Saturday, January 12, 2008

"Jews don’t feel good or safe when flags and religion get all mixed up."

This line is from an op ed in the Kennebec Journal by Naomi Schalit titled, Religion-Politics Mix Gives Rise to Fear. She begins her story like this: I grew up in a household where among our many guests were older people with tattooed numbers on their arms. They spoke with accents — Polish, German, French and what they spoke of, over and over again, was the danger that comes when government dictates which religion is good and which religion is not (and thus which religion’s adherents are good or bad).

Ms. Schalit further says, "But these days, I see that changing. I’m a Jew and I’m scared.
It’s not just that Mike Huckabee, an Evangelical and self-described “Christian Leader,” won the GOP Iowa presidential caucus last week. It’s the photos of his supporters praying and holding American flags."

She and I both commented fairly similarly on this: My jaw dropped when Mitt Romney said that “freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.” I wrote about this in another thread just after he said this ridiculous statement, pandering for the right-wing fundamentalist votes in Iowa.

Not only Jews are 'scared' about what Ms. Shalit sees but surely Muslims, atheists, and traditional Christians are equally mortified at what has been happening in the GOP this electoral season. Apparently the history teachers of America are slack in helping our students understand that this nation was founded implicitly because of religious intolerance in Europe.

Did our public school teachers fail us or does the problem lie in Sunday school? Are these religious teachers failing their children by telling them that 'this' faith is the only true faith; that all others are corrupt and incomplete? That there is only one way, their way, to God?

Perhaps the pendulum has begun to swing back to where it was in Europe in the 1700's, when religion defined the person, the family, the culture.

My g-g-g-g-g grandfather had to leave his home in Lyon France in 1720 because he was a Huguenot living in a Catholic culture. My grandfather left Germany and came to America in the 1800's because of Bismarck's Kulturkampf, the oppression of his Catholic faith. Freedom of religion and, more importantly, freedom FROM religion.

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