'Don't flaunt religion,' Lieberman warned

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The Independent US

Joseph Lieberman, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate and an Orthodox Jew, has been warned not to flaunt his faith on the campaign trail after he called for religion to play a greater part in American life.

Joseph Lieberman, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate and an Orthodox Jew, has been warned not to flaunt his faith on the campaign trail after he called for religion to play a greater part in American life.

The warning came in a letter from the influential Anti-Defamation League, which was set up in the last century to fight anti-Semitism and other bigotry.

The ADL told Mr Lieberman that "appealing to voters along religious lines is contrary to the American ideal". While "candidates should feel comfortable explaining their religious convictions to voters ... we believe there is a point at which the emphasis on religion in a political campaign becomes inappropriate and even unsettling in a religiously diverse society."

Mr Lieberman has a habit - for which he was also known in the Senate - of quoting from the Old Testament. While this has so far endeared him to audiences, Jewish and non-Jewish, who regard sincere faith as an electoral asset, it has divided the Jewish establishment.

While many hailed his selection as a notable advance for Jews in the United States, some fear his prominence could set back the Jewish cause by drawing attention to their success. The ADL's letter, which stresses the constitutional separation of religion and state, reflects that view. The ADL also warned George W Bush and Al Gore when they appeared to present their Christianity as a political asset.

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