Of course Im not anti-Semitic! Its not appropriate to stereotype Arab people, speaking about them as though they were all the same and projecting on each superficial and prejudicial characteristics.
Oh, of course Im not anti-Jewish either! Its absurd to be anti-Jewish when Jesus, Mary and Joseph were Jewish and all the apostles and first Christians. Its absurd to be anti-Jewish since contemporary Judaism and Christianity are two branches of the same family.
Im not anti-Islam either. It makes no sense to be against fellow believers in the same God. Am I anti-interpretations-of-doctrine- that-some-Muslims-teach? Why, surely. Im even anti- interpretations-of-doctrine-that-some-Christians-and-Jews-teach.
Am I anti-Israel? Israel is a country made up of people with different ethnic backgrounds and different religions Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze, Bahais and those without any particular religion at all. I cant be anti-all of them.
Am I anti-the-Israeli-government? No, Im not anti-an-entire- government. That would be a bit much. But, were getting warm I am very much anti-certain-policies-and-practices-of-the-present- Israeli-government. And for that matter, I am very much anti- certain-policies-and-practices-of-the-Palestinian-Authority and the United States government, too.
Im anti-violence Im anti-violation-of-the-God-given-dignity- and-inalienable-rights-of-every-human-person. Im anti-retaliation, massive or moderate. Im anti-an-eye-for-an-eye-and-a-tooth-for-a-tooth.
In fact, Im anti-inflexibility, anti-blindness, anti-insensitivity, anti- selfishness and anti-corruption.
Im anti-jihad. Im anti-might-makes-right. Im anti-anti-world- authority and anti-anti-United-Nations. Im anti-political- pandering-and-patronizing. Im anti-my-country-right-or-wrong-my -country.
Im anti-propaganda and anti-manipulation. Im anti-distortions-of- truth. Im anti-a-valueless-approach-to-reporting-current-events. Im anti-no-moral-compass.
Arent you for anything?
Yes, Im pro-justice and pro-peace. Im pro-understanding and pro-standing-in-the-others-shoes. Im pro-respect-for-differences and pro-seeking-common-ground. Im pro-forgiveness and pro- reconciliation. Im pro-love that means Im pro-God and pro- life.
Its not easy trying to be a disciple of Jesus in this world. The ideals and the impossible dreams are always bright and clear, but, ah, the practical applications.
It doesnt give you any monopoly on the truth, but it does give a direction for seeking the truth.
It doesnt exempt you from all the frailties and ignorance of the human condition, but it does give you the power to overcome them.
Whats the answer? What to say?
When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.
When the chips are down, Hell tell me.
Msgr. Archimandrite Robert L. Stern, Secretary General of CNEWA