Jon Stewart grew up in New Jersey in a Jewish family. He has a sort-of detached, but not negative, opinion of religion, saying:
Religion makes sense to me. I have trouble with dogma more than I have trouble with religion. I think the best thing religion does is give people a sense of place, purpose, and compassion. My quibble with it is when it’s described as the only way to have those things instilled.
He goes on to say:
When people say things like, “I found God and that helped me stop drinking,” I say, “Great! More power to you. Just know that some people stop drinking without it.” It’s when it gets into the realm of “This is the only way to salvation”—that’s when I think, "Okay, now we’re getting into a problem.
Even though he doesn’t think religion is all-important, he’s definitely not afraid of using his Jewish background for comedic effect.
Left, right, they’re all idiots
Jon has a lot to say about politics. He’s generally considered to be a liberal, especially because of his relentless criticism of the Bush administration, with quotes like this, referring to Bush’s handling of the Iraq war:
It’s as if a guy drove me into a ditch and said, ‘Don’t worry, I know how to drive us out of this.’
He even mentioned that he liked one of America’s most famous socialists, saying:
[In high school, I was] very into Eugene Debs and a bit of a leftist.
Still, Stewart tends to be most critical of politics that takes one side or the other and doesn’t compromise or discuss ideas. He tends to think politics is too much game-playing while politicians don’t deal with real issues. Essentially, politicians and politics is generally ridiculous. He has said:
With Republicans, you never- they never have to prove that they love this country. Democrats always seem to have to prove to America that they love America. Republicans love America- they just seem to hate about 50 percent of the people who live in it. Democrats- you know, for their thing, it’s always they love this country- they just somehow wish it were a different country. You know, Democrats are always like- you know, America’s the greatest country in the world. Have you seen Finland’s health care system? You get back rubs at work. You’re surrounded by sandwiches.
The thing is, Jon is pretty reasonable when it comes to politics–and religion.
He is slow to take sides and doesn’t accept anything as truth without careful consideration.
These are some of the reasons that Stewart is one of America’s most respected political commentators.
He doesn’t subscribe to any one party but instead promotes ideas that make the most sense to him–whether they are associated with Republican or Democratic ideals. He once said, with a gospel choir backing him up of course:
Stewart: I’ve got some conservative views.
Gospel choir: He’s a pro-military motherfucker. Peace to the troops.
Stewart: I’ve got some libertarian views.
Gospel choir: Legalize it.
Stewart: Gay marriage! Pot! Gay pot marriage!
Gospel choir: Amen!
Stewart: And I believe this country should provide some kind of social safety net for some of our most vulnerable citizens.
Gospel choir: Communist.