Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Politics and religion.... Or where the Tweets took me

So I was squatting and releasing my morning tweets when this came out:
Inarguable right? The Republicans are out of favor, say the exit polls, because they are on the wrong side of issues like global warming and abortion, and because they put up a candidate who routinely expectorated on 47 percent of the electorate and closed things off with that outsized lie about Jeep. Let them disown the pastors, the racists, and the meth heads, let them disown FOX and divorce true conservatism from idiocy and the Republican party will be on much firmer footing for 2016.

My advice to Democrats (the next tweet) was a corollary of this:
Immediately afterwards, it occurred to me that what's true for politics is also true for religion. Ours is a wonderful culture, and a great faith, but (like the Republican party) we're held down by the morons, the misogynists and the magical thinkers.

If Judaism wants to win again, my advice to Jews is the same as my advice to the Republican party. We have to dump the idiots. Judaism isn't about ritual, not in its bones. The faith's earliest interpreters and most famous advocates didn't fight for extra chumrahs or argue that Judaism must be frozen in amber. They looked for solutions. They embraced the best science they could find. They were in favor of progress. They were in favor of relaxing restrictions so that Judaism might be a religion of life, rather than a burden. This attitude is what made Judaism a seedbed for world-changing philosophies and a voice of progress.

None of that obtains any more in the Judaism I know personally. Among the Orthodox, that type of Judaism is dead. Can it be reanimated? What will it take to get  Judaism to reclaim its legacy of social justice, its dismissiveness of empty ritual, and its desire to champion the causes of the poor, the widowed and the orphan?  What will it take to bring back the Judaism of Amos, Issiah, and Michah, and to rid ourselves of the Judaism of Poland and northern Ukraine?

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