Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance made up of representatives of 75 faith traditions, recently sent a letter to Robert Jeffress, the anti-LGBT bigot heading First Baptist Church objecting to the pastor’s comparison of LGBT people to Nazis.
“The honest disagreements that people of faith in this country have about public policy issues are hardly the beginning of a path towards genocide,” he wrote.
Using Jeffress’ logic, if today’s Christians are Germany’s Jews, then everyone else — including the Jewish community — are Nazi sympathizers.
Here’s the letter Moline sent to Jeffress followed by other comments I’ve received:
Dr. Robert Jeffress
First Baptist Church Dallas
1707 San Jacinto
Dallas, TX 75201
June 12, 2015
Religious persecution is a significant problem around the world. Many people live in fear for their lives because of their faith, Christians included. You and I and everyone should do more to remedy the situation.
However, your recent comments on Fox News comparing your experience as a conservative Christian to Jews living in Nazi Germany show disrespect to the victims of the Holocaust, and do a disservice to the critically important cause of ending real religious persecution. The honest disagreements that people of faith in this country have about public policy issues are hardly the beginning of a path towards genocide.
Let’s understand the full import of what you are saying. If Christians (as you define them) are the Jews of pre-Holocaust Europe, then the rest of us are the Nazis and their sympathizers. It serves your rhetorical purpose to demonize those with whom you disagree, but it shows that you lack a true understanding of what the term “Nazi” means or the history that led to their crimes. And in the practice of hyperbole, you reduce the progress and expansiveness of American values of inclusiveness and equal rights to a plot to steal the rightful dominance of people who are most like you.
You have a reputation for complaining that other faith traditions are evil, false and cultic. That is your right and, as strongly as I disagree with you, I will defend your right to be wrong. Ironically, the provisions of the Constitution, which extend that right to you, have been dismissed by you in the name of religious exclusivity. You owe the American people an apology. We are a nation that celebrates diverse beliefs and views and we are undeserving of the allegation you have made.
Someone once told me, “The first person to use ‘Nazi’ always loses the argument.” You have proven her point.
Rabbi Jack Moline
“Jeffress’ prejudice is only equaled by his ignorance and hatred.”
— Rabbi Stephen Fisch
Congregation Beth El Binah
“I make this comment as a member of the Jewish community, but I think it would be said by any logical member of the human community: Gays were slaughtered in the Holocaust. Someone who works hard to deprive the LGBT community of equality doesn’t get to analogize himself to the victims of the Holocaust, but rather, to the perpetrators.”
— Steve Rudner
President of Equality Texas Foundation Board but speaking as a member of the Jewish community
“So much irony in this statement. He is absolutely correct that it took the Nazis time to marginalize and ‘other’ Jewish people. Just as it has taken decades of conflating homosexuality and transgender identity with pedophilia…decades of insinuating that LGBT people are ‘other’ and ‘not like us’…decades of reframing this as a debate about whether one group of people is as human as the rest of us, and therefore as deserving of equal protection under the law. Jeffress and his predecessors have had to marginalize LGBT people over time, and they’ve done a damn good job of it. Unfortunately for them, America has woken up and started to change its mind en masse. They don’t like that, so they’re doing the classic rhetorical flip from aggressor to victim.”
— Jessica Jackson Shortall
Managing director. Texas Competes