It’s time to bury the charade of Judeo-Christianity. As Gene Zubovich points out, “The notion that the US is a nation bound together by civic principles enjoys a more distinguished history than the recently coined idea of the Judeo-Christian nation. It is also obvious that the US is more than a nation of many faiths. No wonder, then, that today Judeo-Christianity has few defenders apart from members of the Christian right, who use it to undermine the legitimacy of Muslims and the rapidly growing body of religiously unaffiliated Americans. The short career of Judeo-Christianity has already lasted too long.”
Read Zubovich’s brief overview of the history of this concept here: The strange, short career of Judeo-Christianity | Aeon Opinions
“This horrible discord, which has lasted for so many centuries, is a very striking lesson that we should pardon each other’s errors; discord is the great ill of mankind; and tolerance is the only remedy for it.” (Voltaire speaking on the long history of intolerance within the Christian world, Philosophical Dictionary)
As someone who has spent years studying religious and ethnic conflict, I have watched the current ascendance of violence and intolerance with much sadness. Every week I have a new story from around the globe (Syria, Israel, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, even Europe along with many other examples) to share with my students. By now they’re probably tired of the depressing news, but these stories are relevant to the twentieth-century horrors that we are reviewing in class. Will we ever learn?
The idea that toleration was a virtue was a hard-won lesson of the wars of religion that engulfed Europe in the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation. Unfortunately, it is not a lesson that has taken hold completely even in the West. Despite the many factors that have contributed to the rise of violence, it is the spirit of intolerance that is fueling the violence and hatred. This is why Mustafa Akyol has called for “A Letter Concerning Muslim Toleration” (in honor of John Locke’s famous Letter Concerning Toleration. Unfortunately, it is a value that takes years (as the Western example shows) to cultivate.
Read the entire article here: History News Network | The Frightening Return of Religious Wars
In 1492 the Jews of Spain were given the choice of converting to Christianity or leaving. Many fled to the Ottoman Empire, where they were welcomed by the Sultan Bayezid II. At the time it was the Muslim world that was tolerant in contrast to Catholic Europe. Now the tables have turned. While the Sephardic Jews in Turkey are not under the same threat they faced in 15th century Spain, they are concerned in the face of a rising antisemitism. According to The New York Times, “[m]any Turks put the blame for the rise in anti-Jewish feelings on the actions of the Israeli government, particularly the killing of civilians during the Gaza war.” This is unfortunate. If anyone should be against generalizing from particular members of a group to the whole, it should be Muslims. It is a mistake to blame the Sephardic Jews in Turkey for what the Israeli government has done. The Israeli government does not represent all Jews or even all Israelis. Many Israelis disagree with the rhetoric and actions of the Israeli government. Similarly, it is a mistake to blame all Muslims for the actions of a few. This type of generalizing has been responsible for so much human suffering throughout human history. Will we ever learn?!
Sephardic Jews Feel Bigotry’s Sting in Turkey and a Pull Back to Spain – NYTimes.com.
Sultan Bayazid II welcomes Jews expelled from Spain