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What if They Gave a Funeral and the Wrong Religion Came?

Robin Alexander

Posted on March 23, 2018 09:19

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We’ve come a long way since Tevye said “A bird and a fish may love each other, but where will they live?” We see lots of mixed religion, mixed race, and mixed culture marriages that work just fine, as long as the participants are able to live with the very human condition of intellectual contradictions and gray areas.

We’re bagels-and-lox-garment-center New York Jews. Not at all “observant.” My father’s second wife of 35 years was a Southern Baptist. My father was buried on March 13 and at his funeral, the pastor (to whom I had no objection) announced that my father had accepted Jesus into his heart and had died a Christian. It was the first I had heard. The ultimate chutzpah?

Keep in mind that I’ve never seen my father make a religious gesture in his 91 years. Keep in mind that being a Jew is not and never has been only a religion. We are a people with a heritage passed through DNA as much as through matzoh balls and machzorim. I know that it doesn’t matter what my father declared during the last months of his life, if in fact he understood it (he had dementia), if in fact he meant it (he probably wanted to make his wife happy, as she truly feared he would land in hell if he didn’t utter those words). Regardless, I know he was still a Jew.

But I am offended that it was all arranged behind my back by sneaky, small-minded hypocrites. No wonder they couldn’t look me in the eye at the funeral. I am offended that these true believers accept a God who: 1) made a human sacrifice out of his favorite son; 2) requires the rest of his children to accept a specific interpretation of its meaning; and 3) threatens eternal hell if they don’t. (There’s a reason why a pastor’s followers are called a “flock.” It’s very Kim Jong-un and it affects the way these people vote).

And I am offended that after confinement to ghettos, the slaughter of Jews during the Crusades, the Inquisition, pogroms, the Holocaust, and untold indignities and persecutions, “they” still want to convert “us”. Get over it. No one’s keeping score. You aren’t losing. We just don’t want to play with you.

These people actually believe that Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Pagans and Atheists are all going to share the heat one day. This is the "Loving Christian God" who’s been shoved down the throats of millions while they were disenfranchised, colonized, and enslaved. This brand of Christianity has the creepy aroma of a broth simmered in self-hatred, infused with the juvenile brutishness of a bully, and peppered with self-righteousness in an attempt to cover up the self-hatred AND justify a plethora of “sins”. Well, I’m neither a psychologist, nor a gourmet.

But I do know that it’s dangerous to take your belief system as absolutely and literally TRUE, instead of using it to inform your interaction with the world in a metaphorical, open-ended, unique way that ebbs and flows as you learn and grow. History bears this out. And on March 13, I glimpsed first-hand what it feels like to be bullied by true believers. It didn’t really change anything. But it changed everything.

Miss you Dad.

Robin Alexander

Posted on March 23, 2018 09:19

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