Joe Lieberman’s Old-Time Religion

by | Oct 31, 2000 | Politics

Vice presidential canditate Joseph Lieberman is attracting Christian votes because he talks about God more than your average Democrat.

Regardless of who wins the November election, the Bush-Gore contest will go down in the history books for one thing: the nomination of Joseph Lieberman, the first Jew to run on a major party’s presidential ticket. Religious barriers were shattered in August when the Connecticut senator was tapped to be Gore’s running mate. Another record was broken when Lieberman mentioned God a total of 13 times in his acceptance speech on the steps of the Tennessee Capitol in Nashville.

Sounding like a rabbi as he quoted the Old Testament, Lieberman said his selection by Gore inspired him to “give thanks to God and declare His name and make His acts known to the people.” Since then, Lieberman has thanked God, praised God and honored God so many times in his speeches that his supporters began asking him to tone down the rhetoric. He was starting to sound more like Jerry Falwell than a liberal Democrat.

At a black church in Detroit in August, Lieberman had folks standing in the aisles and shouting amen as he talked about religious freedom and the power of faith. He told worshipers that if elected he would encourage all of God’s people “to study together, to pray together and ultimately to sing together His holy name.”

This is a politician talking? Actually, Lieberman’s conservative critics say that’s the problem. The man sounds like an Orthodox Jew, but his voting record doesn’t always match his religion.

For example, Orthodox Jewish teaching explicitly forbids abortion–yet Lieberman is pro-choice. He says he personally believes that life begins at conception, but he stated on Larry King Live that abortion is “a matter of personal judgment.” He added: “And like everything else in Judaism, ultimately it’s up to each of us to decide what we think is right.”

But that isn’t what Orthodox Jews teach. And Orthodox rabbis were probably squirming when Lieberman’s wife, Hadassah, told Time magazine in August that her faith is of the squishy, relativistic variety. “There are a lot of people,” she said, “who find their centering in various ways. I’m not suggesting that it has to be through God. I’m saying that’s what works for us. And we’ll share that with the whole country.”

In recent years Lieberman has made pious denunciations of Hollywood sleeze and raunchy rap songs–winning Christian support in the process. He also is one of the few Democrats who publicly criticized President Clinton for the Lewinsky affair. Yet when it came time for punishment, Lieberman voted against impeachment–then later in a campaign speech he compared Clinton to Moses.

So, is Lieberman a practicing Jew who takes his faith seriously? Absolutely. He keeps a kosher kitchen and won’t drive a car or use a telephone on the sabbath. On more than one occasion he has walked the two miles from his home in the District of Columbia to the Capitol because he was needed for an important vote on a Saturday.

He has consulted with Orthodox rabbis about how he can fulfill his obligations as vice president without violating Jewish laws. They assured him that it is acceptable for a Jew to work on the sabbath if life is at stake. (If Gore wins the election, however, it is possible that Lieberman will not attend the inauguration since this year’s ceremonies are scheduled on a Saturday.)

Lieberman has Christian friends in Washington, including evangelical Sen. Dan Coates of Indiana and conservative Catholic activist William Bennett. He also has overwhelming support from African American Christians.

On September 21 in Washington, D.C., President Clinton urged a group of Church of God in Christ bishops to elect Gore-Lieberman. The Pentecostal ministers pledged to “continue the Clinton legacy” of helping the black community by backing Gore.

But most Messianic Jews–those who believe in Jesus–aren’t supporting Gore even though they’re happy that a Jewish person is on the Democratic ticket. “We aren’t thrilled with his stand on the issues,” said Robert Cohen, a Messianic rabbi at Congregation Beth Jacob in Jacksonville, Florida.

“Most Messianic Jews are not pro-choice, and we are not in favor of partial-birth abortion,” said Barry Rubin, rabbi at Emmanuel Messianic Congregation in Columbia, Maryland. While he believes Lieberman’s faith is sincere, Rubin told Charisma that he will vote for Bush, adding: “Maybe one day we will have a Messianic Jewish vice president.”

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Have We Departed From the  Simplicity of Christ?

Have We Departed From the Simplicity of Christ?

Recently I heard a pastor say the following: "When I was pastoring and saw little fruit, I began to call those with potential to reach others for Christ to our home and to mentor them one on one. That's where massive growth happened in the people." Local pastors and...

Take the Fight to the Enemy, Before He Strikes at You

Take the Fight to the Enemy, Before He Strikes at You

Read Time: 3 Minutes 7 Seconds “When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek out David; and when David heard of it, he went down to the stronghold,” (2 Sam. 5:17). When David heard that he was under...

Joyce Meyer: Becoming a Prisoner of Hope

Joyce Meyer: Becoming a Prisoner of Hope

Read Time: 3 Minutes 56 Seconds God is good. And He has a good plan for each of our lives. No matter what may be going on right now, God’s plan is unfolding. In the meantime, Romans 12:12 tells us to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer,”...

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Read Time: 2 minutes 26 seconds The term "gaslighting" has gone viral across social media this year and Merriam-Webster chose it as their word-of-the-year, saying searches for the word spiked 1,740% in 2022 alone. We're breaking down what the Bible has to say about...

RECENT ARTICLES

WATCH: Vlad Savchuck: Life, Health and the Bible

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdzLoS3wCM During a recent visit to @HungryGeneration, Pastor Vlad Savchuk asked Bill Wiese to comment on his personal experience applying the Word of God to his own...
Miraculous Divine Intervention Birthed by Thanksgiving and Praise

Miraculous Divine Intervention Birthed by Thanksgiving and Praise

Read Time: 4 Minutes 2 Seconds When I first became a believer in 1970, my mother was one of my first “converts," giving her heart to Jesus as soon as I shared with her the beauty, the power and the opportunity of making Jesus the Lord of her life. However, my father...

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

Read Time: 1 Minute 32 Seconds The last six years have been the best of times and the worst of times. I’ve seen more death, destruction, disease and devastation than I care to remember. I’ve also seen the hand of God move in extraordinary ways. Indeed, sometimes I...

Prophetic Vision: ‘Now is the Time of Your Healing’

Prophetic Vision: ‘Now is the Time of Your Healing’

Read Time: 3 Minutes 41 Seconds I was remembering a time when my husband and I were praying over friends who had been in a situation for many years that had caused deep trauma to their souls. As we were praying for them, I became aware of an angel standing over them...

5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional and Spiritual Health

5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional and Spiritual Health

Read Time: 4 Minutes 50 Seconds Do you believe the Lord is concerned about your emotional and spiritual health? He is. He wants you to know how to improve your emotional and spiritual health to be resilient in turbulent times. One of the most powerful things you can...

Pin It on Pinterest