ADL to Presidential Candidates:
Keep Emphasis on Religion Out of Campaign
New York, NY, December 20, 1999 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL),
concerned about a growing emphasis on religion in the presidential race, today
called on all candidates seeking the Democratic and Republican nominations to
bear in mind that "appealing to voters along religious lines is contrary to
the American ideal."
"Candidates should feel comfortable explaining their religious
convictions to voters," said Howard P. Berkowitz, ADL National Chairman,
and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "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."
Those remarks were part of a letter sent to each of the eight candidates
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
"Public profession of religious beliefs should not become an elemental
part of our political campaigns," said Mr. Berkowitz and Mr. Foxman.
"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 the 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."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.