Allen Answers Religious Question

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

September 19, 2006

A controversy is brewing surrounding Senator George Allen and his family's heritage. Some controversial comments took place at a Senatorial Debate in Fairfax, Virginia. The controversy stems from a question asked during the debate between Senator George Allen and Jim Webb. Allen said his heritage and his family history has no bearing on this case.

"Could you please tell us whether your fore-bearers include Jews and if so, at which point, Jewish identity might have ended?" asked WUSA-TV Reporter Peggy Fox.

It was that question that has Senator George Allen's camp steaming. During a televised debate in Fairfax County yesterday, Fox asked Allen about his heritage and whether or not his grandfather was Jewish. The question was met with hostility from both the crowd and Allen himself.

"You know what? I'm glad you had that reaction," Allen said to the crowd. "Do you know what the first freedom in our country was? Freedom of religion."

On tonight's broadcast, Fox defended herself and the right of the public to know the answer.

"I asked it because it speaks to who Senator Allen is. There have been questions about his heritage and there were questions as to [whether] he was hiding his heritage for political gain," she said.

In a written statement released by the Allen campaign, Allen says, "I was raised as a Christian and my mother was raised as a Christian. And I embrace and take great pride in every aspect of my diverse heritage."

Allen went on to say, "Some may find it odd that I have not probed deeply into the details of my family history, but it's a fact."

Allen said that his mother's family is of Jewish heritage but they rarely ever talked about it growing up. Allen has already been accused of some racially insensitive comments in the past month and it remains to be seen how this will affect his campaign moving forward.

The latest polls have the Allen-Webb match-up in a dead heat. Election Day is on November 7th.

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