A Letter to my Friend the Bigot

I do think that I’m right and you’re wrong, but I also realise that that’s me saying it, so what else would one expect?

I am aware that regardless of whether or not your truth corresponds with reality, your truth is as important to you as mine is to me. I therefore sympathise with your cause despite me thinking that it’s misguided and I feel for you when your goals are not met, even though I consider them to be destructive.

You sometimes hate me, but you feel that you have to. I love you and I sometimes love your hate. I am the one undermining your very values and your very beliefs. I am the one who keeps on telling you that you’re wrong. I have the hate coming.

I really don’t like how you treat those with whom you disagree and those whose lifestyle choices are different to yours, but boy do I understand you! I sympathise with your anguish as you see the world spiralling into what you consider immorality and spiritual destruction.

I don’t share your view and unlike you I like the liberal direction in which the wind is blowing. What you consider promiscuous, immoral and fornicatious, I consider romantic, loving and bonding. But I know that you are not comfortable. I know that what we are doing deeply troubles you and I sympathise.

Freedom of belief and consciousness is something that I will never deny to anyone, so I must accept the sentiments that your beliefs arouse in you. I hope that you can understand that when your feelings are hurt by my actions it is not you whom I want to hurt, but it is a cause that I’m fighting for. Just like you, I have values too and when they clash one of us will get hurt.

I really regret that this is how it has to be, but I must be frank with you: I consider some of your actions to be highly objectionable and harmful. I know that you have no bad intentions, but when you deny people the most meaningful and natural of pleasures I am bound to take up arms against you.

How am I meant to feel when I see you encouraging sexual repression? You try to get young men and women to abstain from physical contact with each other; you build up in them an unhealthy relationship with their sexuality; you won’t let them masturbate. You consider this moral, but to me it’s just cruel.

I understand where you’re coming from though. I know that you genuinely believe that this is good and noble and I know that it is important to you. Nevertheless, I will fight these ideas. In this battle of ideas one of us will be hurt. Badly. But we both need to fight on with conviction. I will continue to fight for progressiveness and liberalism and you continue to fight for conservatism and scriptural morality.

I sympathise with you and I know that you are fighting for an important cause, but I ask of you to remember that I’m fighting for an important cause too. True that only one of us will survive; true that I might need to kill you on the battle field; but we’re both fighting for a just cause and we’re both driven by conviction, passion and love.

One final point, my dear: when I call you a racist, sexist, homophobic, or islamaphobic, please don’t take offense and keep in mind that I’m not judging you. I give you these titles because they accurately describe your views and labelling you as the enemy makes it easier for us to fight you, but that’s it; there’s nothing more to it. I still think that you’re a lovely human being and I still value your strongly held sentiments.

You’re a bigot, no doubt about that, but you and your beliefs are still special and precious and there’s no need for you to feel down or apologetic because of who you are. I do want to exterminate your values, but not because I don’t value them, but because I think that they are harmful for humanity.

Send my love to your friends in the conservative community. See you on the battlefield,

xx

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Why Call it Judaism? The Case for Humanistic Judaism

Jewish Humanism

Humanistic Judaism is new and almost entirely unknown by people outside the movement. Its novelty and its radical break with tradition creates a lot of confusion for people who are only familiar with traditional Judaism and its liberal offshoots. One question inevitably arises during a conversation about Humanistic Judaism, “why call it Judaism when the real belief system and driving force is Humanism?” They understand that Humanistic Jews are Jews who are attached to Jewish culture, but to call what they do Judaism appears to be a contradiction. The confusion arises because of a difference in the use of the word Judaism. For traditional Jews, and even the liberal branches of Judaism, Judaism is equivalent to the teachings of the Torah and Talmud. The Torah and Talmud may be interpreted differently, or in some cases even ignored, by the various Movements, but they all agree that those teachings are the…

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