Jews Support Secular State, Study Finds

July 22, 2000

Source: The Plain Dealer

On July 22, 2000, The Plain Dealer published an article about a recent survey of American Jews. The study found that despite "what appears to be a growing inclination among many religious groups, politicians and judges to chip away at the wall that separates church and state, American Jews remain staunchly opposed to any mixing of religion and public life." "'Jews are more secure when society is more overtly secular,' said Alan Mittleman, director of the "Jews and the Public Square" project, one of seven surveys funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts examining the contemporary role of religious groups in the United States." The study also found that Jews are far more liberal than members of other religious groups on issues surrounding sexual morality. "Jews take a less critical view of homosexuality, abortion, birth control and pornography than do Gentiles," the study found. Another of the study's findings is that "findings on church-state separation could have important bearing on the Jewish role in the debate over school vouchers. As the number of children in Jewish day schools has skyrocketed, some Jewish policy makers have suggested that the community supports the use of vouchers, but the survey suggests that Jewish reluctance to support such a step runs deep... Jewish support for church-state driven by concerns that a greater presence of religion in the public sphere means a greater presence of Christianity."