We Must Vigilant in the Fight against Antisemitism

In a recent speech, Pope Francis said:

At present, however, a source of great concern to me is the spread, in many places, of a climate of wickedness and fury, in which an excessive and depraved hatred is taking root. I think especially of the outbreak of anti-Semitic attacks in various countries. Today I also wish to reiterate that it is necessary to be vigilant about such a phenomenon: “History teaches us where even the slightest perceptible forms of anti-Semitism can lead: the human tragedy of the Shoah in which two-thirds of European Jewry were annihilated” (Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable, 47). I stress that for a Christian any form of antisemitism is a rejection of one’s own origins, a complete contradiction….

In the fight against hatred and antisemitism, an important tool is interreligious dialogue, aimed at promoting a commitment to peace, mutual respect, the protection of life, religious freedom, and the care of creation. Jews and Christians, moreover, share a rich spiritual heritage, which allows us to do much good together. At a time when the West is exposed to a depersonalizing secularism, it falls to believers to seek out each other and to cooperate in making divine love more visible for humanity; and to carry out concrete gestures of closeness to counter the growth of indifference….

In a world where the distance between the many who have little and the few who have much grows every day, we are called to take care of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, the weak, the sick, children, and the elderly.

In serving humanity, as in our dialogue, young people are waiting to be involved more fully; they want to dream and are open to discovering new ideals. I want to emphasize, therefore, the importance of the formation of future generations in Jewish-Christian dialogue. The shared commitment in the area of educating the young is also an effective means of countering violence and opening new paths of peace with all.

EJ Dionne writes:

Bigotry is bigotry. It must always be opposed.

This is why the dangerously careless use of language by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) about Jews and Israel — she spoke of people who “push for allegiance to a foreign country” — has been cause for both heartbreak and anger.

I get that some readers will see my use of the word “careless” as too soft because the dual-loyalty charge has historically been so poisonous. But in refraining from stronger language I’m putting my bet on hope….

Anti-Semitism is utterly antithetical to anything that deserves to be called liberal or progressive. Surely Omar doesn’t want the Democrats ensnared in the sort of left-wing anti-Semitism now haunting the British Labour Party.

Opposing anti-Semitism should be axiomatic for everyone….

Thus, my sympathies have always been with the beleaguered peace camps on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. This has led to deep frustration with Palestinian rejectionists, but also with the politics of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu….

So, yes, I know full well that you can love Israel, be critical of its current government and truly despise anti-Semitism, all at the same time. What you cannot do is play fast and loose with language that cannot help but be seen as anti-Semitic. I pray Omar now realizes this. At this moment, opponents of bigotry must be able to rely on each other.

MSW on why “The cancer of anti-Semitism must be excised from the Left”:

There was a time in the not so distant past when trafficking in one of the classic memes of anti-Semitism was considered beneath contempt, the kind of thing that garnered universal condemnation. Apparently, the House Democratic caucus is no longer such a place. They watered down a resolution against anti-Semitism rather than take a forceful stand against this most malignant of cultural cancers.

The fracas within the Democratic caucus was ignited by a comment made by Rep. Ilhan Omar: “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is O.K. to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” The allegation is twofold: that American Jews exhibit a dual loyalty, “political allegiance” to Israel, and that their influence is a sinister one.

Perhaps some people are not aware of the long history of the charge of dual loyalty. Before the founding of the state of Israel, the idea was that Jews were not loyal to the country where they lived, that they were indelibly “other,” that they lacked the pristine blood of, say, a full-blooded Spaniard. That last iteration of the charge dates back to the Inquisition in Spain. Jews were portrayed at different times and in different ways as selfish, caring only about themselves, or about money.

Whatever the differences of the portrayals, anti-Semitism manifested itself in virtually every European country and, indeed, it is older than most countries….

I can understand people’s frustration with having to call out Congresswoman Omar when we have a racist bigot in the White House. As ugly as her comment was, it was no worse than Trump’s post-Charlottesville comments about “both sides” having “good people” when one side had marched through the streets chanting “The Jews will not replace us.” Good people do not do that. Let us stipulate that the Republicans and Fox News are hypocrites. Is anyone surprised?…

Last week, I wrote about the fact that President Trump and the Republicans who enable him are defining deviancy down. All those Democrats who insisted that the original resolution denouncing anti-Semitism be watered down did the same last week. When someone burglarizes your house, it is all well and good to denounce burglary, but you want the man who did it caught. The cancer of anti-Semitism will continue to grow on the Left unless it is excised. The sooner the surgery, the more likely the Left will achieve a full recovery. If history is any judge, the cancer will spread. It is too horrible to contemplate.

Nichole Flores on Lent and Ella Baker

Millennial writer Nichole Flores to UVA Today:

I think the beginning of Lent comes at an advantageous time for the church this year, on the heels of the Vatican Summit on the protection of minors. It is a time, built within the liturgical calendar, for lament, confession and acknowledgement of sin and the suffering caused by our sin. I think it is appropriate for Catholics in the pews to particularly embrace that practice this year.

I also hope church leaders will use it as an opportunity to remember the real heart of the church, to repent and hopefully to reconcile with their members and the larger world, both of which have understandably lost a degree of trust in the institution.

In addition, she shared her research and reflections on Ella Baker, a civil rights activist and organizer whose work in the civil rights movement focused on empowering the poor and the young, on Can I Get a Witness? The Podcast. You can listen to the podcast here.

