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September 15, 1995 - Image 132

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-09-15

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Join us for a community-wide
Rosh Hashana Service hosted by
Temple Kol Ami

Rabbi Norman T. Roman

Monday, September 25
8:00 p.m.

5085 Walnut Lake Road, West Bloomfield
(1 1 4 miles west of Orchard Lake Road)

Holiday oneg following services
Gates of Repentance prayerbook will be
available, or bring your own

Participating Congregations

Congregation Shir Tikvah
Temple Beth El
Temple Emanu-El
Temple Israel
Temple Kol Ami
Temple Shir Shalom

Adat Shalom Synagogue
Congregation Beth Abraham Hillel Moses
Congregation Beth Achim
Congregation Beth Shalom
Congregation B'nai Moshe
Congregation Shaarey Zedek

Next Singles Shabbat Program:
Friday, October 27, 8:30 p.m. at
Adat Shalom Synagogue,
featuring Rabbi Reuven Hammer

The program is sponsored by the Michigan
Board of Rabbis in cooperation with The
Jewish News. These Rosh Hashana services
are funded by the Max M. Fisher Jewish
Community Foundation of the Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.


Next time you feed
your face.. .

Wish Someone You Love
L'Shanah Tova Tikatevu

A Beautiful Tray Tilled With Special

Candy, Dried Fruits and Nuts.





Outside Of Michigan


Master Card


think about your heart.


American Heart Association


Christian Right Can Be
Dismissed No Longer

Road to Victory is perilous path for Jews.



ast weekend's Road to Victo-
ry conference of the Christ-
ian Coalition was an
effective, carefully orches-
trated display of political power.
The coalition has become a ma-
jor force — possibly the dominant
one — in Republican politics. Its
1.7 million members have demon-
strated an ability to shape the na-
tional agenda as few grass-roots
organizations have before.
But that message has not fully
sunk in for the Democrats and the
Jewish organizations that have
led the fight against the coalition's
legislative agenda.
Both groups still tend to dismiss
the Christian right as fringe play-
ers whose religious radicalism
eventually will puncture the bal-
loon of their newfound political
And Jewish and Democratic
leaders, while pointing to the very
real danger of bigots and extrem-
ists who are riding the Christian
Coalition bandwagon, have failed
to articulate an alternative vision
for America that speaks to the
anxieties and angers that are in-
tensifying this political whirlwind.
Against that backdrop, the
Christian Coalition meetings in
Washington were revealing.
Among the 4,000-plus dele-
gates, the mood was upbeat and
confident. Most of the Republican
congressional leadership showed
up, hats in hands. And all of the
GOP presidential contenders —
with the well-publicized exclusion
of Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., —
were embarrassingly lavish in
their praise of the group.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich
was greeted as a conquering hero;
President Clinton's name was al-
ways accompanied by a kind of
verbal sneer.
The clear emphasis was on
practical politics — coalition build-
ing, working with local officials,
using the Internet, lobbying Con-
gress and working the media.
Gone were the exhibit hall ven-
dors hawking radical causes that
were so visible at previous con-
ferences — there were no T-shirts
with lurid accusations against
President Clinton and his wife.
The most radical organization in
the hall was the National Rifle As-
But the key dogmas of the far-
right faith were not barred from
the proceedings; this was an au-
dience that still could get worked
up about "socialized medicine" in
the form of administration health
care proposals, and speaker after

speaker raged against a govern-
ment they believe is corrupting
America's moral core to enhance
the power of bureaucrats and
Political realism was the over-
arching theme. This is a group
that is beginning to understand
its own power, and is eager for
At past Christian right gather-
ings, my badge identifying me as
a member of the Jewish press sin-
gled me out for a kind of fawning
friendliness that always seemed
to culminate in questions such as
"but do you feel fulfilled as a Jew?"
Not this time around. Members
seem to have decided that they
will win their battles through pol-
ished political advocacy, not reli-
gious proselytizing. And the group
no longer seems to feel compelled
to explain itself to a doubting Jew-
ish community.
The ordinariness of the dele-
gates was surprising. These were
not backwoods ignoramuses, as
some stereotypes would have us
believe, or AK-47 toting believers
in "black helicopters." Mostly, they
seemed like ordinary, well-mean-
ing middle Americans who are ac-
tively organizing around concerns
shared by millions of others.
The fact that the Christian
Coalition's answers are offensive
to most Jews does not alter the
fact that the group has achieved
a political maturity and a grow-
ing mastery of the strategies of
democratic activism, and that it
is fully in sync with the fears and
furies that keep Americans awake
at night.
Jewish leaders correctly point
out that the Christian Coalition
harbors dangerous conspiracy the-
orists, bigots and crackpots. The
Rev. Pat Robertson himself, the
Christian Coalition founder and
chairman, has promoted conspir-
acy theories that are chilling in
their semblance to the paranoid
fantasies that in the past have
proven deadly to Jews.
That makes the recent suc-
cesses of the group in main-
streaming itself all the more
disturbing, since the far-out con-
spiracy mongers are able to hitch
a ride with a group that is re-
defining the American center.
But the Jewish community's fo-
cus on the Reverend Robertson
and his far-out theories, and not
on the political sophistication of
Christian Coalition director Ralph
Reed, adds to our tendency to dis-
miss the group as an aberration;
it makes it easier to underesti-

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