Thursday, September 9, 2010

We can be next

Conservatives exploiting both the Muslim community center in NY and the Koran book burning, as well as all the hate speech against Muslim Americans, should make all Jews pause. Even the fact that we know refer to Americans by their religion -- ie., Muslim Americans not Americans who choose to be Muslim -- should make all of us as Americans pause.
Starting with the controversy over the community center and now the media frenzy over the Koran burning to me indicates how fragile our country has become and how willing conservatives are to toss American values to the wind for political gain. The tea partiers love to carry the Constitution to rallies, yet when a real Constitutional issue hits us in the face, they happily revert to anti-Constitutional rhetoric and, with a hatred that is astounding, throw other Americans under the bus. The reason our founding fathers created the system they believed in was exactly to prevent what is happening now. They created a document and a political system that protected those whose religious beliefs went against the majority, stating without a doubt that religious belief was a matter of personal conscience, not something imposed by an ignorant majority or an equally ignorant government.
Jews in America should be scared with the rhetoric of the right, and Jews should be at the forefront of support for Americans choosing to practice their Muslim faith. Jewish history should tell us that it is easy to demonize a minority. That religion can be used by political opportuntists to create division among groups should be familiar to us.
The irony of saying that all American Muslims are somehow responsible for 9/11 goes against history. Do Jews and other Americans hold the Catholic Church responsible for 6 million Jews being exterminated in the Holocaust even though evidence indicates that the Church protected Nazis before and after the end of the war?
No. Christianity, including the Catholic Church, holds a prominant and privileged position in the country and a strong position in conservative politics. 6 million, not 3,000. While every life lost to politics and extremists is horrifying, I can't help but reflect on past history and think how certain groups and religions have been absolved of the mistakes their pasts.
Muslims, Jews, Christians, and non-believers died in 9/11. But, Republicans and conservative Christians smell blood in November and are willing to demonize other Americans in their hope for victory. For Jews, that should be a red flag. History should tell us how easily it is to demonize a group and that it has happened before. That this time it is not happening to us should not stop us from speaking out.


  1. Things are really getting ugly out there, and it looks like they will get even worse. Nice post Annie.

    Can you connect to balloon juice. I haven't been able to for two days?

  2. Thanks. Couldn't connect last night or this morning......