Glenn Beck Compares Reform Judaism To Radical Islam
In the process of attacking the 400 rabbis who signed a letter objecting to Glenn Beck’s comparisons of his detractors to Nazis, the talk host made the false charge that “there is not a single Orthodox rabbi on this list.” That being false is the least of the offense, however. Beck went on to proclaim that “Reformed” Judaism, unlike Orthodox Judaism, is more about politics than about faith. First, the branch of Judaism to which Beck refers is “Reform,” not “Reformed.” Second, as a Reform Jew myself, I can say firsthand that this is not true. And third, the notion of comparing mainstream American Judaism to radical Islam is outrageous and insulting.
Rabbi David Saperstein, the head of the movement’s Washington office, the Religious Action Center, told JTA the comments were “distasteful and offensive.”
“His description of the Reform movement ignores the fact that we’re the largest segment of American Jewry,” Saperstein said. “It has been over the last 30 years the fastest growing liberal theological denomination in America. And that is true because of the richness of the religious, spiritual and faith fulfillment it offers a very diverse constituency that defines our movement. For him to denigrate, not just all the Reform rabbis, Reform Judaism, but the million and half members of our synagogues is deeply distasteful and offensive.”
David Saperstein and I grew up in the same temple. His father, Harold, was my childhood rabbi, a great and wonderful man whose politics I never knew after spending my entire childhood and early adulthood worshiping in his congregation. Rabbi Harold Saperstein performed my Bar Mitzvah and family weddings. I attended four years of Hebrew school, a year of confirmation and Bible study and eight years of religious school under his guidance. Not once was politics discussed.
Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, who has not always been critical of Beck, put it well:
“To compare Reform Judaism, which supports democratic institutions, to Islamic extremism, which supports anti-democratic movements and the repression of basic rights – including, for example, the denial of women’s rights – is beyond the pale,” Foxman said. “Glenn Beck has no right to discount the faith of any people, and he should think twice before commenting on something he doesn’t know much about. He owes the Reform movement an apology.”Click here for reuse options!
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