“A Few Comments on Recent Events and Some Thoughts and Observations,” by Andrew J. Schatkin
I would like to offer my views on some recent events and offer my thoughts.
Recently three Federal District Court Judges ruled again the Trump administration on its adding a citizenship question on the 2020 census. First, let me note that I am far from being in an equal station or position as a Federal District Court Judge charged with the decision-making power over national and even international matters of great and significant importance. I merely offer some thoughts, however limited on this issue. The Trump administration proposes a citizenship question in the 2020 census. US District Court Judge George Hazel in Maryland wrote in his 119-page decision that the question will cause a differential decline in Census participation among noncitizen and Hispanic households. That could be true and valid: noncitizens may have a fear of being found out and possibly, given that person’s illegal status, being deported. Noncitizens may in fact be identified by the census. The remedy need not be deportation but illegality and the violation of the law should be revealed and be properly handled by our authorities. Similarly, in March US District Court Judge Seeborg, a US District Court Judge of the Northern District of California, stated the question was effective in preventing responses from immigrants and noncitizens. Again, I am not in an equal position with Judge Seeborg. But the fact is that illegal immigrants have no right to be here or participate in our democratic system. Finally, I can only say that citizenship is a privilege which can be obtained legally. Millions of the poor and oppressed have passed through Ellis Island. This citizenship is a valid attempt through the census to find and determine legal status of our population base and is not wrong or discriminatory; it is nothing more than the proper operation of a society that must be based on law. We should not and cannot allow our system to be manipulated and twisted for whatever purposes by illegal immigrants.
I would not like to talk about another newsworthy matter. That issue arose over Rider University’s Dean’s decision to resign over the school’s rejection of the chicken chain Chick-Fil-A. The school had registered opposition to the restaurant chain’s perceived discrimination towards the LGBTQ community. I see faulty reasoning and misunderstanding. It was reported that this chain came under fire in 2012 when the CEO Dan Cathy, a conservative Christian, revealed his disapproval of gay marriage. Many churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, most Orthodox churches, and the more conservative churches, as well as individuals and Orthodox Jews and persons of the Islamic faith, oppose gay marriage. This position, at least as to the Christian groups I mentioned, comes from biblical authority in the Book of Leviticus and from certain statements of St. Paul in his letters, as well as the statement of Jesus that marriage should be between man and woman. Thus, the position of Rider College misses the point where it interprets the position of Chick-Fil-A as prejudice and discrimination when in fact it is a religious and theological position held by many in many societies. The owner of Chick-Fil-A holds a widely-held theological position and is within his rights to hold this position and belief. I would add that I have no prejudice or discrimination to the LGBTQ community, and as a Christian I seek to treat them with compassion and love even though I have religious objections to that lifestyle.
I now want to talk about something else. It has been reported that the State of Tennessee is attempting to ban gay marriage in the State. The law endorsing gay marriage by the US Supreme Court is the law and should be obeyed. However, I say this: I am of the opinion that it could be argued legally that marriage is a state concern and not a constitutional right based on equal protection and due process. The State issues marriage licenses and governs divorces. It is possible that this is not a matter of constitutional rights and enforcement and may not be equated with race and sex discrimination issues.
Finally, two news reports on this issue refer to and use the term “turning back the clock” and “a step backward.” These terms are misleading and political. First, the judgment that past views and values are backward and turning back the clock is working on the assumption that past or prior positions are backward because they are older views and older views are by definition incorrect. Many religious bodies, including the Roman Catholic Church, Islam, the Orthodox Jewish community, most Orthodox church bodies, and conservative protestant churches, reject gay marriage as an option. Many individuals oppose gay marriage and there is significant Biblical authority on this issue. To use the terms ‘backward’ and ‘turning back the clock’ ignores the possible theological, historical, and legal validity of the position of the state of Tennessee on this issue. Better put, we stand on the shoulders of the past, which we reject at our peril.
Now I would like to comment on a news item in the Washington Post concerning a Catholic school in Kansas and its refusal to admit a same-sex couple’s kindergarten-aged child. The congregants in a letter stated the decision lacks the compassion and mercy of Christ’s message. Again, this thinking is faulty. For 2,000 years, this ancient church has taken this position. One need only consult the Catholic catechism which, whether you agree with it or not, refers to this behavior pattern as a disorder, and also says that our gay brothers and sisters must be treated with love and compassion Jesus died for all of us to rescue us from our sins. Sin is a reality that can be eradicated only by the sacrifice and blood of Christ. Let me add most emphatically that I firmly take the view that there should be no discrimination or hostility directed to the gay or LGBTQ community and that all people are entitled to love and compassion.
As a last topic, I would like to address and talk about a matter that is of great and pressing concern. That is the recurrence and reemergence of anti-Semitism in our society. I first note the comments of Rep. Ilhan Omar, referring to dual allegiance with respect for support for Israel.
Reps Omar and Tlaib both have come out in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that aims to put economic and political pressure on Israel over its actions toward the Palestinians and calls for an end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Omar stated that Israel should be held accountable for living up to American values. Omar is reported as saying that Israel has hypnotized the world and may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. Omar also suggested that lawmakers only support Israel because of Jewish lobbying influence and money. Tlaib stated she was planning to lead a congressional delegation to the West Bank. Omar stated that Israel fails to recognize other religions living in it and we still uphold Israel as a democracy. Tlaib stated the BDS movement was about racism, and inequality. Omar used the term “Benjamins,” a stereotype of Jewish Americans. Omar also stated and named the American Israel Public Affairs Committee of AIPAC as funding Republican support for Israel.
Taking a close look at these remarks, they obviously reveal a resurgence of anti-Semitism that appears to come from some elements in the Muslim culture. The remarks demonstrate an anti-Jewish bias seen in the endorsement of the divestment movement and various clear anti-Semitic statements and remarks. A World War was fought on this thinking. What is seen here is not only an obviously bold anti-Semitism never thought possible in our society and system, but an attempt to impose the validity and acceptability of this thinking which caused the horrible deaths of 8 million of our Jewish brothers and sisters, and lead to the State of Israel as a haven for the surviving world Jewish population. As a Christian, I am extremely distressed by this hostile and hate-filled thinking. Judaism and the Hebrew Bible are the cradle of the Christian faith and that history and tie can never be severed. God will never abandon his covenant with the Jewish people. That covenant will endure to the end of time. Out of Judaism came Jesus; came the disciples; and came St. Paul. Judaism is the cradle of Christianity and I abhor and detest what is being said here. The history of the Jewish people has been one of persecution on the part of evil and Satanic forces that seek to destroy and break that covenant. I suggest Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib become informed.