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Switch to Forum Live View Gaza and Valuing Life
5 years ago  ::  Jan 06, 2009 - 8:19PM #1
paulawylm
Posts: 1
There doesn't seem to be an appropriate forum for this question. The title of this forum seems to fit the closest. Today (at work) I was listening to an audiobook on Judaism and the last section included a explanation of how in Judaism, the value of human life overrides all other religious considerations.  That is the in Judaism, saving a human life is more important than any religious observence, including all other religious laws. It struck me particularly strong before it was the last thing I listened to before driving home to the news about more deaths in Gaza, today's at a UN school.  Now, I know that Israel is a secular state, but the Judaism is at miminum the most common religion in Israel--even if Israel doesn't have a state religion.

So, now I'm pondering how the faith values the people of a nation proclaim inform the actions that their government takes. Of course, the US is certainly not innocent in this sort of thing either.  But that's not exactly what I mean. . .how do we as people of faith--whichever faith and all faiths--struggle with the conflict between our highest values and the actions of our country which betray those values.

Any thoughts?  Please don't respond with comments like those in the Palestine news forum.  I'm asking for a faith discussion, not a  "good people have to defend themselves against the bad people" sort of thing. That's already going on in another forum. I'm not trying to censor, just steer the conversation into a faith-centered one.

thanks.
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 07, 2009 - 12:24AM #2
Justme333
Posts: 1,101
Hi - welcome to Beliefnet and the Faith, Values, & Public Policy board.  You raise very good questions, and ones that I doubt anyone really has any answers for.  The conflict between Israel and Gaza is heartbreaking.  I was raised to almost revere Israel because of their struggles to form a viable nation and the plight of the Jewish people throughout history, and I still respect them.  But gosh, although I can understand defending oneself, the attacks on Gaza seem to go above and beyond self defense.  The Palestinians have not helped themselves with their rhetoric about destroying Israel, but they do not deserve the carnage that is being showered on them.  And then there is the ongoing seemingly hate of Israel and the West by Islamic nations that is being fueled by Israels attacks. Until people can see each other as fellow human beings and not political or religious pawns, I do not see much relief in sight, but I think that there are those who do not want that to happen.  I am hopeful that the new administration can find another way to deal with these issues, but right now it seems like an eternity until January 20.

Justme
"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."  Will Rogers

"Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow."  Matthew 5:42

"Charity is no substitute for justice withheld."         St. Augustine

"Your love for God is only as great as the love you have for the person you love least."  Dorothy Day

"If you want peace, work for justice." Pope Paul VI
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 07, 2009 - 2:09AM #3
SherriMunnerlyn
Posts: 7,492
[QUOTE=paulawylm;1001493]There doesn't seem to be an appropriate forum for this question. The title of this forum seems to fit the closest. Today (at work) I was listening to an audiobook on Judaism and the last section included a explanation of how in Judaism, the value of human life overrides all other religious considerations.  That is the in Judaism, saving a human life is more important than any religious observence, including all other religious laws. It struck me particularly strong before it was the last thing I listened to before driving home to the news about more deaths in Gaza, today's at a UN school.  Now, I know that Israel is a secular state, but the Judaism is at miminum the most common religion in Israel--even if Israel doesn't have a state religion.

So, now I'm pondering how the faith values the people of a nation proclaim inform the actions that their government takes. Of course, the US is certainly not innocent in this sort of thing either.  But that's not exactly what I mean. . .how do we as people of faith--whichever faith and all faiths--struggle with the conflict between our highest values and the actions of our country which betray those values.

Any thoughts?  Please don't respond with comments like those in the Palestine news forum.  I'm asking for a faith discussion, not a  "good people have to defend themselves against the bad people" sort of thing. That's already going on in another forum. I'm not trying to censor, just steer the conversation into a faith-centered one.

thanks.[/QUOTE]


paulawylm,

I have been struggling with the issues you raise, too, as a Christian. I find myself thinking of the words of the Pledge of Allegience or Patriotic songs, like God Bless America, and I feel the words no longer ring true. How can one speak of our country standing for liberty and justice for all and sing of God blessing our country when we engage in the acts we engage in around the world. And the US is involved in Gaza, we give Israel the equivalent of millions of dollars every day, over 100 billion dollars in aid since 1948. Most of the weapons being used to kill civilians with came from the US.

