To the Editor:

To say, as James Kirchick did (“The candidate who happens to be Jewish,” 1/14), that Joseph Lieberman’s faith should not and will not be an issue in his bid for the presidency is to ignore the words coming repeatedly from Lieberman’s mouth.

Yesterday, in his short speech announcing his candidacy at Stamford High School, Lieberman said that his faith would not be the center of his candidacy but that he will “not hesitate to talk about faith when it’s relevant, or to invoke God’s name when it comes naturally out of me, because I think that’s what America is about.”

As a Jewish Democrat I do not support Lieberman’s bid for the presidency. It is not because I am concerned about anti-Semitism at home: Yes, Americans might elect a Jewish president. I am also not concerned by Lieberman’s relationship to Israel: It is unlikely that he would do very much differently than Bush. Kirchick’s final argument is a bit absurd. I find it highly unlikely that any American would refuse to elect a Jewish president to avoid angering Islamist terrorists.

I dislike Lieberman not because of his specific faith, but because of his general expression of its centrality to this nation. I cannot support a candidate who wants to out-religious the religious right. This nation is built on the separation of church and state and the acceptance of all faiths and levels of observance. Faith and God’s name are not what America is about and I refuse to vote for any candidate of any religion who believes otherwise.

Joel Flaxman ’03

January 14, 2002