Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Does anyone represent all the people?

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Till now I have liked Ted Cruz. I admit it.  That being said, I haven’t said I am voting for him nor am I openly supporting him at this time.  Having gone over this in my mind many times, I finally came to the realization of what it is about Senator Cruz that holds me back.  The issue for me is as follow.  Would he be a president for all of the people or just his people?  Who do I have to thank for opening my eyes to what is bothering me about the Republican Senator from Texas?  Of all people, the Pope.

As I read that the Pope issued a statement alluding to his approval of contraception to prevent the Zika virus, a stance I would applaud, I immediately asked myself what I would expect to be the most obvious question to everyone.  Why have I not heard the same implication from the Pope that contraception is OK in the prevention of AIDS? When asked about it in November the Pope said the following:

“seems too small, partial, when there are bigger issues confronting humanity. I don’t like getting into questions or reflections that are so technical when people die because they don’t have water or food or housing”.

Delving deeper into this I found that the Pope has previously shown a predisposition to the use of contraception to prevent diseases in general, and the Pope’s comments about people not having water, food or housing were made after a trip to Africa, so any thought I would have that the Pope does not care about one group of people as much as he does about another would be unfair.  Nevertheless it did make me think.  In attacking Trump for his proposal to build a wall I could not help but at least consider that this Argentinian Pope was somewhat more connected to the plight of some over others.  Again, to be fair, I am stopping very short of accusing the Pope of putting importance on one group over another, but as I said earlier, what this did do was make me realize why I am not prepared to put my support behind Ted Cruz.  Simply put, I have serious questions as to whether or not he would be a president for all Americans.

For at least a year I have said that my next vote for president would be for the candidate I felt would be best for Israel and strongest on foreign affairs.  Ted Cruz was a staunch supporter of Israel long before he declared his candidacy and has been a friend of the Jewish state loudly and without apology.  He is aggressively against the deal with Iran and is very vocal about the need for identifying and going after Islamic terrorists.  For all these reasons I do like Ted Cruz. However, the more I hear him speak, the more I believe his religious conviction is so strong that people with socially liberal ideas like me, people with what he in a disparaging tone referred to as people with “New York values” would not be in line with how he would run the country.

I am all for people having religious devotion.  I have tremendous respect for other’s beliefs and have many friends who are devout Christians; some of whom will no doubt read this but also know that I have nothing but respect for how they choose to worship. No matter how strong someone’s faith is, regardless of what religion, if it is without prejudice and violence I respect and admire it.  That being said, as  a Jewish man I know I won’t be comfortable if an address from the Oval Office includes references to the importance of Christian values and a shout out to the Lord and savior. I may call Bernie Sanders out for what I perceive as a lack of pride in being Jewish, but that does not mean, should he become president, that I would want him to tell the people of the country that they should atone for their sins if he speaks to the nation between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

My issue is not about religious liberty. Senator Cruz is correct about religious liberty being a vital part of our free society and I guess I feel somewhat more included when he speaks of Judeo-Christian values.  However, that does not mean we should do away with the principal of separation of church and state, a concept at the very foundation of what makes America great.  The day we have a president of any faith that feels his way of living is the only correct way is the day this country loses its status as the greatest country in existence.  The very greatness of the United States of America is in the name itself.  It is a united group of people from all over the world with different ideas, beliefs and ways of life.  As long as freedom continues to be a prerequisite, America should continue to be defined by different people with different ideas and different backgrounds living together to create a great society.

For the record, this viewpoint of mine is nothing revolutionary. There’s a term for thinking this way. It’s called New York values.

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Today’s humanitarian:All Talk and no Action

article-2698331-1FCB64DE00000578-120_634x419As the world figuratively and in some places literally burns, where are all the humanitarians now?  I have never had a problem with those who have been upset with the deaths of civilians in Gaza, but it’s the rest of their behavior which reflects how disingenuous they often are.  A few weeks back I made mention of Pope Francis and how much I appreciated the way in which he discussed the events taking place in the world.  He pleaded to everyone fighting to stop fighting, practically crying to God in prayer. He has emphasized his concern over the last few days over the situation in Iraq, once again showing his understanding for what is happening in the world. Too many people however have taken a very different approach.

Gaza has been a popular cause.  One might even call the support for Gaza the latest fad, kind of like when Darfur was hot.  Once it was “Save Darfur”, now it’s “Free Gaza”.  People, some famous, many not famous, use these causes to show others and sometimes themselves, how good they are.  What caring people they are.  In reality they’re just followers lining up behind what they are hearing as important in the media without even knowing what is really happening on the ground.  Ask these same “Free Gaza” people, and I guarantee you they were many of the same “Save Darfur” people, what the situation in Darfur is today.  Ask them to name 2 cities in Gaza.  I’m very confident the answer to both would be the same, “I don’t know.”  Then ask them why they don’t open their mouth or protest the actions of ISIS and see what kind of response you get. I doubt it will be a very logical or intelligent one.  After all, Iraq isn’t a hot fad, at least not yet.

Its gets even worse with the high-profile people or agency workers or leaders.  Most likely the UN is busier investigating Israel for war crimes than it is addressing the humanitarian crisis and genocide taking place in Iraq.  Where are those who had so much to say about Gaza now?  Some of them are even Christians remaining silent to the horrors taking place against Christians.  For the athletes or entertainers that spoke out about Gaza, they are not much different from the sheep I referred to earlier.  For the agency heads and politicians that remain silent now, the behavior is nothing short of abhorrent and destroys any credibility they may have had.  Their neglect for their responsibilities not only doesn’t help the problem, it contributes to it by strengthening the resolve of the truly evil.  Whether or not it’s about money, politics or neglect, it’s clear that their humanitarianism in the end is a lot more talk than action.

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At a Crucial Time, the Pope gets it right

pope-francis-gaza-israelHow we react to the Pope Francis’s way of addressing the situation in Israel and Gaza has the potential to not only bring Jews closer to an important group of people but it also provides an important opportunity to those of us that support Israel and want peace in the region.  As I have made quite clear in many of my posts, my support for this war and the Israeli government is unwavering. However, by no mean does that mean I’m happy about the events taking place.

Like so many others standing with Israel I am heartbroken and frightened by the actions of evil people, not only with what they are doing, but with what they are causing to happen. I know Hamas is responsible for the ongoing tragedy in Gaza and I truly believe they must be stopped at all costs.  But I also don’t require those saddened by the situation to take a side, as long as their assessment is fair, balanced and without bias.  So when Pope Francis puts his emphasis into praying to God that the violence stops, and pleading openly that the fighting and killing stops, it is my opinion that he is using his platform appropriately.   The tendency of some might lean towards being critical of him for not taking a political stand, but I personally do not feel that way.  I believe we should not only support his stance, but encourage it as well.  A call for peace by a religious leader is a good thing, and besides being something we need more of, commending his position is the right thing to do from a Public Relations standpoint, something we can not ignore.

Don’t misinterpret my appreciation for the Pope’s position with a shift towards moderation.  The enemies this world is facing are barbaric in ways not seen since the Nazis in Europe and like the Nazis they will only be destroyed by force.  That being said the battle takes place on many fronts, and when the Pope prays and pleads for peace, he is doing the right thing and fighting it on his front.  If we recognize this we will be just as strong without getting dangerously desensitized.  A Pope urging people not to fight is a Pope using his influence for the right purpose.

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