in religious unity
judaism's civil war.
Religious News Service
CARLA JEAN SCHWARTZ
A profile look at GOP volunteer and
Israel activist Debbie Schlussel.
Rev. Pat Robertson
Rev. Jesse Jackson
The Troubling Questions About
The New Right Religionists
RABBI HAROLD M. SCHULWEIS
f labels mean anything, I suppose I am
liberal theologically and politically.
While I may not rejoice over the rise of
ultra-conservative fundamentalist groups
forming political coalitions I cannot,
without duplicity, oppose their right to
The indignation of liberals over the
political assertiveness of new right fun-
damentalism in the elections is misplaced.
If religion is not a sequestered Sabbath af-
fair limited to the four cubits of prayer, why
should the political arena be declared "off
limits"? If one may quote the prophet Amos
to support a concern for social welfare to
the poor and the aged, why should citation
from Leviticus 18:22 to support opposition
to homosexuality be ruled out of order? Or,
if the Rev. Jackson qualifies to run the
political gauntlet, why not the Rev.
Those who were critical of the silence
of institutional religion in the face of Jim
Crow, anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic
manifestations correctly demanded that
religion enter the market place of political
life. They were proud of the church and
synagogue which rallied around the Rev.
Martin Luther King's struggle for civil
rights. Are they now to muzzle the
evangelical voices of those who seek to in-
fluence political opinion in opposition to
such issues as abortion and the ERA
because they are not our liberal positions?
Is it a matter of principle or partisanship
that offends us?
What alarms me about the new coali-
tion of single-issue organizations united
Harold M. Schulweis is rabbi of Valley Beth
Shalom in Encino, Calif
under the umbrella organization of Jerry
Falwell's old New Moral Majority Inc. is not
the political influence of the claimed
membership of two million people nor its
annual budget of $5 million. What disturbs
me is not the moral and/or political posi-
tions taken by the New Right evangelicals
with which I disagree.
What is troubling is the way they
legitimate their stance and the manner in
which their opposition is treated.
For those who disagree with the new
right religionists are not simply judged as
wrong but are characteristically condemn-
ed as sinners. They are not regarded as
adversaries who err but as heretics who op-
pose Christ. It is not then their advocacy
of ultra-conservative positions but their
demonization of those who disagree with
them that is offensive. The conversion of
political opponents into anti-Christ figures
threatens to divide our country into
children of light and children of darkness.
The Rev. Robertson, for example, has
every right to defend the creationist view
of the origin of the universe. I disagree, but
I find nothing sinister in his argument that
the Darwinian evolutionary theory should
be treated as a hypothesis. What is
frightening are those of his followers who
label the defenders of Darwin "Christ-
killers" and "perverts!'
This is the stuff out of which inquisi-
tion is spawned. This is the kind of
religious paranoia which conjures up
McCarthyite images, of registering com-
munists and "stamping on their heads" the
mark of their registered identification.
This is alien to the religious spirit that
seeks understanding. "Come let us reason
together" (Isaiah 1:18). Excommunication
is not argumentation. Name calling is not
For the sake of mature religion I am
Continued on Page 10
Sylvia Zukin's positive outlook carries
over to personal fitness.
Thrift shops run by Jewish groups are
profitable on several levels.
Slice For Israel
Domino's Tom Monaghan has
franchise plans for the Holy Land.
Legacy In Dance
A dance production
in Ann Arbor
is a Holocaust legacy.
Single immigrants from Detroit have
taken different paths into Israel society.
Life In Israel
March 1, 1988