I am an independent Christian. I don't subscribe to any particular subset, as I have problems with each of them. I worship Christ, not a church. My pal mornblade describes me as an anarchristian, a word he coined, no matter what those idiots online say. That's a polite way of saying "renegade". Those who know me weren't the least surprised when I started firing broadsides at self-righteous religious folks in Stress Puppy (Loose Canons is still one of the favorite storylines, and Porpoise Driven Life gets a lot of snaps). But I thought religious opportunism and people like me who openly mock the contradictions, wrongheadedness, and heartlessness of organized religious were a uniquely Christian phenomena. I hadn't heard of it happening with any other major denominations...
...and the wizard pulls aside the curtain.
There's a weekly Jewish newspaper called Forward, and they have a columnist named Eli Valley. Valley made a cartoon called "The Odd Couple" that, to be polite, questions ulta-Orthodox Judaism and outreach programs. You can see it here on the right. It isn't very subtle. In other words, it's right up my alley.
Well, Rabbi Shafran, director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, writes on Cross Currents:
"Jewish religious sources maintain that catastrophes, even when they do not directly affect Jews, are nevertheless messages for them, wake-up calls to change for the better. Insurers call such occurrences ?Acts of G-d.? For Jews, the phrase is apt, and very such lamentable event demands a personal response...
The very week of the recent catastrophe in Haiti, a national Jewish newspaper published a comic strip featuring grotesque depictions of religious Jews and aimed at disparaging Jewish outreach to other Jews. And another Jewish newspaper ran an editorial placing the alleged ugly sins of an individual at the feet of Jewish rabbinic leaders, simply because the presumed sinner, before he was exposed, had arranged for several respected rabbis to deliver lectures and had encouraged people to make donations to their institutions. Having thus ?established? guilt by that association, the editorialist demanded that every Orthodox organization and rabbinic leader publicly condemn the alleged sinner or be smeared themselves with sin. Then he mocked rabbinic authorities as a group for, instead of issuing condemnations of sinners, rendering decisions on social and halachic matters, as if that were not precisely what rabbis are for."
So, just to make sure we're clear, he's saying the Haitian earthquakes are God's way of letting Jews know that Eli Valley's cartoon shouldn't have been printed, drawn, or even thought up. Nice. Somehow, when I think "interfaith," this isn't what I have in mind.