Thursday, April 21, 2005

Reducto Ad Hitlerum

The New Republic lands a solid punch on Uncle Tom Lapin, show Rabbi of the religious right, here:
There is no rhetorical tactic more overwrought than comparing one's ideological opponents to Nazis. So it comes as no surprise that a politically conservative clergyman has insensitively compared an international gay pride festival and march planned for Jerusalem this summer to "the Nazis marching in Skokie."

What is a surprise is that this disrespectful and inapt comparison comes from a Jewish clergyman, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, president of the conservative political group Toward Tradition. Lapin is not the only religious leader to voice objections to the World Pride Festival. On March 30, a coalition of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim clerics came together to announce their united opposition to its presence in Jerusalem. It would have been heartening to see these disparate groups united in something. Too bad it was only in their common bigotry.

That bigotry may be genuinely theological in origin, but Lapin's dishonesty is not. Religious leaders may object to homosexuality, but they cannot plausibly claim that the gay pride parade advocates intolerance--much less harm--against people of faith, as the neo-Nazis marching in Skokie clearly wished on the city's largely Jewish population. In using such outlandish rhetoric, Lapin is a bit like Goebbels--oops, did we say that?