August 02, 2014 · 6 Av

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Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation
When I interned at a community organization in college, my boss told me that anger was a powerful tool. When you’re angry, you’re more likely to speak up and take action.

With this in mind, I agreed—eagerly volunteered—to attend a press conference last week announcing the formation Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation. The group is headed by Don Feder, a former columnist for the Boston Herald, who considers himself a Jewish conservative. Mr. Feder doesn’t like moderation :

When I interned at a community organization in college, my boss told me that anger was a powerful tool.  When you’re angry, you’re more likely to speak up and take action. 

With this in mind, I agreed—eagerly volunteered—to attend a  press conference last week announcing the formation Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation.  The group is headed by Don Feder, a former columnist for the Boston Herald, who considers himself a Jewish conservative.  Mr. Feder doesn’t like moderation.  As he writes on his website:

    “I’m to the right of Sharon on Zionism, to the right of Pat Buchanan on immigration and Americanism, to the right of Mother Angelica on abortion, to the right of Chuck Heston on Second-Amendment rights, and generally make the legendary Atilla look like a limousine liberal.”

I’m not quite sure what that political ideology is, perhaps because Mr. Feder’s self-description pushes off the map of the political spectrum, but I was glad to have the opportunity to be riled up again about the importance of the work the RAC does.

I was prepared to be angered; I was not prepared for the undercurrent of Islamaphobia I heard at the event.  It was difficult for me to remain in the room when of the panelists suggested a parallel between Hitler, Haman and Islam.  Another suggested that we ought to take anti-Christian attitudes more seriously than bigotry directed as Muslims because Christians had a long history of protecting Jews. 

What saddened me more, however, was limited definition of Christianity that the JAACD seemed interested in protecting against defamation.  That didn’t seem particularly interested in protecting the Christianity of my friend who is awaiting the anticipated decision of her Lutheran denomination to ordain gays and lesbians so she join the clergy.  Nor did it seem interested in protecting the voices of the Christian clergy and laity with whom the RAC works regularly as part of our Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. 

The speakers made much of the “moral legacy”  Christianity provided in shaping American society.  I agree that the United States is moving away from the values that Christianity—and Islam and Judaism and other traditions—suggest societies should root themselves in. But I reject the idea that those values are intolerance and bigotry.

As I watch our government abandoning the values of communal responsibility, compassion and tolerance that create civic society and are taught by our faith traditions, I can’t help but be angered by the JAACD’s attempts to protect the bigotry of the Radical Right under the guise of tolerance.  I hope this anger inspires me—and our faithful RAC blog readers—to keep fighting. 

Posted by Erin Scharff, RAC Legislative Assistant



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