osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

I get annoyed at Rick Warren For cultural appropriation

Dear Rick Warren and other Christian people who want to use Jewish examples to argue that you are oppressed by various laws like the insurance mandate.

As an Orthodox Jew, I can assure you that we have an extremely rich and complex methodology for resolving conflicts of secular law with our religious code -- an exciting byproduct of, among other things, nearly 1700 years of Christian oppression starting when Constantine Christianized the Roman Empire. (And prior to that living under the rule of idolatrous Greeks, Romans, Persians.) Y'all might want to study it.

But even if you don't, please stop trying to co-opt my religion for your political purposes when you clearly know jack shit about it. If you find this irreconcilable with your religious belief, I suggest you do what my ancestors did for the last 2,000 years when confronted with edicts to do things like convert to Christianity or die -- GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. Srsly. When the conflict arises between your duty to God and your creature comforts under secular law, you flippin' make the sacrifice. You think (some of) my ancestors left Russia because they wanted to? Hell no, they left to avoid the edict that Jews must serve in the army so that the Czar's soldiers could kick the shit out of them until they converted to Christianity. Confronted with this irreconcilable conflict between secular law and our religious convictions we RAN OUR FREAKIN' ASSES OFF.

Closer to home, my wife spent several years after graduating pharmacy school working temp jobs. Why? Because every pharmacy wanted her to work on Saturday. She said: 'I'll work Sundays instead." They said: 'Sorry, it is not worth it for us to adjust our schedule to accommodate you.' And that was that.

To be clear, I'm not telling you that you shouldn't take advantage of the freedoms we have to protest a law you don't like because you feel it violates your religious principles. That's your right and one of the great things about this country. I am also not going to try to tell you that the law doesn't actually, violate your religious principles. That's for you to decide. But, as the Mormons discovered when they wanted Utah to become a state, not every religious exercise is protected and we as a society have to balance the need to respect religious freedom v. a law of general applicability judged necessary for a well-ordered society.

I just would appreciate it if you would not make analogies to my religion and drag us into it. The more so because if there *were* a law that said "all places that sell meat must make pork available to any patron that wants it," that would not violate Jewish law. Oh, it would be an expensive pain in the patootie to manage so that the pork did not contaminate the kosher food, but there is no law against benefiting from the sale of pork. So the analogy doesn't really hold for those of us who actually know the law.

So, to summarize, (a) please stop trying to co-opt my cultural oppression (a lot of it done by your Christian forbears, for which I do not hold you responsible (hey, you weren't even born yet) but which does add irony here) for your own political purposes; and, (b) if you are, then please get it right and actually study the law. Because we did not have the luxury to whine and piss and moan and sue people over things like this. We had to friggin' deal with it, flee for our lives, or die.

Love and smoochies.

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