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Showing posts from May, 2014

The SCOTUS Decision: Why I wish every town were Bethel, Connecticut, and what to do if yours isn't

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong - and everything right - with starting a civic town meeting with a request for spiritual strength and nourishment, affirming that there is a guiding force in the universe that provides wisdom and guidance as we mortals grapple with the stuff of everyday life.

Note that I said "spiritual," not "religious." That's why I have a few issues with the recent Supreme Court public-prayer decision. In my last two posts (here and here), I suggested unhelpful responses.

Here's a helpful response for people who are distressed about it: talk about it, write about it, be open about, and get involved - actively involved - in your towns and villages and cities. Insist that your clergy people be visible and available.

Do not buy into the false and spurious charge that not wanting religion-specific prayer before town/civic meetings means you are opposed to a call for spiritual strength at such times. Support your religious communities. Do…

Lions! Tigers! Bears! SCOTUS! A 2nd UNHELPFUL response to a bad decision.

In my last post, I argued that the nuclear-option "What are you so afraid of?" response to the recent SCOTUS decision was not only unhelpful, but it was an intellectual boomerang that in fact spoke to some of the greatest paranoias such a response was intended to dismiss.

Here's the second unhelpful response to the SCOTUS decision regarding public prayer preceding municipal meetings (basically ok since there was no proselytizing): It's known as the Chicken Little Reaction. OH MY GOD, POGROMS!!!!

I've heard this one a bunch of times so far. All I will say is that such over-the-top reactions unhelpfully disguise a very disturbing circle-the-wagons trend away from acknowledging minority rights, sensibilities and sensitivities.

Next time: Some saner responses.

"What are you so afraid of?" A nuclear-option response to questioning a SCOTUS decision.

"What are you so afraid of?"

That's one reaction American Jews hear from some Jewish leaders when they get antsy about perceived over-intrusion of the US majority religion into the public sphere. It got airtime when American Jews expressed disgust with Mel Gibson's sado-masochistic atrocity, "Passion of the Christ" and his maniacal anti-Jewish ramblings when he was picked up for drunk driving. Then when American Jews reacted with disgust to Pat Robertson's off-handed "joke" - with a rabbi who seemed to agree with him no less - that Jews hire people to wash their cars on Sundays so they can better spend their time serving the people by polishing their diamonds. Then when a state chief justice insisted that the only deity worth constitutional protection is his specific deity. And then when a hot mic picked up anti-Semitic ramblings from a retired upper echelon military official.

The "what are you so afraid of" Jewish-leadership respons…