October 31, 2008 - 12:46PM
Tempe lawmaker rapped for too much religion
Itâ€™s usually the political candidates eschewing religious services who come
under attack from their opponents. But Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe, is hearing
criticism for having too much God in his life.
Ableserâ€™s conversion to Mormonism for marriage should disqualify him from his
job as a youth counselor, the wife of a GOP challenger recently told the
Connie Thompson, married to Mark Thompson, said in an e-mail that Ableser â€œis
part Jewish, part Christian and now part Mormon. This guy has no idea what he is
and shouldnâ€™t be counseling kids.â€
Ableser works as a mental health counselor with Phoenixâ€™s Roosevelt Elementary
Connie Thompson also e-mailed the Tribune a photograph of Ableser with his
fianceÃ© and a baptism cake.
Ableser represents District 17, which takes in Tempe and south Scottsdale. He
and fellow incumbent Rep. David Schapira are pitted against Republicans Mark
Thompson and Wes Waddle.
Ableser had not heard of Thompsonâ€™s remarks before being asked for comment.
â€œWhat is wrong with her?â€ replied a stunned Ableser.
On Ableserâ€™s legislative Web site, his biography states he â€œcurrently serves
as a worship-service producer to the University Presbyterian Church.â€
That is still true, Ableser said, although since June he also has been attending
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And his fianceÃ© has joined
Ableser at Presbyterian services
â€œObviously, Connie and Mark have no respect for religion whatsoever,â€ said
Ableser, who also has a Jewish family history. â€œTalk about godless.â€
Mark Thompson agreed with his wife, but only to a degree.
â€œThe guy seems confused to me,â€ Mark Thompson said of Ableser. â€œIn a
three- to four-month period, heâ€™s just all over the place.â€
But does that mean he shouldnâ€™t be working with children?
â€œWell, I wonâ€™t say that. I wonâ€™t say that,â€ said a chuckling Mark
Thompson. â€œThatâ€™s probably (Connie) not getting enough sleep recently.â€
Connie Thompsonâ€™s attack is the flip side of negative campaigning that focuses
on whether a candidate is sufficiently religious.
That approach recently reared its head in North Carolina, where incumbent U.S.
Sen. Elizabeth Dole attacked her Democratic opponent as not believing in God.
The attack stems from Kay Haganâ€™s attendance at a fund-raising event co-hosted
by a board member of the political action committee Godless Americans.
Hagan, a Presbyterian church elder, is suing Dole for defamation and libel.
According to recent polls, Hagan holds a lead in the mid-single digits.