ADL Letter to Eight Presidential Candidates
10 Frequently Asked Questions About Religion and Politics

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The folowing letter was sent on December 20, 1999 to each of the eight candidates then seeking the Democratic and Republican party nominations for president: Bill Bradley, Al Gore, Gary Bauer, George W. Bush, Steve Forbes, Orrin G. Hatch, Alan Keyes and John McCain 

December 20, 1999

Dear _____________

We are writing to all major party Presidential candidates to address a concern which has emerged in the 2000 Presidential campaign. Our concern relates to the appropriate role of religion and attestations of religious faith in the political election  process.

As an organization rooted in the Jewish community, the Anti-Defamation League clearly supports and respects the right of any candidate for public office to believe and to worship as he or she chooses. Freedom of religion is one of our nation's most cherished liberties, and safeguarding that freedom is one of ADL's highest priorities.

Candidates should feel comfortable explaining their religious convictions to voters. At the same time, however, we believe there is a point at which an emphasis on religion in a political campaign becomes inappropriate and even unsettling in a religiously diverse society such as ours.

We feel very strongly, and we hope you would agree, that appealing to voters along religious lines is contrary to the American ideal. Voters should be encouraged to make their decisions based upon their assessment of the qualifications and political positions of candidates, not their religiosity. Furthermore, voters should not be made to feel inferior, or left out of the process, because they are in a religious minority.

As the current campaign unfolds, we urge each of you to keep this in mind. Anyone who legitimately aspires to the Presidency of the United States must be prepared to set an example and to be a leader for all Americans, of all faiths. Public profession of religious beliefs should not become an elemental part of our political campaigns.



Howard P. Berkowitz
National Chairman
Abraham H. Foxman
National Director

ADL Press Release to this Letter

ADL to Presidential Candidates: Keep Emphasis
on Religion Out of Campaign

2000 Anti-Defamation League