Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dialogue, not Diatribe. Letter to the Denver post.

Over the past several  months, I have been part of a consortium of interfaith clergy sponsored by Colorado's Interfaith Alliance. Entitled "Interfaith Force For Good" and under the inspired leadership of Reverends Jim Ryan and Amanda Henderson, we are comprised of multi-racial and multi-cultural Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Sikh clergy and involved laity who come together for the express purpose of showing a face of religious leadership that is neither fundamentalist nor intolerant of others. Through the use of letters to the editor, Op-Ed pieces, social media, public pronouncements and personal example, our goal is to educate our community that the words "religious" and "tolerant" are not mutually exclusive.

It is unfortunate that, all too frequently, the loudest religious voices come from the far right. These are often voices of extremism, condemnation and intolerance. They foment anger and fear against some of the most vulnerable elements of society - including the LGBT community, Muslims, and minorities. During this volatile period in our nation's history-when we are divided along political, racial, religious, ethnic and economic lines, it is more important then ever to find reasoned, spiritual voices of moderation and acceptance.
Here is my letter to the editor that was recently published in the Denver Post:

To the Editor:
Our nation’s founders understood that tyranny and oppression were incompatible with Judeo-Christian principles.  They created a government that allowed a multiplicity of voices and opinion to be expressed.  Reasoned and respectful debate was built into our national DNA.

As a member of the Denver clergy, I am increasingly concerned by the tenor of political and societal discourse. People are afraid to talk to one another.  Friendships have been lost. Lines are being drawn in the sand. Fruitful dialogue has been replaced by hurtful diatribe.  This year’s presidential campaign, in particular, has been painful and divisive.

Now is the time for us to remember the words of the book of proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Isaiah urged us:  Come and let us reason together.” Our faith traditions provide us with powerful messages of tolerance. We need to heed them before it is too late.

Rabbi Joseph R. Black- Temple Emanuel, Denver, CO. 

(Click HERE for a link to the Denver Post Page:  )

1 comment:

  1. Yes, vocabulary is powerful and political. Thanks, Rabbi Joe. PS that's a saying from the Women's Movement!