By Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht, Norwalk, Connecticut
Member Presidium Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud Harabonim
November 5th – Election Day, is an appropriate moment to extend in the name of the Rabbinical Alliance of America a National Rabbinic Organization with more than 950 member rabbis and chaplains in service of the American Jewish community – to extend our approbation and agreement with the contents of the recent speech given by Mr. William Barr on October 11th at the Notre Dame University Law School on the subject of Religious Liberty in America.
Mr. Barr who is a well -known jurist and seasoned scholar of jurisprudence is highly qualified to expound about religion and liberty.
Writing for the Wall Street Journal; Commentator William McGurn describes how William Barr takes on the secularists who are assaulting religious freedom in their effort to break down traditional moral values.
On the other extreme, Michael Sean Winters author of Distinctly Catholic in the National Catholic Reporter derides Mr. Barr’s talk as being “ridiculously stupid.” Reading and re-reading Mr. Winters column one goes away with a distinct aversion for the disrespect and disdain the writer has for Biblical and moral values in his vociferous embrace of a misguided liberalism that lectures moral relativism as being the informed and religiously enlightened way to live ones life.
Pema Levy; a writer for the Mother Jones publication characterized Attorney General Barr’s speech as being “an assault on the First Amendment’s protection against the government’s establishment of any religion”.
We of the Rabbinical Alliance of America could not disagree more. If anything, we are of the opinion that the Attorney General Barr’s talk was both erudite, researched and compelling in its delivery and insight; of where American society is today.
Society is searching for meaning and purpose, while lacking the traditional support of religious values that have sustained and made the USA prodigiously successful and generous to its citizens and the world at large.
Today, American society is floundering and awash with the problems of single parent families, drug dependency, juvenile delinquency and a generation of millennials raised on an artificial set of values, that neither anchors nor inspires its enthusiasts to experience a meaningful life that includes service to family and community.
New York Times Columnist Paul Krugman in his op/ed of October 14, roundly politicizes Mr. Barr’s worthy and thoughtful remarks as being an attack on the one fifth of Americans who “don’t consider themselves affiliated with any religion”.
Truth be told, Mr. Barr adroitly made the case for the need of traditional religious values as being vitally important for maintaining a strong and healthy American society.
We believe that history, common sense, and the empirical facts as adroitly outlined in the Attorney Generals remarkable and courageous talk, ought to resonate compellingly, with all people of faith who believe in the Creator of heaven and earth.
It would be of great usefulness if all Americans – irrespective of origin or community – would become familiar with the Universal Code of Noah that are the following: Prohibitions against worshipping idols, cursing G-d, murder, adultery and sexual immorality, theft, eating flesh torn from a living animal, as well as the obligation to establish courts of justice.