Hanukkah in Alaska; light a candle for religious freedom - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, January 19, 2020
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Hanukkah in Alaska; light a candle for religious freedom

Monday is the final day of Hanukkah; this year so much of the eight-day celebration has been marred by fear among Americans of Jewish faith and heritage — and disturbing attacks on Jews in New York and Jersey City.

The most recent involved a knife attack at a rabbi’s house by a man politicians say is a terrorist. The man’s family says he is mentally ill.

CNN’s Jake Tapper, while interviewing Oren Segal of the Anti-Defamation League Center, remarked on Sunday that the anti-Semitic attacks carried out in New York City are largely not being committed by white supremacists, but by “people of color.” The attackers do not fit the liberal narrative that dominates the media these days.

What does not advance the public dialogue is when liberals make every crime or every insult into a “hate crime.” We’re seeing more of that tactic used in the public realm, where people are claiming anti-Semitism for every imagined slight, and then they call for the “cancel culture” to slice and dice the target, usually a conservative, such as Ben Shapiro, who is a practicing Jew and who doesn’t suffer fools on the Left.

It becomes more difficult to judge which crimes are hate crimes, and which are just crimes, when the Left uses these incidents for political gain.

Yet religious and ethnic intolerance cannot be ignored by conservatives.

It was good to see Gov. Mike Dunleavy at the Hanukkah menorah lighting in Palmer at the Depot on Sunday night, where they lit the giant menorah and observed traditions such as potato latkes, and Hanukkah crafts.

Christians must stand in solidarity with Jews — and people of all faiths — in rebuking hatred and violence of any sort. And they should do so with urgency from the pulpit when it comes to defending people of other faiths.

Also on Sunday, Christians were attacked as they worshiped in a Fort Worth suburb. The parishioners were armed, of course, and they took down the gunman. Two parishioners died, and the attacker died as well, shot by the church security detail. This was not described as a hate crime by the media; the perpetrator was described as a transient. We don’t know his motive and it is too dead to tell us.

But the incident reminds us of what presidential candidate Joe Biden said, just this past September, about the Texas law that allows gun owners to carry in places of worship: He said it is “irrational.”

New York doesn’t allow churches and synagogues to protect themselves against armed intruders. In fact, New York doesn’t allow citizens to protect themselves at all. That’s what Joe Biden calls rational.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Suzanne, I’ve only been on this site and specifically on your article for a few hours….”New Decade”

    I really appreciated the point of your article,,my opinion,,,that if we choose to forget yesterday’s mistakes we will Shirley(don’t call me Shirley) make the same mistakes tomorrow…

    Nobody can cover everyone’s feelings of causes and effects..but to discuss helps…

    However,,,as someone who took a peek into AK’s goings on….you folks are even more divided then us mere warm blooded folks down here in the lower 48.

    I loved my week in Cordova , “the quaint little drinking village with a fishing problem”…

    Y’all need to do more fishing….Thank you Suzanne for inspiring thought,,,reasonable or not!

    God Bless America,,,Sincerely, Slo’ in Reno, NV

  • Rather timely that we now get to judge the “rationality” of Joe Biden’s remark 3 months later in light of a prime example of whether it was indeed rational that a man intentionally killing people with a gun should have been stopped before he ran out of ammo. In this Texas case, it appears the rational thing was to stop the killing by killing the killer.
    I look forward to hearing how Joe lets those who were not killed that day acted irrationally by saving their own and others’ lives.

  • The anti-semites on the left need to be called out for what they are, and those on the left need to start doing so. There is a small racist contingent on the extreme right that believe in anti-Semitic views, but the anti-Semitic views of the left seems to run deep. There are elected officials, including sitting Congresswomen who have and continue to espouse clearly anti-Semitic views and those on the left make excuses for their hatred and bigotry. That must stop, we must stop harboring hatred in our midst and calling it ‘diversity’. The continued assault on a people for their religious beliefs and way of life cannot be accepted in this country, the continued hatred cannot be accepted.

  • I wouldn’t expect the leftist to begin calling out those within their ranks to stop with the hatred towards Jews and or Christian’s. Turns out that the enemy of my enemy is my friend and hatred of western values is the glue that binds the leftist to those of all stripes and creeds.

  • Great essay…
    .
    Wonder who’s celebrating religious freedom through inter-faith church/mosque/synagogue services in Alaska…

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