Thank you for your informational article about the special election in the 18th Congressional District (“Special election in District 18 has whole country watching,” March 2). The most interesting part of the article, though, is what was not written.
You report on candidate fund raising and spending. But the idea that it’s important which candidate is spending more money to influence our votes is itself troubling. A couple weeks ago, the Republican Jewish Coalition was calling synagogues asking to arrange a “meet and greet” with Rick Saccone on Shabbat. I don’t think that sort of politicking in a shul would be kosher. But I would have liked to ask the RJC about its support of Saccone.
I learned a lot about the Christian nation movement when I came up against Saccone a few years ago. The movement has been sweeping the country since the 1950s, but it has recently increased in fervor, spurred by fear of immigrants and a kind of distasteful xenophobia.
Proponents legislate based on religious tenets. Blue laws, for instance, come back into vogue, while municipalities and counties pass anti-Sharia laws. They legislate in Christianity, while they legislate out anything else.
As an example of this mindset, Saccone was the author of a resolution declaring 2012 the “Year of the Bible.” It passed. The year before, he cosponsored House Bill 2029, which was essentially the anti-Sharia law that statehouses tried to pass around the country.
When I first met him, Saccone was pushing one of the Christian nation foot-in-the-door initiatives: getting public buildings, including schools, to post “In God We Trust” on the walls. He was spending months of his full-time taxpayer-funded job in the state House crisscrossing the state pushing for these signs. He tried to bring a sign to Allegheny County Council, sponsored there by Councilwoman Sue Means, and Saccone thought it would be a stealthy no-brainer just to get the sign hung up as he’d done in other localities.
Saccone pushes his own religion as if it were the very basis of all of our civil laws, as if all law comes from the Christian Bible. Do Jews support this brand of exclusionism? Should we support it?
Audrey N. Glickman