Inaugural FPL Board Member Post: “We May Have Become Tone Deaf” by Rabbi Steven Jacobs
The headline in the Los Angeles Times screams at us, “War’s Iraqi Death Toll Tops 50,000.” But we may have become tone deaf. At least 50,000 Iraqis have died violently since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion! The toll is devastating. The documented cases show a country descending into violence, as the headline article elaborates. The tone deafness on our part to others’ suffering is due to the fact that we only focus on our own 2520 U.S. deaths. It’s only our blood that matters. This is a war to save the civilization, and damn those who oppose this administration, while the most threatened and hated Americans are Muslims.
It is not only death, but it is the fact that untold numbers of civilian lives are broken and fractured. There is a loss of the sanctity of life.
We in the religious community must stop courting death. We must sanctify life with our own weapons of respecting all and reaching out to our enemies, not destroying them. We must fight hatred for the rest of our lives. We must not be silent or indifferent to the intricacies and manipulations of government leaders, whether Republicans or Democrats.
Our religious vision of revenge must be in fighting hatred with the power that we bring in the interfaith community. We must lower the walls of ignorance that have allowed hatred to ferment to such heights. We must stand up to the rising cultures of hate, accusation, and deceit.
Finally, the sacredness of life was best articulated by the father of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal journalist beheaded and killed in 2002. Judea Pearl, sharing lunch with me last week, spoke of hatred. “Military battles,” he said, “are won in two parallel ways: by making your enemy weaker, and by making your troops stronger.” The same applies to battles of hatred. In addition to curtailing ignorance in the world at large, we must empower the troops of peace here at home, and our children and grandchildren to be the elite forces of these troops.
This is what the sanctity of life must be! There are powerful voices in our community who are speaking out against the immorality of war. It is time we come together to speak out.
Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs, Faith in Public Life Board Member