A blog by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration about justice and peace issues

“You’ll have lots of splaining to do…” Ricky Ricardo and Senator Corbourn

Dear All – This morning there was a protest in downtown Chicago against the Jewish United Fund. A group calling themselves “God Hates America” held signs in front of the Fund that read, “God Hates Jews,” “Fags Are Beasts,” “Jews Will Repent,” and “Obama is the Devil.”

They claim to be part of a separatist Baptist church that believes the bible instructs Christians to act against “inequities” and name the “devil” and his work. The connection they believe that exists between the Jewish community and the Gay community is that both are condemned in the Bible.

While on one hand this represents the fullness of our belief in the freedom of speech, it is always difficult to see that right utilized toward demeaning a people especially in the name of God.

I think it is often easy to dismiss groups like this. We feel uncomfortable with their message but assure ourselves that the majority would not share their view. They are extremists and a minority. Yet strangely they were reminding me of the Senators on the Judiciary Committee.

During the confirmation hearings of Judge Sonia Sotomayer for the Supreme Court, Republican Senators repeatedly couched their questions in references to her racial background. References that at best were inaccurate and at worst were racist.

For example, Senator Sessions asking her why she did not agree with a fellow judge who was Puerto Rican – seeing that they were both Puerto Rican should they not agree with one another automatically? Weirder was his insistence that by not agreeing with him she was being racist…against white males….even though who she disagreed with was Puerto Rican.

Or his companion Senator Corbourn who decided it was appropriate to imitate Ricky Ricardo when asking Judge Sotomayor a question. When questioning Judge Roberts for his appointment to the Supreme Court Senator Corbourn did not find it necessary to use any accents.

Not of course to be outdone by Pat Buchanan, Republican analyst, who urged the Senators to use the confirmation hearings as a way to incite anger among marginalized whites and use that energy to refuel the Republican base.

Extremists? A minority?

While not going as far as the group this morning protesting the Jewish Fund, the Republican reaction to Judge Sotomayor had echoes of “God Hates Jews”…namely that the person or persons is reduced to a single factor – his or her race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc.

This “factor,” like race, is then defined by the person doing the original reduction. For this morning’s protesters being Jewish or gay is being evil – for the Republicans being  Latina means you are unable to see outside of the biases created by your race (not of course a problem they were having…ahem).

This reduction takes away the humanity of the person or persons and begins the slippery slope to believing as the Nazis did that they had not only the right but the duty to exterminate a whole people.

So while I want to dismiss this morning’s group and the Senators I cannot. I cannot because what is at risk is far too important. For what is at risk is human life, dignity and security. Should anyone have to live in fear based on their gender, sexual orientation, race or religion?

Let us draw hope and strength from the reality of our first African American President and first (hopefully) Latina Supreme Court Justice. Those are openings that shift the landscape that believes “God Hates Jews” but also let us remain clear that we have a long way to go before we will not have a corner covered in signs that demean and dismiss.

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Comments on: "“You’ll have lots of splaining to do…” Chicago protest at the Jewish United Fund" (2)

  1. Curious said:

    So did the protesters identify themselves as Republicans? I’m not sure I understand the relationship with the Judge Sotomayor hearings. Isn’t the purpose of the Judiciary Committee to ask about past rulings? Since unfortunately in our fallen world racial biases can exist, shouldn’t we look to chose a justice who is color blind?

  2. kathy said:

    Distressing, indeed. But it’s discouraging to hear negative comments about Republicans who may or may not have been represented in that group of protesters. I think there is enough brokenness to go around–it’s not the exclusive domain of the Republicans. We are all people in need of a Savior-Democrats and Republicans and everyone in between. Vilifying a particular group is divisive and just adds to the pain in the world.

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