the other day one of the republican vice presidential hopefuls came out with a disturbing proposal, perhaps one of the most disturbing proposals i've heard in my lifetime. when newt gingrich suggested that we "test" every muslim in this country to determine if they "believed in sharia law" and then to expel those who do, he demonstrated that he and all those who would have one set of laws for one religious group and another set of laws for all others engage in the most vile sort of prejudice. jewish religious courts have functioned in this country and other countries, serving the needs of those who subscribe to certain expressions of the jewish religion, with no outrage from the bigots who scream about "sharia law." in israel, sharia courts are permitted for the resolution of legal questions among its muslim residents who choose to use them, and those courts seem to serve their purpose just as the jewish halacha courts do.
the scapegoating of an entire group of people for the bad acts of a few of its members is reprehensible. after the senseless murder of members of a prayer group in south carolina by a "christian" white supremacist, there were no calls from right-wing politicos to examine the practices of christians or to ban christians from coming into the country. clearly, it wasn't the religion that was at fault, rather this tragedy was the work of a warped mind with little understanding of the christian religion. similarly, the terrorist acts in france and elsewhere and the actions of the islamic state extremists have nothing to do with islam and everything to do with using religion as an excuse to justify the most hateful and repugnant practices. blaming islam for the misapplication of its teachings is anathema to everything that the usa stands for.
how frightening it is that there seems to be a large group of people in this country who are ready to follow politicians who spout such hateful rhetoric! how disturbing it is that there are candidates for high office who pander to bigots who have little understanding of the principles upon which the country was founded! may we condemn bigotry of every sort in the strongest terms. may we look for the common decency that we all share, regardless of religious belief or the absence of belief. may loving-kindness and compassion win over hatred and discrimination. shalom.