These are interesting times. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, spoke today a Liberty University’s Convocation. In his speech Yoffie downplayed the significant differences that serious Christians of all stripes–especially those to whom he was speaking–have with his own movement’s views on abortion and legally protected homosexual unions.
Here is part of what he said:
Your religious tradition prohibits abortion; my religious tradition permits it in some cases and forbids it in others, but believes that every woman must prayerfully make the final decision for herself. You oppose gay marriage while we believe in legal protection for gay couples. We understand your reading of the Biblical texts, even if we read those texts in a different way. But gay Americans pose no threat to their friends, neighbors, or co-workers, and when two people make a lifelong commitment to each other, we believe it is wrong to deny them the legal guarantees that protect them and their children and benefit the broader society.
But as significant as these differences are, my hope is that they will not overwhelm us. We need less anger and more thoughtful reflection, less shouting and more listening. Even when we disagree, let’s do so without demonizing each other. I can discuss these issues and believe what I believe without calling you a homophobic bigot, and you can do the same without calling me an uncaring baby killer. Let’s promote respect for each other’s religious tradition, and let’s work for civility in public debate.
You can read the rest of the speech here. As I think about his remarks and the context in which they were made I am forced to ask, “What price Zionism?”