Has Tolerance Become a Euphemism for Bigotry?

Perhaps it already has, writes Richard Samuelson, and it certainly will if, for instance, approval of same-sex weddings were to lead to the punishment of clergy who refuse to conduct them:

If our government pursues [such] logic, which follows naturally from Justice Kennedy’s claim in his gay-rights decisions that only invidious animus can explain one’s rejection of gay marriage, it could be used to require all priests, ministers, rabbis, imams, etc. to preform same-sex weddings, or lose their legal ability to officiate at weddings at all. (Sure, the argument would go, clerics are free to believe whatever they want, but the right to sign a marriage license is a right government confers, and, as such, the government ought to deny that right to those who would discriminate in its application). . . .

As the scope of American law has grown, the areas of conflict between the rights of conscience and the demands of law have increased considerably. . . . Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans, particularly in our elite and governing classes, who hold that religions (perhaps only non-progressive religions) are a barbarous relic of a bygone age has increased considerably. Hence they refuse to recognize the rights of conscience.

Seen from this angle, we can recognize that what is called a “culture war” might better be understood as the problems that come with the creation of a post-modern religious establishment—an establishment that takes on most of the roles of the old establishments, yet defines its beliefs, conveniently, as “not religion.” The result is that it feels free to impinge on the rights of conscience in the name of “toleration” and “diversity.”

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Federalist

More about: Freedom of Religion, Gay marriage, Religion & Holidays, Supreme Court, U.S. Constitution

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror