October 1, 2007 – New York – The American Jewish Committee is deeply troubled by Senator John McCain’s declaration, in an interview with Beliefnet, that “the United States is a Christian nation.”
"We urge Senator McCain to withdraw his troubling remarks,” said Jeffrey Sinensky, AJC’s general counsel. "Our individual rights cannot be secured if the government promotes one religion over others.”
Sinensky noted that the Founding Fathers created a government free of religious ties because they knew all too well about the dangers of a church-state union. “It is no accident that the Constitution explicitly seeks to avoid favoring religion, much less a particular faith,” Sinensky said.
In the Beliefnet interview McCain expressed reservations about a Moslem candidate running for U.S. president. When voting for a candidate, McCain said, "I prefer someone who I know has a solid grounding in my faith" since "the Constitution established the United States as a Christian nation."
“Senator McCain should recognize that America is a democratic and pluralistic society where there is no religious test for public office, said Sinensky. “To argue that America is a Christian nation, or that persons of a particular faith should by reason of their faith not seek high office, puts the very character of our country at stake."