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Lieberman: Modern Pharisee
Posted By Linda Bowles On 08/15/2000 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
As the Democratic National Convention unfolds, the real question is
this: Can a solitary Jew named Joe save the Democratic Party from its
own bad self?
Gore’s gamble in picking Joe Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew, as his
running mate was based on a realistic assessment. All the signs were
there that a significant number of Democrats were prepared to assuage
troubled consciences by voting for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, or
not voting at all.
Democratic leaders realized that to salvage a looming defeat of
landslide proportions at the ballot box, they had to do something
drastic to change the image of the Democratic Party from one tracking
full throttle toward secular hedonism, into one that espoused family
values and moral standards.
The Gore strategists were perplexed. How do you introduce
religious-based virtue into a party, a majority of whose members live in
deadly fear that the religious right is heaven bent on imposing goodness
upon them and destroying their lives?
How do you introduce family values as a campaign theme into a
political party which: opposes the right of mothers and fathers to
choose the schools their kids go to, supports the right to kill a viable
baby inches away from full birth, denies that parents have a right to
know the government has arranged for their 14-year-old to have an
abortion, denies that a father has a say in the abortion of his own
child, believes that the Boy Scouts of America should be forced to
accept proud and practicing homosexual scoutmasters as role models for
young boys, takes millions of dollars in contributions from the smut
peddlers and pornographers who infest the entertainment industry, and
opposes the abolishment of a tax that penalizes people for getting
Then, at a critical juncture when all seemed lost, there being no way
out, one of Gore’s advisers had an epiphany. He said that the selection
of Joe Lieberman was the perfect way to smuggle religion into the
He was right. No Christian candidate for vice president could get
away with praising God out loud, but an Orthodox Jew could. In one of
his first public appearances after being selected as Gore’s running
mate, Lieberman referred to God 13 times during the first 90 seconds of
his speech. He prayed and said it was a divine miracle that brought him
to this place in his career.
Who can say it was not a miracle? Who can say this was not God’s way
of getting His divine toe into the heathen tent?
While Lieberman has the reputation of being a very moral and
principled man, and while he is referred to as “the conscience of the
Senate,” a closer look reveals that he does not have some of the moral
baggage that would disqualify him as a good Democrat.
As an observant Orthodox Jew, Lieberman scrupulously follows the
tenets of fundamental Judaism as set forth in the Torah and the Old
Testament. For example, so dedicated is Lieberman to unwavering
compliance with his faith that from sundown on Friday evening to sundown
on Saturday evening, he does not work, drive a car, click a light
switch, or answer the telephone.
However, although Lieberman meticulously observes every religious
ritual and every jot and tittle of his faith’s protocols, he strangely
parts company with the majority of Orthodox rabbis when it comes to
homosexuality and abortion. Lieberman voted against the ban on that form
of infanticide known as partial-birth abortion, and voted for special
civil rights and unequally superior protections for homosexuals.
Like the Pharisees of old, Lieberman strains at a gnat and swallows a
During a television interview, Larry King asked this question:
“Wouldn’t most Orthodox Jews be pro-life?” Lieberman danced around the
question, and concluded by saying this incredible thing: ” … it’s a
matter of personal judgment. And like everything else in Judaism,
ultimately, it’s up to each of us to decide what we think is right.”
Goodbye, eternal truths that hold a man in place when all about him
are falling away; and hello, moral relativism which allows him to move
or be moved away from political principles and moral convictions. A
broad way is cleared for Gore to do to Lieberman what Clinton did to
In the end, Lieberman will become a sacrificial goat upon whom the
Democrats will pile all their sins and transgressions, and at whose feet
they will lay the blame for their defeat next November.
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