious beliefs. I would ask them when was the last time they had sex. If I got the answer I expected which would be “What does that have to do with anything?” or the like, I would tell then that they had answered their own question.

  • Mike in Dallas

    I am so SICK of hearing about these “values voters”! What do you have to do to be a “values voter”, believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth? I consider myself a person who votes based on values and I wouldn’t have voted for George W. Bush or his scummy VP if he were running against David Koresh!!! I go to church almost every Sunday, volunteer, pay taxes and support my family and children. What do these fruit loops want now, to ban the Bikini, put some gays in ovens like they did in Auschwitz!!! No wonder religion is getting such a bad name, look at what its noisiest proponents have created in our society, with their nutcase president, who was too timid (and drunk) to fight in Viet Nam, but turns into John Wayne when he gets into the White House, warmongering our country into near-bankruptcy! It is time to put an end to this Republican/conservative/fundamentalist idiocy! Most of the Christians out there in America are not like the nuts that voted in Bush/Cheney and his extremist agenda!

  • Outsider

    Anybody that can run New York is more that qualified to become president. I don’t care what religion,if any, this person would practice.

  • Bruce Hunt

    So Mike Bloomberg says he’s a ““short, Jewish divorced billionaire” and Jacques Berlinerblau takes this as some big profession of faith? There are lots of Jewish atheists and agnostics in the world. Whether Bloomberg is one of them is neither here nor there, but when he describes himself as Jewish, I take him to be referring to his ethnicity, not necessarily his religious beliefs, whatever those may be. This whole posting strikes me as having very little real content.

  • ANetliner

    The only thing sadder than Jacques Berlinerblau’s unfortunate post is the possibility that he might be correct. So sad that “values” may be viewed so narrowly by some voters in the United States and that a talented mayor and businessman like Michael Bloomberg could be viewed negatively because of his religious affiliation. Reform Judaism, Unitarianism and secular humanism produce as many principled and talented people as the evangelical Protestant denominations, and it is very sad that Jacques Berlinerblau’s post did not make this point forcefully.

  • ReginaldSkeptic

    It is so offensive that this question is even being discussed. Mr. Bloomberg should be entitled to answer “None of your damn business” to any questions about his religion beliefs, without it harming his standing to be president.Jefferson, Madison, Adams, and Franklin would all be appalled.

  • Ba’al

    …or a Catholic like Rudy Giuliani, you sincerely hope the answer is “(b).” Do you think they will ignore his openly adulterous relationships and multiple divorces, and the fact that his own children don’t support him? Actually, you are right, they probably will.Personally, I am more concerned with his business relationships with corrupt buffoons like Bernie Kerik, his decision to place the security nerve center of New York City in the World Trade Center, and the fact that everything he says about Iraq is pathologically incoherent.

  • Andy

    The premise in your final sentence is flawed. You question “who will teach [Conservative Christian voters] that there is no correlation between one’s private faith and one’s ability to effectively lead the public?” You are mistaken in your assertion that there is no correlation. The truth is that the triune God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not our elected officials, has authority over nations. As clearly described in the Scriptures, when a nation rejects Him, after He exhausts His patience, He lets that nation go into ruin. Conservative Christian voters want a true follower of this God, not just any god, to be our president.

  • candide

    It is almost unbelievable to note that the basis of Christianity in general and of evangelical Christianity in particular is superstition, ignorance of history, total ignorance of the real Jesus not the Jesus invented by Paul of Tarsus, — in short, Christianity is a hoax and/or a terrible misunderstanding.

  • candide

    It is almost unbelievable to note that the basis of Christianity in general and of evangelical Christianity in particular is superstition, ignorance of history, total ignorance of the real Jesus not the Jesus invented by Paul of Tarsus, — in short, Christianity is a hoax and/or a terrible misunderstanding.

  • M Wilson

    What a clear sign of our society’s immaturity that we “need” politicians to proclaim a religious faith. Why should we? Religious sentiments don’t create effective leaders; intelligence, insight and sensitivity do. That they may be informed in their public activities by personal faith is certainly a possibility, but, really, it’s none of anyone’s business. Is it? Wnat to know what a politician is like? Look at what he or she does.

  • Haley

    Okay, I’ve waited long enough. Either no one has told the well known incident, or the editors here have squashed it…the better to forward his candidacy as the first jewish president.

  • Haley

    Okay, I’ve waited long enough. Either no one has told the well known incident, or the editors here have squashed it…the better to forward his candidacy.

  • Haley

    Okay, I’ve waited long enough. Either no one has told the well known incident, or the editors here have squashed it…the better to forward his candidacy as the first Jewish president.

  • anjel

    Dear Jacques. This is a prime example, of “if you have to ask, you probably won’t understand the answer anyway”. But try. I beg to differ. There is a very necessary correlation between one’s private faith and one’s ability to effectively lead the public. That’s like saying there’s no coorelation between a person trying to fly after completing flight school and one who has never even attended flight school and tries to fly. Who would you trust? Sure, anyone can sit in the pilot’s seat and maybe, by the grace of God (oops..there’s that word again..) try to figure out what to do, but really. Use any debiliting habit of choice, who would you rather have for a pilot..one who had been drinking all night and with a fuzzy head sits down to pilot you to your destination? I mean, he has his credentials to fly. Or, one who, because of the guidance they might receive from their “religion” had maintained their integrity the night before, and sits down with a clear head to get you where you want to go? Yes, I know. One can completely get by without any “religion” but then, would that not default to the worship of self? This debate has gone on for centuries and will go on for centuries more…our time IS NOT IN OUR hands. Wake up America!!

