Tolerance

I am not a Christian. Never have been. Never will be. I am an American. Always have been. Aways will be. As an American Jew, I have always felt at least a little bit outside the mainstream. When the vast majority of your neighbors, school mates, and friends celebrate Christmas (as do your wife and children), it’s hard not to feel different. For the most part, though, being different has been fine. Unlike my father and his generation of American Jews, I don’t think I have been discriminated against. I certainly know people who don’t take kindly to my Jewishness, but they are few and far between and they haven’t impacted my life in any serious way. But I have to say that based on what I am hearing at the start of the 2012 presidential race, I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

Today I read something to the effect that Americans ought to elect the kind of man that our forefathers would have elected — a Christian man who holds the same religious beliefs that his forefathers held. Honestly, where does this desire to return to the days of 1776 come from? I am a reasonable student of history and I have great admiration for many of our forefathers. I also have great admiration for many men and women who have graced the political stage since our forefathers exited it. I don’t carry a blind allegiance to any generation of political leaders, though, and it’s hard to imagine why anyone would. After all, most of those men in 1776 didn’t believe women had the right to vote and thought enslaving a large portion of Americans based on the color of their skin was just fine and dandy. Do we really want to look back 250 years and hope that our political leaders of today hold the same beliefs as our forefathers did? I know I am not hoping for that.

What I do hope for is that our leaders are men and women of faith. That faith can come from their religious affiliation. That faith can come from a belief that all men are created equal or that all of us ought to be judged by the golden rule. That faith can come from the belief that all Americans are deserving of an equal opportunity to lead a good and healthy life. To be an American is to have faith, but not your faith or my faith. We are America because in our country one is allowed to have his or her own faith. What I hear these days scares me. America does not belong to you; it belongs to each of us.

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4 Responses to Tolerance

  1. DanHoffman says:

    I agree. This trend to equate a man’s religious convictions with the ability to govern well is kind of silly and not a little scary. Paraphrasing MaCauley, “The points of difference between Christianity and Judaism have no more to do with a man’s fitness to be a legislator than with his fitness to be a cobbler.” I’d personally be in favor of electing an heretical goat worshipper with a grasp of national economics over some of the national “christian” candidates.

  2. Meredith says:

    thank you for well said observations and opinions. The more I read your blog (I’m working my backwards thru them) the more I appreciate your balanced point of view. None of us has perfect answers for the problems, but we can certainly encourage those around us to be more balanced in their thinking/actions, and that will help our people to reach a workable solution to the various difficulties we are mired in. Again, thank you for sharing your balanced and reasonable thoughts. You and Betty make a wonderful combination in blogging 🙂

  3. Meredith says:

    thank you for well said observations and opinions. The more I read your blog (I’m working my way backwards thru them) the more I appreciate your balanced point of view. None of us has perfect answers for the problems, but we can certainly encourage those around us to be more balanced in their thinking/actions, and that will help our people to reach a workable solution to the various difficulties we are mired in. Again, thank you for sharing your balanced and reasonable thoughts. You and Betty make a wonderful combination in blogging 🙂

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