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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/25/12

"No Religion is an Island" -- Challenging Injustice in a Community That's Not "Our Own"

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Message Rabbi Arthur Waskow

And so on. In  an earthquake, all the bottles fall and smash, and all the  genies swirl into our world.

Whom do I have in mind when I mention the "frozen " response to the world-wide earthquake we are all livin g  in?

I have in mind, amon g others  --

the present Catholic hierarchy; 

the individual Catholic militant who threatened me and other Jewish critics of the hierarchy, sayin g  we better not poke  our noses into "Catholic" busineess;

"ultra-Orthodox" rabbis who have insisted that cases of child abuse and rape in the Orthodox community must not be submitted to "outsiders" -- that is,  American le g al process.

All these are so shaken by the world-wide earthquake that they resort to grasping hard on a distorted memory they hope won't move  -- and trying  to coerce everyone in sight into grasping as they do.

I feel compassion for those people.   But compassion for their quandary must not lead to acquiescence in their coercion.

And commitment to oppose their  coercion does not mean hatred of Catholicism or Orthodox Judaism.  (   Several letters have accused me of "hating" Catholicism or Catholics. This is simply false. There are many versions of Catholicism, just as there are many versions of Judaism. In both and all other religious communities, there are some world-views I see as akin to my own, and some not. I admire and encourage much of the theology and practice of Pope John XXIII, the Second Vatican Council, Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Network, and the magazine Conscience. I disagree with much of the theology and practice of the present Pope and the present majority of the US National Conference of Catholic Bishops, especially in their theology and practice toward women and sexual minorities.)    

It does mean invitin g all communities to dance, unfrozen,  in God's earthquake,  like John XXIII, Vatican II, and their successsors in creative Catholicism.

Friends  --  This letter is the first half of a two-part exploration. The second part will take on directly the question, "Is each religion an island unto itself?"  The second part will come in a day or two. If you want to read it right away, the whole essay is on our Home Page at

Meanwhile, you may want to read three items on our Website, listed here in chronological order, which embody the history of this discussion:

Shalom, pax, salaam --  Arthur

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Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D., founded (in 1983) and directs The Shalom Center , a prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life that brings Jewish and other spiritual thought and practice to bear on seeking peace, pursuing justice, (more...)
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