Thursday, February 23, 2017

Shouting Religious Freedom

Ya, I know, it's been a week since I've blogged. And a very busy week at that. I'm surprised by how quickly a day and week can go sideways, even when I figure I know what my schedule will be.

Recently I saw a follow-up to a story I wrote about a couple of years ago. A Hungarian leader of the right-wing Jobbik party, Csanad Szegedi, spouted the usual grim hatred against Jews. He eventually rose to the vice presidency of the nationalist party. Then Mr. Szegedi discovers an inconvenient truth. He is of Jewish lineage and his grandmother was an Auschwitz survivor. After this revelation he was expelled from the party, an irrational decision -- but when does hatred make sense?

Now there is a documentary about Szegedi's growing awareness of his heritage. It's called Keep Quiet, and as the poster intimates, Szegedi does more than just read up on his background. Not all members of the Jewish community embrace Csanad's journey into the faith, but there is certainly grace extended to this former anti-Semite.
Related image

While this is a story from Eastern Europe, we know that there have been a growing number of anti-Jewish incidents in the United States in recent weeks. Suspicious speech fosters anger and hatred. President Trump may claim that he is pro-Jewish but he has so-called alt-right advisors. And we've seen that Nazi-sympathizers have been emboldened to crawl out of the manure pile since his election. It will be interesting to see what happens in Canada in the days ahead.

We all need to be vigilant, to realize that the freedom to practice one's religion is a precious right we must uphold for one another.


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