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I caught the tail end of two Wall Street Journal journalists talking about the recent attacks on Jews in New York, and since WSJ is behind a paywall, I cannot find the segment. But what I heard burned into my memory. One said that this is a “mirror of what is going on in European cities, and has been for some time.” They stated the Jews are the canary in the coal mine, a cliche that has been echoed over and over to deaf ears. This has religious implications, but they said the “resurgence of antisemitism is a symptom that society as a whole is breaking down,” and concluded with “when that happens on a large scale, people choose camps, and a peaceful, cohesive society erodes and falls apart and all you are left with are warring camps.”
Is that what we are witnessing, in New York and elsewhere, when moral boundaries are removed? I’m not just speaking of the decline in church attendance, in Jews becoming more secular, but in the overall protections and safety nets that we once relied on. When we had boundaries, we relied on law enforcement, respect for property, differences of opinion, lifestyles, and it went both ways, instead of hurling hate speech and condemning one idea over another. We respected boundaries, which also included protecting children from overly sexual content. Law enforcement is now spat upon, doused with water, and shouted at with vulgarity. Wearing a MAGA hat in public can get you tossed out of a restaurant or pummeled, because of political differences. We now have something called gender fluidity.
Petty crimes such as theft, drug possession, and home invasions, are now considered low priority with no consequences. More states are following lockstep, the predicted outcome of legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. Drugged up, more brazen attacks – we’re witnessing an erosion of civilization, not like a drip, drip that eventually carves out a solid rock over decades, but a powerful wave that erodes swiftly and mercilessly.
The attack on our embassy in Iraq and the recent attacks on Jews in New York and Christians in Texas are similar. Deaths and injuries over different ideologies – the camps are filling up. Have the ancient hatreds in the Middle East changed that much? Will they ever change? It’s hard to show interest in trivial headlines when the canary is gasping for air.
We all care about the climate, the environment, the poor, those fleeing war, the sick. We do what we can, but to ignore the most basic rights of those walking down a street or taking their children to church or daycare, and then march for climate change or women’s rights is just absurd. There is a disconnect on the most basic levels.
If anything, we have all the more reason to seek the wisdom of those in our communities who are uplifting body, mind, and spirit – our local clergy and volunteers, and to immerse ourselves in reading the wisdom of the prophets and saints. These are our armor for a time such as this. It is a time to be a light in the darkness, without which hope evaporates into thin air. Your thoughts?