Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders grew up in a Jewish household, but the left-leaning senator does not align himself with any religion today.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is the longest-serving independent Congressman in history and a recent addition to the 2016 presidential race. He is a self-identified socialist who may be one of the nation’s most left-leaning politicians. Sanders, now 73, was born to a Jewish family, but, while he culturally identifies as Jewish, he does not believe in the Jewish religion.
Many consider his candidacy a long-shot, but Bernie Sanders will certainly attract a fair number of Democrats who admire his commitment to progressivism. He believes that he will be able to garner grass-roots support from the people who are “prepared to take on the billionaire class”. And he just might be able to prove his naysayers wrong after raising $3 million for his campaign in just 4 days.
Bernie Sanders rose in popularity in 2010 after a nine-hour speech on the Senate floor during which he called a tax-cut extension for the wealthy “Robin Hood backwards.” His speech attracted so much attention that after his staff linked the stream with #Filibernie on Twitter and his webpage, the Senate video server crashed. The next quarter, he raised 5 times more for his campaign funds than he did in the previous.
Sanders’ father is a Polish-Jewish immigrant, and his mother was born to Polish-Jewish immigrants in New York. His father’s family suffered many casualties in the Holocaust. Although he does not affiliate with any religion today, the liberal Jewish activism of his upbringing significantly influenced his personal version of socialism. He grew up around politicals fights for gender equality, African-American civil rights, and fair working conditions and wages.
Today, he still finds himself agreeing with some religious leaders even when he is not a part of any of their organized religions. On the topic of economic justice, he said he feels “very close to the teachings of Pope Francis.” He considers the pope “incredibly smart and brave”.
That being said, he still often finds himself at odds with the religious in America. In fact, on the scorecard of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, an organization that tracks politicians’ track record on political issues through its lens of faith, Bernie Sanders scored a 0% in the 113th Congress and a lifetime score of just 3%.
- USA Today 4-30-15
- Huffington Post Politics
- USA Today 4-29-15
- Huffington Post Religion
- Faith & Freedom Coalition