Jewish Journal


September 9, 2008

Republican Jew takes issue with his party’s politics and a ‘no Jews’ policy



David Benkof, a Ph.D. student in American Jewish history at New York University, belongs to the not-as-tiny-as-you-would-think family of Republican Jews.

“I believe in free enterprise, traditional family values and people’s basic liberties as guaranteed by the text of the Constitution,” Benkof writes in The Black Hills Pioneer. “But sometimes my fellow conservatives and Republicans say and do things that I find so objectionable that I wonder if I’m on the wrong side.”

That list includes positions on guns, marijuana, ethanol, the treatment of transgender and marriage and discrimination, which he says Proposition 8, the California ballot measure to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage, well, has married on the campaign trail. He explains:

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, so I supported the man-woman marriage Proposition 8 in California—until I discovered the Proposition 8 campaign tolerates discrimination against Jews. ProtectMarriage.com’s legal counsel, the Alliance Defense Fund, has in effect a “No Jews Need Apply” policy for legal and even secretarial positions. They say they’re not a law firm, they’re a “ministry” and thus have a right to discriminate against Jews and other non-Christians. But even if that’s true, Proposition 8 had hundreds of law firms to choose from. The fact they chose one that refuses to hire a Jew like me is very disturbing. Interestingly, Jesus himself was a Jew, so when a group has a policy that would lead them to refuse to hire their own Messiah, you know something’s seriously wrong.

I agree with Benkof that ProtectMarriage.com made a misstep by hiring the Alliance Defense Fund. That move made it clear that Prop 8 was about religion. But it doesn’t surprise, or bother, me that the ADF, which has bills itself as an ACLU for conservative Christians, would only want to hire fellow travelers. Of course many faith-based organization employ followers of other religions—I work for one—but there is no constitutional expectation that they do so.

(Thanks for the link, Web Guy)

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