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Ohio Declared a “No-Sleaze” Zone for Election Year

November 8, 2007

Columbus, OH – A year before Election Day, Ohio religious leaders have a simple message for candidates: Keep it clean. Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders have joined to release a petition today declaring Ohio a "Political No-Sleaze Zone," and they want candidates to sign on.

Rabbi Richard Bloch with Cleveland's Temple Tifereth Israel, says things got ugly in Ohio in the last presidential election and in the campaign for governor, with more focus on dirty campaigning and attack ads than on real talk about the issues affecting the state. He says that makes it hard for voters to make informed decisions.

"What we're really concerned about is democracy itself. It becomes cheapened and dysfunctional when political campaigns are not based on issues, but based on accusations and inflammatory advertising."

The Reverend Tim Ahrens with the United Church of Christ, in Columbus, says faith leaders have a moral obligation to hold campaigns to higher standards. He says dirty political campaigns send a bad message to kids, and by the time they reach voting age, they're already turned off by the political process.

"The older they get, the more cynical they become about politics, and the translation of that is they become cynical about democracy itself."

The No-Sleaze effort is being organized by the group We Believe Ohio, an interfaith coalition of religious leaders.



Rob Ferrett/John Robinson, Public News Service - OH