Till now I have liked Ted Cruz. I admit it. That being said, I haven’t said I am voting for him nor am I openly supporting him at this time. Having gone over this in my mind many times, I finally came to the realization of what it is about Senator Cruz that holds me back. The issue for me is as follow. Would he be a president for all of the people or just his people? Who do I have to thank for opening my eyes to what is bothering me about the Republican Senator from Texas? Of all people, the Pope.
As I read that the Pope issued a statement alluding to his approval of contraception to prevent the Zika virus, a stance I would applaud, I immediately asked myself what I would expect to be the most obvious question to everyone. Why have I not heard the same implication from the Pope that contraception is OK in the prevention of AIDS? When asked about it in November the Pope said the following:
“seems too small, partial, when there are bigger issues confronting humanity. I don’t like getting into questions or reflections that are so technical when people die because they don’t have water or food or housing”.
Delving deeper into this I found that the Pope has previously shown a predisposition to the use of contraception to prevent diseases in general, and the Pope’s comments about people not having water, food or housing were made after a trip to Africa, so any thought I would have that the Pope does not care about one group of people as much as he does about another would be unfair. Nevertheless it did make me think. In attacking Trump for his proposal to build a wall I could not help but at least consider that this Argentinian Pope was somewhat more connected to the plight of some over others. Again, to be fair, I am stopping very short of accusing the Pope of putting importance on one group over another, but as I said earlier, what this did do was make me realize why I am not prepared to put my support behind Ted Cruz. Simply put, I have serious questions as to whether or not he would be a president for all Americans.
For at least a year I have said that my next vote for president would be for the candidate I felt would be best for Israel and strongest on foreign affairs. Ted Cruz was a staunch supporter of Israel long before he declared his candidacy and has been a friend of the Jewish state loudly and without apology. He is aggressively against the deal with Iran and is very vocal about the need for identifying and going after Islamic terrorists. For all these reasons I do like Ted Cruz. However, the more I hear him speak, the more I believe his religious conviction is so strong that people with socially liberal ideas like me, people with what he in a disparaging tone referred to as people with “New York values” would not be in line with how he would run the country.
I am all for people having religious devotion. I have tremendous respect for other’s beliefs and have many friends who are devout Christians; some of whom will no doubt read this but also know that I have nothing but respect for how they choose to worship. No matter how strong someone’s faith is, regardless of what religion, if it is without prejudice and violence I respect and admire it. That being said, as a Jewish man I know I won’t be comfortable if an address from the Oval Office includes references to the importance of Christian values and a shout out to the Lord and savior. I may call Bernie Sanders out for what I perceive as a lack of pride in being Jewish, but that does not mean, should he become president, that I would want him to tell the people of the country that they should atone for their sins if he speaks to the nation between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
My issue is not about religious liberty. Senator Cruz is correct about religious liberty being a vital part of our free society and I guess I feel somewhat more included when he speaks of Judeo-Christian values. However, that does not mean we should do away with the principal of separation of church and state, a concept at the very foundation of what makes America great. The day we have a president of any faith that feels his way of living is the only correct way is the day this country loses its status as the greatest country in existence. The very greatness of the United States of America is in the name itself. It is a united group of people from all over the world with different ideas, beliefs and ways of life. As long as freedom continues to be a prerequisite, America should continue to be defined by different people with different ideas and different backgrounds living together to create a great society.
For the record, this viewpoint of mine is nothing revolutionary. There’s a term for thinking this way. It’s called New York values.
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