February 24, 2012
I am writing in response to the editorial “Faith and compromise” (Feb. 16), which urges Catholic leaders to compromise on the issue of federally mandated insurance coverage for family planning services.
While I strongly believe in a woman’s right to choose, I find the editorial and the decision by editor in chief Andrew Silow-Carroll to publish it inconsistent with the stated purpose of the New Jersey Jewish News and, more importantly, damaging to the goals of the United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ, which owns the newspaper.
First, correctly or not, the paper is perceived as the voice of the federation and its editorials are often viewed as the position of the community. In this season of heightened political awareness and sensitivity, this editorial has surely offended at least some key stakeholders upon whom we depend for financial support. Our community, like the rest of our country, is divided politically. When you are seen as advancing a particular political agenda — Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative — you are being divisive and inhibiting the work of the federation, which cannot succeed without broad support from individuals with a wide range of political views.
Second, the reasoning of the editorial is at best questionable. While I do not share the view of the Catholic Church, one cannot logically ask leaders of a religion who deeply believe that preventing conception is wrong to compromise their basic values. Do you, as a voice of the Jewish community, have the right to challenge the reasonableness of a position based on a matter of faith? How would we feel if the Catholic Church asked us to compromise on issues of kashrut?
Third, you likely offended any Catholic leaders who might have read your editorial. Yes, this is important. We have worked hard over many years to build bridges with local Catholic leaders to advance a wide range of issues that concern our Jewish community. The views of the newspaper staff should not and cannot supersede the interests of the community.
There are consequences to the editorials that may adversely affect the ability of federation to provide services to Jews here in MetroWest, in Israel, and throughout the world. New Jersey Jewish News plays a key role, which requires far more sensitivity than its editor and this editorial have shown.