The "Religion" section had an article by Rabbi Daniel Brenner asking a legitimate question: does the Passover story of the "Exodus" celebrate the killing of thousands of Egyptian firstborns? That's part of the story and it's ugly so it should be discussed. Ultimately the rabbi comes to the conclusion that the story does not celebrate killing, but doesn't give it a free pass:
"The Passover story is one of terror and suffering for both Egyptians and Hebrews. This year, however, we should also remember the voices of the Egyptian youths who challenged their own fathers and Pharaoh, as well as the actions of Bat Paro, the righteous Egyptian woman whose story and spirit is still with us."Hm. A lot of Jews to think about. What do we have in contrast? A white convert to Islam telling us that "Marriage Equality [for Gays] is Islamic." Ani Zonneveld is the leader of Muslims for Progressive values, which includes accepting gay people. That's good for her, and for them, but it doesn't mean that Islam as a religion is accepting of gay people. It doesn't give her license to speak for all of Islam either, which is something that happens a lot with new converts.
"Islam emphasizes compassion. "In the name of God the most Gracious, the Compassionate," is a phrase before every verse in the Quran. As Muslims we are taught to utter these words before any action, before we drive, eat, and speak. The problem for many of us is, we don't mean it....If we call ourselves Muslims, we need to practice compassion."Good luck with that. Seriously, you are going to need it. Religion is more than just what is written in the holy books, it is also in how people practice it. I hope to see Ms. Zonneveld at the next cartoon rioting telling her fellow believers to take it easy, and I also hope they listen.
Here's a statement that is slightly chilling:
"Too often Muslim talking-heads claim, "Islam means peace." Well how exactly is peace defined or attained? Peace can only be obtained by way of justice. Justice is a universal right and it cannot be selectively applied."Believe me, we have seen how the Palestinian love of "justice" over peace has caused a lot of human suffering. Maybe that can be the subject of your next article. By the way, Islam means "submission." And we'll take one last example:
"Being gay is not a life-style choice; it is not a 'preference' as some claim. In support of same-sex and interfaith marriages, I and others in my community have been offering Islamic marriage services for such couples regardless of States or Federal statutes because it is the just thing to do....Finally, regardless of whether any individual agrees or disagrees with the religious acceptance of homosexuality, America is about justice for all. If you consider yourself a proud American, then same-sex marriage is a no brainer...Simply put, marriage equality is Islamic and American."Homosexuality isn't a lifestyle choice, but the Quran condemns it as an abomination: 7:81 "Lo! ye come with lust unto men instead of women. Nay, but ye are wanton folk." The Muslim Council of Britain which represents way more Muslims than Ms. Zonneveld, came out against gay marriage recently and demanded that they be allowed to not perform them. There is no modern religion that is really accepting of gay people, and balancing that is hard for believers to do. It isn't so simple to just declare "accepting gay people is Islamic" because it isn't. You have to either ignore some parts of the Quran or decide that your progressive and American values is more important. And yes this applies to all religions.
I think these two articles show the contrast between these two religions. One is nitpicked to find anything that might be wrong with one of its stories. The other is held up as a paragon of virtue while ignoring the 300 pound elephant in the room. But we wouldn't want to offend anybody, right?