  • Anonymous

    Christ is dead,and has been dead for 2000 years,

  • Seattle

    I believe Bloomberg would have as much a problem with his urban roots when it comes to the “values voters”, as he would with his progressive Judiasm. People are afraid of what they don’t understand/ or don’t live themselves. Rural voters in the “fly-over” states (and, no judgment as I’m a one-time resident and am fond of those states) will have nothing to do with a secular billionaire that goes golfing on exotic islands every other weekend. Too culturally different…forget religion.

  • Paganplace

    Andy: Well, this is an awfully-tidy assertion, isn’t it?”The premise in your final sentence is flawed. You question “who will teach [Conservative Christian voters] that there is no correlation between one’s private faith and one’s ability to effectively lead the public?” You are mistaken in your assertion that there is no correlation. The truth is that the triune God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not our elected officials, has authority over nations. As clearly described in the Scriptures, when a nation rejects Him, after He exhausts His patience, He lets that nation go into ruin. Conservative Christian voters want a true follower of this God, not just any god, to be our president.”Well, you could conceivably say this about *any* God. When things are going well, claim it’s because of good piety, don’t question the people who claim the authority of said God… When they manage things badly on basis of this ‘faith’ and people start wanting better of government, say ‘impiety threatens us,’ then when things get even worse, start saying what the publicly-pious people responsible did isn’t the cause: it’s the wrath of the God they claimed all along because someone dissented. How very tidy. But it’s not logically-supportable. Religiosity does not mean good policy, and certainly doesn’t serve the public good. Consciousness and skill in dealing with the public good serves the public good. Needing to fall back on religiosity to defend a policy is a sure sign it’s not a rationally-defensible one. Look at who the publicly-pious and deeply corrupt GOP have ended up serving. Not the poor, certainly, …they in fact call this idea ‘Godless liberalism.’ Personally, I think a candidate who is a *good leader and manager* who *is* uncomfortable with putting their personal religious belief out there, rather than the substance of the matter, is more in the spirit of American democracy, if not even the religion of a Jesus who *denounced* public protestations of piety.

  • Mike

    This whole argument is absurd. Rudy has very liberal leanings and has intentionally kept his religious beleifs vague. Polls demonstrate that Rudy’s strongest support is among evangelical Christians. Conservatives care less about what religion a politician is and more about whether he respects tradional values and eschews moral relativism.The only religious bias I see is liberals with their shallow and bigoted views of what “conservatives” think.

  • Russell D.

    Peacetroll:Ok…..I may not believe in Christ or God, but right now, I’d be safe to say that I am more Christ-like than you are. We could ask the other people to vote on it. What do you say? Afraid you might not come out so shiny? And BTW, if Christ is your only hope, then you have no hope. When life is tough, Christ doesn’t pull you out of it. You do.

  • Mike

    Russel D and Peacetroll demonstrate that religious intolerance is popular with both liberals and conservatives. Both think the other is a bad person because they dont share their enlightened views as to the true nature of the universe.It’s not a liberal/conservative thing. It is a tolerant/intolerant thing.

  • Russell D.

    Mike:I don’t think Peacetroll is a bad person. She’s just acting mean. That’s all. She’s entitled to her opinion, but I am just willing to bet she doesn’t come out as high and mighty as she seems to think she is.

  • kimmy

    God? Is that his first name or his last name?

  • Debra Eichenbaum

    In a recent posting on Newsweek’s blog On Faith, Jacques Berlinerblau speaks of Reform Judaism and Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s association with it in a dismissive tone, classifying Reform Judaism as a “secularized religion”. As a deeply committed Reform Jew myself, I find this statement, and in fact his posting as a whole which attacks Bloomberg’s religions preferences as a Reform Jew, to be deeply offensive.What exactly is Berlinerblau insinuating by classifying Reform Judaism as a “secularized religion”? Granted, Berlinerblau offers no definitive meaning, but to me I interpret such a statement to mean that he considers Reform Judaism a non-religion. If this is what he is claiming, then there are over 1.5 million Reform Jews in America that I believe would argue to the contrary. Reform Judaism is in fact the largest and fastest growing segment of the Jewish population in America and consists of deeply committed Jews. It is a vibrant community that Berlinerblau is right to claim emphasizes gimiulut chasadim or the pursuit of social justice; however he fails to mention that we are equally committed to torah and avodah – lifelong Jewish learning and the worship of God. Such an omission is a failure to understand Reform Judaism at its most basic level – as a religion. A religion that has 3 seminaries, over 900 congregations, over 1800 Rabbis, and countless Cantors and Jewish Educators. To claim that this is a community of atheists is to insult all of these institutions and to insult Reform Jews as a whole.I would urge Berlinerblau to learn more about Reform Judaism and the practices of Reform Jews prior to offering a degrading evaluation of it, and its institutions, as a non-religion.-Debra Eichenbaum

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