Church and state: Moral high ground can sink to exclusion

by Kip Tabb  |  published on October 29, 2014

I am Jewish. I am not, by any means, some form of ultra-orthodox Jew. In fact, I doubt if I would even qualify to be identified with the Reform movement. I am uncomfortable with organized services and organized religion.

Nonetheless, I am proud of my heritage, proud of my religion and take comfort in the knowledge that it is part of me.

It is important to know this because it helps in understanding the feelings I experienced when I met a local candidate for office.

Her campaign signs line the road: “Conservative, Christian,” they declare at the bottom.

Conservative is not a pejorative or exclusionary. Its meaning has been usurped by a political process, but it does not automatically denigrate the feelings or beliefs of others.

Whether it is in a stump speech or a sign by the side of the road, running on a platform of self-declared Christianity — or any self-declared religion as a qualifying criteria for public office — does.

Being approached by that candidate in a public setting where I had no opportunity to express my dismay left me feeling angry, hurt and furious that I did not have the courage to speak out.