“I Am Jewish”

On what being Jewish means now to people my age in many circumstances:

Well said.

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Quote #5 – Friendship

This quote has meaning for me, particularly in reference to one of my best friends.  Two years ago within an hour of this post he shared this with me:

“A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth.A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds; For he who fears God behaves accordingly, and his friend will be like himself.” – Sirach 6: 14-17

The source is biblical.  While not from a Jewish bible, it is certainly relevant and applicable. 🙂

Three Jews and Six Catholics Walked Into The Supreme Court

Obama is said to have selected Elena Kagan, the current Solicitor General, as his choice to replace Justice John Paul Stevens upon his retirement.

Kagan in 2009; Source: The New York Times

Interestingly, religion plays into Supreme Court nominations.  Obama was considering two Jewish people for the Supreme Court nomination.  Stevens is Protestant – and apparently the only current Protestant Supreme Court Justice.  With Obama’s choice of Kagan, assuming she is confirmed, there will be no Protestant Justice.  This is interesting in the United States, with the country’s White Anglo-Saxon Protestant background.  Perhaps this is a step towards a more diverse country?  I’m sure Obama will be attacked for that one by someone.  Clearly diversity is bad.  Oh wait…

Interestingly, one Rabbi stated “that possibly having no Protestant justice member on the court could be seen as a lack of diversity, but he also stressed that this has more to do with the court having six Catholic justices.”  How ironic.

Kagan is said to have views that are in line with the Jewish community.  That could prove to be good for the Jewish community.  She is also said to be liberal, but fairly moderate.  That should get her Republican support.  I hope that she rules without political bias though, the same way I believe all Supreme Court Justices should.  That may be a little utopian though.

The religious makeup of the Supreme Court has changed dramatically over time.  In 1800, it looked like this:

Source: adherents.com on NPR

And in 2000, before Stevens’ retirement, it looks like:

Source: adherents.com on NPR

According to an author quoted by NPR, “religion is the third rail of Supreme Court politics. It’s not something that’s talked about in polite company”.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the Senate over the next few weeks and what the commentators have to say.

A Cross on Public Land

I am a huge fan of the separation of church and state.  I strongly believe that religion and government should be and need to be separate.  It is the only way for a government to truly represent all of its citizens.  I understand that the United States was founded on Christian ideals, but that does not mean that Christianity should receive preferential treatment over any other religion or over non-religion.

Even the phrase “separation of church and state” gives preference to one religion over others.  How ironic…

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that a cross in a national park was not a government endorsement of religion.  I disagree.  Of course, the vote was along “partisan lines”.  This should, of course, not even be a piece of commentary when referring to the Supreme Court.  Nevertheless, it seems as though Democrats have a more strict definition of the separation of church and state.  Regardless, I wonder if the court’s decision would have been different if the cross in question was not a memorial to veterans…

Religion Cannot Be Used to Spew Hate

The Westboro Baptist Church is coming to Denver for three days.

These people spew hate and use religion to justify their utter contempt, non-understanding, and violent decrees for other people.  With a website called “God Hates Fags“, it is clear that they focus on propaganda and not religion or religious principles.

I support freedom of religion but not the freedom to call hatred religion, especially not any derivative of a major world religion, as the Westboro Baptist Church claims.  They say they are “old school Baptists”.  The Bible has always said to love your neighbor as yourself.  That has not changed.

The Westboro Baptists Church has published a picket schedule that includes where they will be on their visit to Denver and their reasoning.  It is full of hate and lies and is difficult to read at times.

Many Denver groups are planning counter-protest.  The Anti-Defamation League has published a guide for dealing with the Westboro Baptist Church and recommends not directly engaging them.  This hate group is looking for attention.

I do not know if I will counter-protest.  They may not be worth my time.