Sunday, April 17, 2005

Brad H.

My name is Brad Houston. I am a 23-year old graduate student and
registered Democrat. I am also a Jewish-American, both culturally and
religiously. Far from the contention of the religious right that I am,
as a liberal, hostile to faith, I wholeheartedly embrace it.

There are those who might suggest that as a liberal Jew, my comments
on this matter might not "count" as much as those of liberal
Christians, or even that they are irrelevant. Respectfully, I
disagree. For the Family Research Council claims to speak for all
people of faith against the rule of law, which encompasses Judaism
just as much as it does Christianity. And as a person of faith, I am
infuriated that the FRC presumes to speak for me.

Rabbi Hillel, the renowned Talmudic scholar, was once asked to explain
the entire Torah while standing on one foot. The Rebbe replied: "That
which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the law;
the rest is commentary." It is a philosophy I have tried to follow,
and it was also espoused by the first-century rabbi Yeshua ben Yosef.
My brethren and sistren in the Christian faith know him better as
Jesus Christ. Yet, I wonder how well these men of God on the right
follow this basic precept.

Is not legislation designed to give a surfeit of riches to the already
prosperous at the expense of the poor and unfortunate hateful? Would
it not be better to design laws to help those less fortunate?

Is not discriminating against lesbians and gay men hateful? Would it
not be better to allow them the opportunity to have the same rights as
straight couples in the expression of their love?

Is not leading the country into an unnecessary war with 100,000+
civilian casualties hateful? Would it not be better to use war as a
last rather than a first resort?

Is not willful ignorance, and attempts to force that ignorance on
others, of basic precepts of the universe's function hateful? Would it
not be better to see Nature's methodical workings as an expression of
God's will unto itself?

Is not the attempt to impose your faith on others hateful? Would it
not be better to allow people to approach or not approach the Ultimate
Reality as they see fit?

Religion in the minds of these people is about what people CANNOT do.
In my mind, religion is about the basic goodness that people SHOULD
do. Religion in the minds of these people is about making the world in
accordance to their worldview. In my mind, religion is about making
the world better for people of ALL worldviews. And yet, theirs is the
religion that gets the attention, that causes the wars and calls for
the hate and the end of democracy as we know it.

I am tired of having my faith represented by these fringe elements of
the faith-based community. They do not speak for me, nor for the God
in whom I believe. Today I reject the Big Lie that one must be a
reactionary theocrat to be a person of faith.

I am a progressive and a man of faith. More than that, I am a
progressive BECAUSE I am a man of faith.

At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Donna Martinez said...

My name is Donna Martinez. I am a person with a deep faith in God. I am deeply disappointed in Dr. Bill Frist. I believe he and others in Washington are missing the opportunity to reach the majority, because they focus their attention on a very vocal minority. I will work with other individuals of faith, like myself, to take government away from narrow-minded individuals who seek to divide rather than unite. Hear us roar! Watch us act!


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