The Political and Religious Spheres

At U.S. News and World Report’s God & Country blog, Dan Gilgoff asks Eric Cantor, the newly elected Minority Whip – and the only Jewish Republican in the House,”How does your faith influence your politics and positions?” Cantor’s response isn’t very specific:

I grew up in a kosher home, attended Hebrew schools on a regular basis growing up. I sent my kids to Hebrew day school when they were younger. Obviously, my faith is part of who I am. It would tend to color my being. I don’t feel like I necessarily apply that faith in any direct way. I’m sure it does manifest itself so far as my perceptions and my views and how I work on legislation. But I can’t come up with a way that says it dictates my position one way or the other. There isn’t a monolithic Jewish position on anything.

So Gilgoff tries again: “For many conservative Christians, their pro-life stance is a direct result of their faith. Is your pro-life stance a result of your Jewish faith?” And, again, Cantor is cautious:

You can find many rabbis that differ on the question of when life begins. I don’t think there’s a monolithic position. That’s one of the things about the Jewish faith . . . there is a multitude of opinions. Our faith has been about discourse, it’s been about interpreting the texts for thousand of years. . . . It’s my belief that dictates where I come down on certain issues.

Gilgoff would later write, “when Cantor came up empty when I asked for an example of his faith shaping a policy position, and when he said that ‘there isn’t a monolithic Jewish position on anything’ in response to a question on abortion, it struck me how starkly such views differ from those of the conservative Christian activists whom Cantor-a social conservative-comes into frequent contact with.”

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The Political and Religious Spheres

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