Perry Gershon, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin, will attend a non-partisan forum on ethical and moral convictions sponsored by an interfaith group in Sag Harbor on Monday, August 27. Zeldin has declined the invitation, the group said.
The event will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the Hamptons United Methodist Church at 160 Main Street in Southampton. The group is made up of clergy members from seven houses of worship from Southampton to East Hampton.
In a press release, the group said the impetus for the event was the clergy members’ “sense that core questions of morality, ethics, and character are an essential aspect of healthy political discourse, but are increasingly sidelined.”
“Our roles as clergy give us both the responsibility and opportunity to maintain focus on issues of morality and personal character — that’s a key part of each of our jobs,” said Rabbi Jan Uhrbach of the Conservative Synagogue of the Hamptons, the initiator of the event, in a release.
The group said when it invited the candidates to participate and offer a choice of dates, Gershon responded immediately, while Zeldin’s camp did not, and only declined to participate when a final date was set.
“I am disturbed that Representative Zeldin will not speak in front of his constituents on the East End. I am sad that he has left us to wonder how he makes informed moral decisions,” said the Reverend Karen Ann Campbell, the rector of Christ Episcopal Church.
Others expressed hope the congressman would change his mind. “The door remains wide open for Congressman Zeldin to participate, and we sincerely hope he will,” said the Reverend Peter Sulyok of the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church.
Priority for attendance will be given to members of the sponsoring houses of worship. Those who wish to attend can register online at www.eventbrite.com. A video of the event will be made public afterward.