I Know Who My Allies Are (Romney’s “Faith In America” Speech)

December 7, 2007 at 2:57 pm (injustice, politics, proclamations) ()

If you haven’t yet been subjected to Mr. Romney’s recent address, you can read it here, or watch it here: part 1, part 2. I also recommend th thoughts of Hugo Schwyzer, PZ Myers, and Pam Spaulding.

There’s not a lot to add to what those smart people have already said, but here’s what I’ve got:

I’m a Jew. I’m figuring out everyday what the means for me in terms of belief or lack thereof in God, but I know very clearly what it means for me in terms of my relationship to governments past and present.

I once told my mother I wanted to get some kind of Jewish tattoo: a Star of David, maybe, or maybe the text of the Sh’ma. She told me I could get anything in the world but that. And why?

“You don’t know they won’t come back.”

This kind of sentiment echoed throughout my entire childhood.

“You don’t know the Nazis won’t come back.”

“You don’t know that Israel won’t be wiped off the face of the earth.”

“You don’t know that the government of the United States won’t turn against the Jews.”

These are direct quotes.

My family may be given to paranoia (just look at this blog, ha), but they’re not completely wrong. It happened to my grandparents. It could happen to you, to me. Maybe it won’t be the Jews this time. But it will be somebody.

It doesn’t matter whether I believe in God or not. It doesn’t matter whether I choose to practice. I will always be a Jew.

Romney mentioned the Jews in his speech, including them in his in-group of believers. He further said (and Hugo Schwyzer latches on to this sentence too), “Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me.”

But I know who my friends and allies are, and they are not neoconservative Christian fundamentalists (all of whom look just about the same to me). I know who will protect my right to my traditions. I know who will protect the liberal, semi-secular synagogue where my brother was bar mitzvahed last month. I know who will protect my religion’s traditions of discussion, debate, and reinterpretation. I know who will protect our values of justice, education, and community. I know who will stand with us against violence and exploitation. I know who will stand with us and say, with seriousness, “Never again.”

And it’s not people who think that “freedom requires religion.” It’s not someone who would equate a “believer in religious freedom” with “any person who has knelt in prayer.” It’s not someone who completely discounts atheists, implying that being an American, and appreciating American freedom, requires a belief in his God.

It’s not someone who would say that appreciating freedom requires anything. The moment you have committed yourself to the idea that any subset of humanity is incapable or undeserving of liberty, you are no ally of mine.

As a woman, an American, a religious person, and a Jew, I trust the atheists, the agnostics, the secular humanists, the intellectuals. To whatever extent that fellow religious people overlap with those groups, I trust them, too. These are my real allies. An enemy of secular values is my enemy, too.

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11 Comments

  1. Greg Jerome said,

    Wow. What a well written statement. Let’s hope it never comes to that, but you certainly would have the atheists right beside you.

  2. Daisy said,

    Thank you, Greg.

  3. moonbeammcqueen said,

    Wow, Daisy– what a beautifully written post. Thanks!

    Thought you might be interested in this site.

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Tattoo_Ideas_Hebrew_Words_Phrases

  4. Hugo said,

    Indeed, Daisy, well-said. And I think a tattoo of the Sh’ma Yisrael would be pretty damn terrific.

  5. Mormons, Aetheists, and Jews « Utica Progressive said,

    […] 7, 2007 Posted by Greg Jerome in Atheism, Peace, Politics, Religion. trackback An absolutely amazing post from Daisy at Our Descent Into Madness dealing with Romney’s Mormon speech and the […]

  6. Daisy said,

    Moonbeam, thanks for the link! Those tattoos are gorgeous — I’ve seen Hebrew tattoos so rarely. Sorry for any delay in your comment appearing, I just rescued it from the spam filter.

    And Hugo, I’m glad you think so. That tattoo idea is still on my mind.

  7. fitnessfortheoccasion said,

    That was beautiful.

    It’s not someone who would say that appreciating freedom requires anything. The moment you have committed yourself to the idea that any subset of humanity is incapable or undeserving of liberty, you are no ally of mine.

    Yeah!

    Our allies promote freedom for everyone. Period.

    I’ve heard the “You don’t know they won’t come back” before in my family. And the thing is, they are back. Its just that the ones in power in the US aren’t after the Jews. But the same genocidal horror that stalked Europe is alive and well all over the world.

  8. Daisy said,

    Fitness: absolutely. And that’s horrifying and unacceptable.

  9. robertjerome said,

    Well said, Daisy. I believe in God and despise the fundis too. Just like everything else in Republican philosophy their twisted, contradictory belief system is a bit psychotic. I prefer logical and pragmatic policies which is why I am a liberal democrat.

  10. robertjerome said,

  11. Daisy said,

    Thank you, Robert. I’m glad to see more like-minded people

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