As if he has not created enough controversy, Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham (R) has done it again. Mecham, fighting a recall campaign, told a men's club breakfast at a synagogue on Sunday that the United States is a "great Christian nation" and that Jesus Christ is "Lord of the land."
Questioned by reporters Tuesday, the governor, a Mormon, said the United States was founded by Christians and therefore is a Christian country.
Joel Breshin, a regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, called the governor's remarks "extraordinarily insensitive," and added, "It relegates Jews and other non-Christians to second-class citizens who live in the United States at the sufferance of the majority."
Rabbi David Mayer, who invited Mecham to speak before his congregation to foster better ties with the Jewish community, said Mecham's remarks were a "travesty" and "extremely insulting."
Breshin said he does not believe the governor is anti-Semitic, but said he believes Mecham is insensitive to the concerns of the Jewish community as well as those of non-Jews who question his interpretation of the Constitution.
Mecham responded, "I am not at all insensitive," and said he has "many good Jewish friends" and is represented by a Jewish lawyer.
Earlier this year, Mecham angered blacks by defending a book that used the term "pickaninnies." The governor has also angered Hispanics, women and homosexuals with his remarks.