(JTA) — A Jewish mayoral candidate in Nashville, Tennessee, defended a campaign ad that accused his Catholic-raised rival of fighting with Christian organizations and opposing public prayer.
Created by the campaign staff of Republican David Fox, the ad ran last month in local radio stations targeting Democrat Megan Barry and her husband, a Vanderbilt University professor of sociology, ahead of the Sept. 10 election.
“So how do Megan Barry and her husband, Bruce, spend their time, since it’s not in the black community?” an announcer is heard saying in the ad. “They are opposing the National Day of Prayer, opposing prayer before high school football games, fighting with Christian faith-based organizations that he called, and I quote, ‘part of the Jesus industrial complex.’”
Fox, a former hedge fund manager and journalist, has referenced his Jewish background during the campaign in an apparent attempt to reach out to left-leaning and centrist voters.
“Jews tend not to be hard-right social conservatives,” Fox was quoted by the website nashvillescene.com as saying. “We tend to be big-tent people” who “try to respect everybody else and hope everybody will respect us.”
Barry accused Fox of fighting dirty by going after her husband.
“He’s lied about me, he lied about my faith, he lied about my family,” she said at a recent news conference.
Last month she said during a speech, “I was raised as a Catholic, but my faith, which was always very personal to me, has suddenly become a public conversation, which has made me uncomfortable.”
National Public Radio on Thursday quoted Fox as saying, “Our ad hasn’t been inaccurate, I think people have a fair conversation about our priorities, our faith, our values, that’s how you kind of get some sense of predictability about a candidate.”