Saturday, December 12, 2009

Connecticut Jewish Community At Odds With Lieberman On Public Option

Senator Joe Lieberman's (I-CT) opposition to a public health care option runs counter to the wishes of the citizens of Connecticut in general and to the state's Jewish community in particular, according to The Forward. From "A Senator at Odds With His Constituents–And Some Say, His Faith":

“Health care reform is the key moral issue facing the country right now,” said one of those critics, Rabbi Charles Arian of Beth Jacob Synagogue in Norwich, Conn. “I will be personally disappointed if it stops dead in its tracks because Senator Lieberman invokes a filibuster.”

Lieberman’s threat is being met with harsh criticism within the Jewish community in Connecticut, where public-opinion surveys show that strong general majorities support a government-sponsored insurance option.

Lieberman is viewed as living a contradiction: a man of faith obstructing the extension of health care for all:

Arian stressed that he does not expect Lieberman to represent the views of only the Jewish community — “just as I wouldn’t want a bishop to tell a Catholic congressman how to vote.” But he said it was Lieberman who has often “put himself out there” as representing religious values.

...Rabbi Ron Fish from Congregation Beth El, a Conservative synagogue in Norwalk, decided to write an open letter to the senator. “For him to say that the public option is weighing on his conscience is a misuse of the term ‘conscience,’” Fish said.

Seventy clergy from different faiths have signed Fish’s letter, which states that “anyone who argues that faith and religious tradition should direct our actions, such a person must stand for universal healthcare in America.” Fish and other co-signers joined some 500 other Connecticut residents for a November 15 prayer vigil outside Lieberman’s apartment building in Stamford. “Because he invokes his Jewish identity and Jewish values so frequently, we, as a community, should speak to what he is saying,” Fish said.

At an interfaith vigil for health care reform in Stamford High School on November 15th, Rabbi Fish questioned how Lieberman can claim to act out of conscience:

No comments: