Religion has no place in political campaigns

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I fail to understand the brouhaha over the candidacy of Jeff Gottlieb in the 6th Congressional District, claiming it is a ploy to deprive candidate state Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) of the “Jewish vote” (“Lancman calls Gottlieb ‘hack’ in primary run,” Flushing Times, April 12-18).

The criteria for one seeking public office is intelligence, honesty and a commitment to seek and support legislation that serves the needs and the interests of all the people and not just the few with political and financial connections. Excluded are the person’s religion, those who wear religion on their sleeves and those who pander to a specific religious group and violate the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state by seeking legislation that infuses their religious beliefs.

A claim Jews will only vote for a Jewish candidate is demeaning and an insult to the Jews who support a candidate based upon his or her merits and not religious persuasion. I wish Lancman luck, but suggest he focus on important issues he will face and not on religion.

Gottlieb has spent decades toiling for the Queens Democratic Party without ever being nominated for elective office by the party bosses. The Queens Democratic Party leadership, far from being anywhere within the realm of a democracy, and I say this as a lifelong registered Democrat, is known together with boss politics in the boroughs as the nepotism capital.

Primaries are expensive and rare and the boss selection gets the nod. The nod is often the wife or son of an official retiring or seeking another office.

Gottlieb was never genealogically qualified as a member of the nepotism club. If he wishes to seek office, as does Lancman, they should be judged on their merits, not their religion.

Benjamin M. Haber


Posted 12:00 am, May 15, 2012
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