Keep politics off the pulpit

Keep politics off the pulpit

“When politics came to synagogue” (Feb. 16) was a welcome read.  It has been my observation that Jews have predominately been the most vocal advocates for the separation of church and state.  Yet, they also seem to view this separation as a one-way street.  To have any mention or presentation of religion in the public realm is anathema to many Jews, but to be lectured from the pulpit on the political issues of the day appears to be quite all right — providing, of course, that the tenor of the lecture conforms with one’s political beliefs.  

Invariably, as your article points out, those political beliefs are left of center in most non-Orthodox congregations.  It is understandable that many rabbis feel obligated to sermonize on the prevalent issues of our time, especially as they relate to our faith and its teachings. However, when these sermons engage the more divisive political issues and, at times, demonize those with an opposing viewpoint without giving the opportunity for those views to be aired, an ethical line has been crossed.  Spewing political views from the relative safety of the pulpit knowing full well they cannot be publicly challenged is something well short of brave and something which I simply cannot abide.  

Martin Marks

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