Progressive Revival

Should or shouldn’t Jews vote for John McCain?  What effect does his choice of Sarah Palin as running mate (apparently instead of Joe Lieberman) whose religious world view is frightening and repellent to most Jewish voters have on their decision?  This is the subject of on-line discussions that have caught fire recently.  

Rabbi Brad Hirshfield argues that making a decision to vote against Palin because of her religious beliefs amounts to religious bigotry against Christians comparable to those who voted against Joe Lieberman because he was a Jew.    

He writes: 

“There are many reasons not to support Sarah Palin, but the fact of her religious affiliation is not one of them. In fact, I am actually a little ashamed of Jews who object to Sara Palin because of what she believes. How did it feel when we heard that people were uncomfortable supporting Joe Lieberman, not because he was a Democrat, but because he was a Jew? In fact, Jews worried about that phenomenon far more than it ever materialized, but that’s another story.”

On the other hand, an article on Israel News lays out the very particular world views that Palin’s church espouses that points to the problem that the candidate will have with Jewish voters.  The article features a video recorded at Palin’s home church featuring Jews for Jesus president, David Brickner, who apparently asserts that terrorism is God’s punishment on the Jews for not accepting Christ.  

The article asks:

“There are some questions that one hopes will be resolved about the incident – was Alaska Governor Palin in attendance at the Wasilla Bible Church* while the current head of Jews For Jesus, David Brickner, asserted that the gruesome deaths, maiming and disfigurement of Israelis caught in Palestinian suicide bombing attacks should rightly be blamed on those victims themselves because of a collective Jewish refusal to accept Jesus en-masse, as a collective people ?”

As a Christian minister I do not think it is religious bigotry to challenge this world view of Brickner and the pastor of Wasilla Bible Church who invited him.  In fact, I think it is a moral obligation of all people of any religion to challenge those who see violence as a revelation of God which conveniently supports their own objectives.   Rabbi Jonathan Sacks warns: “When religion is invoked as a justification for conflict, religious voices must be raised in protest. We must withhold the robe of sanctity when it is sought as a cloak for violence and bloodshed. If faith is enlisted in the cause of war, there must be an equal and opposite counter-voice in the name of peace. If religion is not part of a solution, it will certainly be part of the problem.” Just as Barack Obama refuted his pastor’s position post 9/11, so David Brickner should be challenged on this dangerous theology – and Governor Palin should be the first to do it.  Not to win Jewish votes.  But because it is the right thing to do.  
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