Anna Sutherland (1989-2019)

Anna Sutherland passed away last Wednesday. She wrote the terrific article “Conservatives Must Increase Economic Security Not Undermine It,” as a guest contributor for Millennial. Her work was smart, thoughtful, fair, fact-driven, precise, and rooted in a thoroughly Catholic worldview. We invited her multiple times to become an official writer for Millennial, viewing her as a brilliant pro-family voice and someone who could—perhaps more effectively than anyone else in our generation—articulate an authentically Catholic, far more communitarian alternative to the popular strands of contemporary American conservatism. We are heartbroken by the news. She leaves behind a husband and three young children. All who knew her well attest to her character, loving nature, and deep faith.

Please join us in praying for her and all of her loved ones.

Her obituary is below, and you can find more information about her funeral mass and services here.

Anna Marie (Williams) Sutherland suddenly and unexpectedly passed away at home on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 of a cardiac condition. She was born to David and Marie (Miller) Williams on May 9, 1989. She married her college sweetheart, Edward Sutherland in 2013. She is sorely missed by her husband and three daughters Marie Ann (4 years old), Rose Colomba (2 years old), and Grace Faustina (4 months); parents David and Marie, siblings Sr. Maria Regina, SV (Karen), Doug, Clare, and Molly; parents-in-law Joseph and Geralynn (Rhein) Sutherland; siblings-in-law Justin and Anne-Marie (Sutherland) Ducote, Peter, Audrey, Thomas, George, Patrick, Michael, and Elizabeth Sutherland; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Anna ran varsity cross-country and was captain of her track team during high school. She attended Hillsdale College and graduated in the top 10 of her class in 2011 with a degree in English.

Anna was a gifted writer and editor. Following college she worked on the editorial board for USA TODAY as a Collegiate Network Fellow for one year before working as a Junior Fellow with First Things journal for one year. Following her marriage to Edward Sutherland in 2013 she worked for the Institute for Family Studies (IFS), continued copyediting for First Things, and started freelance editing for many scholars around the world. However, more than anything else Anna loved being a mother. She gave herself completely to her daughters.

Anna possessed a strong intellect and character. She enjoyed discussing and debating religion, art, poetry, history, literature, and politics privately with friends and family, as well as publicly in the pages of First Things or head-to-head with the editorial board of USA TODAY. She was a voracious reader and instilled a love of literature in her daughters.

Anna loved her Catholic faith deeply. She attended SS. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church in Sterling Heights, MI. She founded and headed a ministry at her parish that delivered meals to new mother and families facing a hardship.
She loved her husband, daughters, parents, siblings, and friends dearly. Her encouragement, loving heart, thoughtfulness, and generosity brightened many days for many people. She has left a hole in our lives, and is deeply missed.

Unbreaking America: A New Short Film with Jennifer Lawrence about Solving the Corruption Crisis with Political Reform

RepresentUs board member Jennifer Lawrence and Director of RepresentUs Josh Silver explain the dysfunction and legal corruption in the US system of government, how it can be fixed, and what the American people can do about it. The organization exists to bring together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass powerful anti-corruption laws that stop political bribery, end secret money, and fix our broken elections.

Pope Francis: Do You Live for Fire or Ash?

Here are some key points from Pope Francis’ Ash Wednesday homily:

  • Lent opens with a piercing sound, that of a trumpet that does not please the ears, but instead proclaims a fast. It is a loud sound that seeks to slow down our life, which is so fast-paced, yet often directionless. It is a summons to stop – a “halt!” –, to focus on what is essential, to fast from the unnecessary things that distract us. It is a wake-up call for the soul.
  • Lent is the time to rediscover the direction of life. Because in life’s journey, as in every journey, what really matters is not to lose sight of the goal.
  • Return to me, says the Lord. To me. The Lord is the goal of our journey in this world. The direction must lead to him.
  • Our thoughts often focus on transient things, which come and go. The small mark of ash, which we will receive, is a subtle yet real reminder that of the many things occupying our thoughts, that we chase after and worry about every day, nothing will remain. No matter how hard we work, we will take no wealth with us from this life. Earthly realities fade away like dust in the wind. Possessions are temporary, power passes, success wanes. The culture of appearance prevalent today, which persuades us to live for passing things, is a great deception.
  • Lent is the time to free ourselves from the illusion of chasing after dust. Lent is for rediscovering that we are created for the inextinguishable flame, not for ashes that immediately disappear; for God, not for the world; for the eternity of heaven, not for earthly deceit; for the freedom of the children of God, not for slavery to things. We should ask ourselves today: Where do I stand? Do I live for fire or for ash?
  • Prayer reunites us to God; charity, to our neighbour; fasting, to ourselves. God, my neighbour, my life: these are the realities that do not fade away and in which we must invest.
  • Outward appearance, money, a career or hobby: if we live for them, they will become idols that enslave us, sirens that charm us and then cast us adrift. Whereas if our heart is attached to what does not pass away, we rediscover ourselves and are set free. Lent is the time of grace that liberates the heart from vanity. It is a time of healing from addictions that seduce us. It is a time to fix our gaze on what abides.
  • Where can we fix our gaze, then, throughout this Lenten journey? It is simple: upon the Crucified one. Jesus on the cross is life’s compass, which directs us to heaven.
  • We will never move forward if we are heavily weighed down. We need to free ourselves from the clutches of consumerism and the snares of selfishness, from always wanting more, from never being satisfied, and from a heart closed to the needs of the poor.