I believe God has a purpose in everything. I believe no man is my enemy. I believe my enemy is hate and violence and war. After watching the 2006 war covered 24/7 by CNN here, I became a Pacifist. And I believe the challenge we face is to be true to God, despite what is happening around us. Our world may fall apart, as Gazans world has fallen apart, but the challenge to me would be in trying to refuse to hate, to not yield to responding to violence with violence, to keep hope and love alive in my heart despite what is happening around me. I think victory lies in those accomplishments. The challenge people face there is they need to put aside their animosity and hate and seek to achieve a viable co-existence with each other. They need to see each other as human beings, and learn that what they share, their humanity,  is much greater than their differences.

Valuing life is seeing every human being's life as having value. When I see a child needlessly die, I do not care whether they are here or in Gaza. They are our children, everywhere, we need to take care of them. If you read reports from UNICEF and about children starving andsuffering in wars, it is heartbreaking and the conditions some children live in. About how a people's faith affects their governments actions, what I see is governments become corrupt and our government does not follow God's values. We do not even abide by international laws, any longer. Are our government's failures related to the people's own failures to follow God? I do not rule out there are connections, but I cannot stand the Religious Right's attempts to legislate morality. Who is any person, to single out certain sins and label them worse than other sins and make those sins illegal. God cannot be forced on the people.

This is the first time I have posted here on this board, and I am not familiar with this discussion board, but I am trying to respond to your comments. I hope I am not talking about Gaza more than I should be doing here.

My youngest daughter is 8, she wrote a song the other day entitled For Love to Start Again. I think that is a prayer to pray for those in Gaza, that they be filled by God with love to start again, hope and love to start again, despite their circumstances. The CPT members who work around Hebron I read of pray for the people to have love in their hearts. With love, with God, we overcome whatever we face.

Sherri
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 07, 2009 - 8:30PM #4
Justme333
Posts: 1,101
Sherri,

Wonderful post, and yes, it is very appropriate here.

Justme
"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."  Will Rogers

"Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow."  Matthew 5:42

"Charity is no substitute for justice withheld."         St. Augustine

"Your love for God is only as great as the love you have for the person you love least."  Dorothy Day

"If you want peace, work for justice." Pope Paul VI
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 11, 2009 - 10:49AM #5
BBarton
Posts: 1,670
Has anyone else noticed a pattern?  After the Neocon's clean sweep of the GOP takeover the US people voted them into power over the nation, which resulted in wars, loss of freedoms, and the deregulation of everything.  It was like the parents went out and left the preteens in charge.

Russia's people voted in ex KGB man, Putin who's no gentle soul

Then Israel voted in the same type of leadership; bullyboys given to hubris and willing to treat even their own people as pawns while they spread death and destruction rather than brotherly love.

I know it is said that people deserve the leadership they have, but to have so many bullyboys as leaders can't help but make parts of the playground more like a slaughter house.
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2009 - 7:57PM #6
Sholem
Posts: 344
As I see it, the only answer to intergroup violence lies in having a system of laws. How many people have died around the world in border disputes. But border disputes between Tennesee and Georgia, New York and New Jersey, etc. have all been settled in court.

However, in order for a legal system to work. There must be some consensus on what is acceptable behavior and some faith in the system. I don't see either being possible on a world basis at this time.

In the Middle-East there is plenty of condemnation, but what country is willing to put troops on the ground to protect Israel from terrorists attacks, secure an internationally recognized armastice line, help dismantle settlements and generally help bring order to the area. It's not like they haven't been invited.

In the meantime, right here in the U.S., there are people marching in the streets chanting "Jews to the ovens." I'm wondering if it is not time to learn some weapons skills.
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