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Freedom of Religion, take two (aspirin and don’t call me in the morning!)

January 13, 2010

Yesterday I received the following comment to my post, “Its about Jesus, Plain and Simple.”  Below that is my response.

“Yes, Christians should have freedom of religion in your “Jewish State”.  I have a hard time believing that a Jew within history’s memory of the Nazi holocaust would even ask such a question!  Persecution is persecution, and is wrong.

Also, as an American, I have a BIG problem with sponsoring religious states, or state religions.  The USA sends a lot of money and support to Israel.  If Israel chooses to advance a religious apartheid, I don’t think that US support can be sustained (freedom of religion is one of our foundational tenets) .  US support to Israel is pretty strained as it is, politically, because of Zionism’s apparent disinterest in honoring the Palestinians’ rights and property.

The rest of the world strives to remember the Holocaust – ___ help us if the Israel forgets.”

Just because you don’t believe in State-sponsored religion does not make it wrong.  After all, the original state of Israel was established by God as a theocracy – talk about a state religion!  America may claim to not have state-sponsored religion, but if that were truly the case, Christmas wouldn’t be a national holiday, and it is.

In addition, America, which is the bastion of freedom of religion, still limits those freedoms.  One may not kill in the name of their religion, one may not traffic illegal drugs or weapons in the name of religion and one may not commit acts of abuse against children in the name of religion.  Every state MUST establish limits when the practice of one individual’s freedom encroaches on the freedoms of another individual.

Korean Missionaries exercising Freedom of Religion in Jerusalem

In the same way, Israel, as an independent and sovereign state, has the obligation to ensure that the freedoms of one group do not encroach on the freedoms of another group or individual.  This involves establishing limits to all freedoms.

Israel does have freedom of religion – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze, B’hai and a myriad of other religious observers have complete freedom to believe according to their own personal convictions.  They also have the freedom to assemble and worship according to their own convictions.  Any activities that fall outside of those two categories are subject to limitations as they are in any other sovereign state and each state has the right to draw those lines where it sees fit.

In a true democracy, the limitations of certain freedoms are determined by the values of the citizens of that state, and may vary from state to state depending on a variety of cultural, ethnic and religious norms.  In the case of Israel, it’s establishment was specifically to grant the Jewish people a homeland and a place where they could practice their Judaism (according to their own convictions) free from the persecution of the state or the majority  – something the Jewish people have not had since the Roman exile in 70CE.  Part of the freedom from persecution for being a Jew, according to the majority of citizens of the State of Israel, is the freedom from harassment by well-meaning Christians who would try to convince us, without invitation, that our Faith is insufficient, that we do not have a relationship with God, and that we are all going to burn in Hell forever in retribution for our rejection of their convictions.

If you don’t like that, don’t become a citizen of this country – you have the freedom to stay where you are!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Eliahu Beleck permalink
    January 14, 2010 12:46 am

    Excellent response Mrs. Tal-Ohr!

  2. Folke Holtz permalink
    April 1, 2010 3:02 pm

    When I was in jerusalem I meet those who sang in ben Yehuda Street. What I wish then I am drinking cofie or soemthing else is to hear Jewish vibrant misic such as Hasidic songs and Israeli folklore. Despite of so called religious freedom in Jerusalem it shall be a dominant Jewish music and Jewish culture.

    I love it so much that I wish then I come to Jersualem to breathe in the music and culture that is in the air of Jerusalem.
    wow for the Judaism,

    Kol tuv.

    Folke/ Eliyahu

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