Skip To Content
Breaking News

John Kasich Wants ‘Judeo-Christian’ Department — Mocked as ‘Crusades’

As president, Republican candidate John Kasich said he would establish a department to promote Judeo-Christian values.

In an interview Tuesday with NBC, Kasich described the department as a latter-day version of the pro-Western propaganda that the United States broadcast in the former Soviet Union.

“Its job would be fundamentally to revive what we used to do when we beamed messages into the former Soviet Union,” said the Ohio governor, who is among more than a dozen hopefuls vying for his party’s nomination. “We need to beam messages around the world about what it means to have a Western ethic to be part of a Judeo-Christian society.”

The idea draw ire from all sides of the political spectrum.

Rival Republican candidate Lindsey Graham mocked the plan as a misguided way to win support in the Muslim world.

“I think that was the Crusades,” Graham said, according to Politico

Kasich said his plan would target four regions where freedoms are absent: Russia, China, Iran and the Middle East. Post-Soviet Russia is a society where Christian influence, through the Russian Orthodox Church, is pervasive. Kasich did not explain how or why he was distinguishing Iran from the Middle East.

“In the Middle East, where young radicals are constantly fed ideas that lead to more radicalization, I think it’s essential we spread who we are and why we are who we are and what we represent,” he said.

Kasich said westerners should embrace their Christian and Jewish ethical traditions, although many of the freedoms he described originated in pre-Christian Greece.

“It’s essential, by the way, that those in the West begin to embrace again our Jewish and Christian tradition instead of running from it, hiding from it,” he said.

Kasich said that moderate Muslims would be included in the messaging.

“I think there are many of them who stand up and speak out, and they should be included in this and they’d be an very effective part of this,” he said. “So to support the Jewish and Christian tradition also involves the ability to have tolerance.”

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.