Maybe it’s just me, but this whole thing about religion really bugs me. My whole attitude towards other peoples imposition on my beliefs was born in my youth, when I still belonged to the Christian faith, and my denomination was decidedly in the minority both in physical presence and in general beliefs. In my younger and angrier days, I would have – and did – argued with anybody about the virtues of what I had been taught. There was little room for opposing beliefs, let alone similar beliefs. And looking back at it all these years later, I am both sad and happy. Sad because potential friendships – of which I already had very few – were ruined. Happy because it taught me a lesson that I have carried with me for a long time.
That lesson is simple: there are no religious tests. Period.
Not in life, not in friendships, not in relationships and certainly not in government.
But like so many things, the very people who most loudly crow about being tolerant and believing in freedoms are the very people who most attack others over their beliefs.
It’s happened before. Al Smith was once a viable candidate for President of the United States. He supported the repeal of prohibition and was strong on individual liberty. He was also Roman Catholic. John F. Kennedy would end up winning the Presidency, but not before he had to take time out from the campaign and remind everybody that his religious beliefs did not extend to his governing ideals. Mitt Romney was whispered about. Judges have been attacked.
Now, with the campaign not even officially underway, the Candidates for 2020 are already sniping at each other over… religion.
I am a different person than I was on Shabbat morning. Hours of reflection, consideration, meditation, and contemplation lead to a different person.
We see the results of the hatred, but do we really see the hatred itself? Do we understand its history? Do we still have hope?
Three-quarters of a century ago, hundreds of thousands of Americans, and millions of others around the globe were sacrificed to defeat fascism and it’s goal of annihilation of Jews. Now, at least in part, the same monstrous evil rises from the ashes and begins the same work. “You cannot compare eleven people to the Holocaust, Dave,” comes the text message.
Actually, you can. And more importantly, you should. The Holocaust did not begin with gas chambers and ovens. It began with one thing and one thing only. The same thing that started the events of Saturday, October 27, 2018, in Pittsburgh.
The. Exact. Same. Thing.
It’s reasonably clear to me that there is no way that Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed. Jeff Flake’s flaking has pretty much sealed the fate of the nominee. So where do we go from here?
My phone rang twenty-two times yesterday. One – just one – of the calls was legit. Before you ask, yes, I am on the Do-Not-Call registry, but it appears that the telemarketers, scammers and bill collectors don’t actually care about that and they have found a way to bypass it anyway. By next year, in strategic terms 2020, but it’s closer than you think – fully 50% of the calls you receive could be from robocall scammers.
in Alabama, a local Preacher has opened a new Dinosaur attraction where he explains that the creatures were “900-year-old lizards that never stopped growing.” He goes on to call evolution “the dumbest religion ever” which is surprising, but also not surprising. Cami and I found ourselves in a discussion on Sunday that related to this attitude. Again, I am not an atheist, I am a guy with questions. Lots and lots of questions…