When will it stop?
Professor Solomon Goldfarb, an Orthodox Jew and Constitutional law expert, says he will not attend the Brandeis University graduation ceremony to protest President Obama's attendance. "I do not understand how a Jewish university can honor a President who is known to drive on the Sabbath and does not observe kosher."
Goldfarb went on, "I am at a loss to understand how a Jewish university could honor someone who flaunts the Torah."
Brandeis said it was standing by its decision to honor Obama. "He is the President of the United States," said Brandeis President Jehudah Reinharz, "Besides, he is a Christian so Jewish law does not apply to him." He hastened to add that if Senators Dianne Feinstein or Russ Feingold became President, Brandeis would "proudly honor them although I suspect treif food has passed their lips. Our President is our President."
Okay, I made that all up. It could never happen because Jews do not expect non-Jews to observe our laws! Additionally, American Jews are Americans and as President Reinharz would say, "our President is our President."
Apparently, some conservative Catholics have a very different view. Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon is rejecting an honorary degree from Notre Dame because President Obama, who supports abortion rights, will deliver the commencement address.
Glendon, a Harvard law professor notes a decision by the US bishops that Catholic institutions should not honor pro-choice individuals. "I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic University should disrespect" that position.
Glendon should be ashamed. And the bishops need to do some re-thinking. Yes, a Catholic university can take any stand it chooses on matters relating to faith. So may Jewish, Muslim, or any other kind of institution. However, disrespecting the President because he chooses not to observe the tenets of that institution's faith is disrespectful and utterly unpatriotic.
That is why Madison said, "Freedom of religion? No way. I want freedom from religion."
No, he didn't say that but his writings indicate that is what he meant. (He didn't even want "clergyman" listed as a profession on thev 1790 census because it accorded an official place to religion). Religion belongs at home. But respecting the President of our democracy (even if we don't like him) belongs everywhere).
I might add that I would have no problem with Glendon rejecting an appearance with Obama because she opposes his stand on abortion just as I would not oppose anyone who refused to share a platform with President Bush out of opposition to the war. It is the sheer chutzpa of disrespecting the President out of deference to what is, to Glendon, a higher authority: the bishops of her church.