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Old 09-02-2004, 01:07 PM   #1
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Jewish Groups Irked by Cross on Republican Podium

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...ign_pulpits_dc

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Jewish Groups Irked by Cross on Republican Podium

Wed Sep 1, 6:39 PM ET

By Mark Egan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Speakers at this week's Republican convention make their remarks at a wooden podium that some Jewish groups find offensive because its decorative panels appear to form the shape of a Christian cross.

A cross is even more visible in a waist-high gavel stand adjacent to the podium, leading some to question whether the party is trying to send a subtle message to its base among conservative Christians.

"It is the very height of insensitivity for the Republican Party to feature a cross at the center of the podium of this convention," Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said in a statement.

"This wooden cross must be at least three feet (one meter) tall, and it sends a signal of exclusivity loudly and clearly."

Two other Jewish groups interviewed by Reuters expressed similar sentiments.

A convention spokesman declined to comment about the podium flap, telling reporters he did not understand why people were asking questions on the issue.

President Bush (news - web sites)'s chief political strategist, Karl Rove, told CNN he did not think the podium's decorative woodwork looked like a cross.

"My God, where do they come up with this stuff?" he said. "Does it look to you like it's a cross? I don't think so."

The hall at the convention, where Bush on Thursday will accept the Republican nomination to a second White House term, is sparse.

Its three main components are a billowing stretch of red, white and blue to symbolize patriotism and the American flag, a New York skyline devoid of the World Trade Center, destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and the church-like podium.

Beside the podium is the gavel stand constructed of wood panels, with lighter shades in the center in the shape of a cross -- the Christian symbol of the crucifixion of Jesus.

CHURCH AND STATE

"I'm a Roman Catholic myself, but I continue to be amazed about the inappropriate dissolution of the line between church and state," said Village Voice media critic Michael Musto, adding that he saw the cross as a "subliminal nod to the religious right."

Separation of church and state is a key issue for U.S. Jewish voters and among the reasons why they typically vote for Democrats. Bush, who will accept the nomination as the Republican presidential candidate on Thursday, refers regularly to God and his religion in his speeches.

With Bush neck-and-neck with his Democratic opponent Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites) of Massachusetts, Republicans are keen to mobilize the religious right to vote for the Texan.

In the 2000 election against Al Gore (news - web sites), Bush took about one fifth of Jewish votes. But despite irritation among some Jews about the symbolism at the convention, his support among Jews could rise to about one third in November's election, said David Twersky, director of international affairs at the American Jewish Congress.

That increased Jewish vote will come from Bush's tough stand on terrorism, his assertion of Israel's right to defend itself and because his road map for Middle East peace demands that Palestinians must stop attacks on Israel, he said.

Twersky said that whether or not the image of a cross on the stage was a message to the religious right, much clearer signals were delivered by speakers at the podium.

"When Laura Bush said (the president) doesn't change his friends or his values and there was a thunderous roar from the delegates, that was a message that the president is with the Christian right on abortion and other issues," he said.


I have to say I agree with Rove on this one. I mean, that is clearly a lower-case letter t.
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Old 09-02-2004, 02:08 PM   #2
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This sounds like a manufactured story. Go to groups, suggest that the podium is a cross and get their reponse.

I can't imagine how the podium is viewed as "establishment of religion".
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Old 09-02-2004, 02:19 PM   #3
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Wow.

This gets my vote for saddest story of the month! If I found this story on theonion.com I would think it's hilarious, but to actually be real? I'm speechless. Political correctness is out of control.
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Old 09-02-2004, 02:54 PM   #4
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Oh boy

I think I saw the reflection of Satan when Cheney was there, but that one might be true
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Old 09-02-2004, 10:28 PM   #5
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Mrs. Springsteen - that made me giggle!

But seriously, if you read so much into something, if you go hunting for it, it's likely you can find it just about anywhere.

I noticed the "cross" too and personally, meh. I'm not that sensitive. But there is a small part of me that feels this could have been somewhat intentional, or maybe subliminal but I'd hardly call this an establishment of religion. But that's just me. Now if the President started spouting off scripture or reciting Revelations, then I'd be a lot more .

If the strategic placement of the paler wood against the darker grain were intentional, I'd give the visual presentation an a+ in the subliminal department.
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Old 09-02-2004, 10:42 PM   #6
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I've always wondered what those little panes of glass are there for...glare?

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Old 09-02-2004, 11:18 PM   #7
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That's not a cross. It's an image and some people have to gripe to have a life.
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Old 09-02-2004, 11:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by DaveC
I've always wondered what those little panes of glass are there for...glare?

Teleprompters
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Old 09-02-2004, 11:47 PM   #9
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That's not a teleprompter. Teleprompters are on the cameras.

Besides, how would you read something off that?
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Old 09-02-2004, 11:52 PM   #10
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They are teleprompters. The words are projected onto the glass from below, and the angle and one-way reflectiveness of the glass keeps the words from being seen on camera. Trust me on this one.
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Old 09-02-2004, 11:56 PM   #11
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Still, they're below his eye level...he'd have to stoop to read it.
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Old 09-03-2004, 01:16 AM   #12
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Remember, the audience is slightly below eye level. The teleprompters are set so you can "looK" at your audience while you follow the script of your speech.
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Old 09-03-2004, 04:40 AM   #13
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I think this cross-like symbol is a neat idea, it somehow spreads this feeling of "trust me, i'm telling the truth"
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Old 09-03-2004, 07:54 AM   #14
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ok you can vote for Kerry

but dont come up with silly things
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Old 09-03-2004, 08:21 AM   #15
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I won't vote for Kerry
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