Congressman says church, state should be separate
Facing attacks from political opponents and right-wing bloggers, U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) staunchly defended his vote against a House resolution recognizing the religious importance of Christmas, saying he was being maligned by people who were distorting the facts and creating political smokescreens.
He said he opposed the measure because he strongly believes in the separation of church and state and wanted Congress to focus on key issues, such as health care and the subprime mortgage crisis.
In October, the same congressman co-sponsored House Resolution 747, which recognizes the religious and historical significance of the Hindu, Sikh and Jain holiday of Diwali. Earlier that month, he voted in favor of House Resolution 635, which recognizes the importance of the Muslim holiday Ramadan.
Ackerman represents one of the most diverse congressional districts in America. We don't see what harm it would have done, particularly given his other votes, for Ackerman to explain his rationale and apologize to constituents who may have misinterpreted his vote.