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RevBates.tv Global - Weekly Message To The Masses
(November 27, 2005)
Next month we will celebrate three important holidays; Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. These holidays signify our diversity ... but the celebrations in and of themselves, symbolize our Oneness ... our joy, our giving-ness and our hope. In Religious Science we have learned to respect our differences and yet, know that we are One. This is not necessarily true of all religions and especially not true of certain religious leaders. And because of this I am sharing the following news article about a radical Rabbi who gave a brilliant speech in Houston, Texas, recently. Like him, I believe it is not just enough to believe in the sacredness of All Life ... we must be willing to declare that it is so. I learned something from this article and my great hope is that you will too.
Jewish Leader Blasts 'Religious Right'
By KRISTEN HAYS, Associated Press Writer Sat Nov
19, 6:07 PM ET
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the liberal Union for Reform Judaism, said "religious right" leaders believe "unless you attend my church, accept my God and study my sacred text you cannot be a moral person."
"What could be more bigoted than to claim that you have a monopoly on God?" he said during the movement's national assembly in Houston, which runs through Sunday.
The audience of 5,000 responded to the speech with enthusiastic applause.
Yoffie did not mention evangelical Christians directly, using the term "religious right" instead. In a separate interview, he said the phrase encompassed conservative activists of all faiths, including within the Jewish community.
He used particularly strong language to condemn conservative attitudes toward homosexuals. He said he understood that traditionalists have concluded gay marriage violates Scripture, but he said that did not justify denying legal protections to same-sex partners and their children.
"We cannot forget that when Hitler came to power in 1933, one of the first things that he did was ban gay organizations," Yoffie said. "Yes, we can disagree about gay marriage. But there is no excuse for hateful rhetoric that fuels the hellfires of anti-gay bigotry."
The Union for Reform Judaism represents about 900 synagogues in North America with an estimated membership of 1.5 million people. Of the three major streams of U.S. Judaism — Orthodox and Conservative are the others — it is the only one that sanctions gay ordination and supports civil marriage for same-gender couples.
Yoffie said liberals and conservatives share some concerns, such as the potential damage to children from violent or highly sexual TV shows and other popular media. But he said, overall, conservatives too narrowly define family values, making a "frozen embryo in a fertility clinic" more important than a child, and ignoring poverty and other social ills.
One attendee, Judy Weinman of Troy, N.Y., said she thought Yoffie was "right on target." "He reminded us of where we have things in common and where we're different," she said.
Yoffie also urged lawmakers to model themselves on presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, who famously told a Houston clergy group in 1960 that a president should not make policy based on his religion.
..................... *AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll contributed to this report.
I greatly appreciate Rabbi Yoffie's message ... it is timely and important for all of us. If we do not learn from history ... it will be repeated until the lesson is learned. As we enter into this holiday season, let us learn to celebrate our differences and share in the celebrations of others with joy and with loving understanding.
So It Is!
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