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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 13, 2010 / 5 Tishrei, 5771

Conservative, Liberal or American

By Alan Douglas




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ethical dilemmas are often more about conflicting loyalties than conflicting moral beliefs. You feel an obligation to your family, to your religion, to your country. That duty conflicts with another obligation. Good and bad are less likely to be the issue than making a choice between two different groups. The personal tug-o-war you feel may be about being "true" to yourself or your duty to others. If you encounter situations where your beliefs conflict with the beliefs of those around you, the situation is no easier, just more easily understood.

Who do you owe primary loyalty to? Your wife or your mother? Your religion or your country? Your company or your profession? Groups and relationships are based upon rules of conduct. If you want to be a practicing Catholic, you must abide by the rules, which have been set. If you desire to become a citizen of the United States of America, than your loyalty has to be to the United States of America, no questions asked. We mostly inherit duties from our country, family, and religion, rather than make choices. With the weight of tradition, they are comfortable and familiar; so they fit us well. Take some guidance from Napoleon and Salman Rushdie to help you resolve conflicts of conscience with the duties of community.

Professor Howard M. Sachar describes how Napoleon gained loyalty as he conquered and ruled different cultures and religions. After Napoleon won both Catholic and Protestant support, he obtained Muslim loyalty also. He did so, by quoting the Koran, wearing a fez, and charming Islamic groups during his Egyptian war. Napoleon told his Council of State in August 1801, "It was as a Catholic that I won the war in Vendee. As a Moslem, that I established myself in Egypt, and as an Ultramontane (supporter of the Italian papacy) that I won the confidence of the Italians. If I were governing Jews, I should rebuild the temple of Solomon." And Napoleon did govern Jews. The Jews of his own country, France, and those in conquered nations posed a unique challenge.

Napoleon recognized that Jews had their own leaders (who wanted to keep power), their own laws (with their social and religious rules to be obeyed) and their own Jewish courts to enforce Jewish law. In 1806, Napoleon called together the Jewish leaders in France and presented them with twelve questions to answer so the Jews of France would "Reconcile their beliefs…with their duties as Frenchmen." The Jews were to respond with written statements on polygamy, intermarriage, their views regarding other Frenchmen, how they viewed their obligations to France, which laws (Rabbinical or French) they would obey.

The French Jews responded that they would defend France "to the death!" The leadership of France's Jews retained power by agreeing that, in the future, Jews would submit to French courts and French laws as determined by Napoleon, but the rabbinical courts would continue and rule on "spiritual matters'. Jews across Europe rejoiced at this breakthrough, which they viewed as inclusive and protective. They hoped this meant that Jews were would be equal under the law with other citizens. Jews recited prayers in their synagogues praising Napoleon, dubbing him "The Great White Eagle". Thereafter, Jewish citizens found their obligations, their fortunes, and their futures tied more closely to their country than their religion.

When Senator John F. Kennedy wanted to become America's first Catholic President, he was asked repeatedly during the West Virginia primary, "Who will you obey: the pope, or congress?" Kennedy's rejoinder was the same as France's Jews in 1806. He was an American; the Catholic Church guided his spiritual concerns, not his citizenship. Kennedy won the primary.

Because of his writing, Salman Rushdie, was scorned by his country, and religious leaders offered a bounty to anyone who killed him. Rushdie's writing violated strict sacred beliefs and encouraged ethical dilemmas. His writings viewed conflicts more personally or abstractly, independent of religious scripture. His focus was based on truth and personal relationships. Conflict and discussion are difficult to reconcile with absolutes. Rushdie went too far in the eyes of the religious leaders, doubt was not acceptable. Rushdie cites German philosopher Goethe's term for allegiances we choose, rather than those we assume by circumstances of our birth, as "elective affinities". Elective affinities can be founded upon the "truth". Galileo's scientific conclusion that the earth revolved around the sun was in violation of church doctrine. Even though Galileo believed this was a scientific and factual "truth", due to his aversion to physical torture, he disavowed his own doctrine. In 1992, 359 years later, the Catholic Church revised its position, accepted the idea, and apologized to Galileo. Galileo was not around to accept the apology or gloat. Was Galileo wrong to accept the authority of the church and continue his work?

"Elective Affinities" also spring from a commitment to individual freedom. Rushdie warns, "Yet right and wrong, good and evil, are not determined by power, or by adherence to this or that interest group. The struggle to know how to act for the best is a struggle that never ceases." Blind obedience isn't duty or patriotism. Dedication isn't diminished by doubt. Ideas and values should be at stake, not your loyalty. Courage of your convictions can lead you down the road to personal disaster and disgrace. And yet it is most likely that your loyalty is what will be at the center of the storm.

Can you really call yourself a conservative and support government subsidies for your city's operation of money losing recycling programs? Can you call yourself a tolerant Christian and oppose building a mosque? Before you ask yourself what Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck or Mitt Romney would do, consider how Napoleon, Kennedy, Rushdie and Galileo would answer.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

JWR contributor Alan Douglas, an author, media executive, speaker, and attorney, lives con brio- except when he is grumpy.


Previously:

Paris, Antarctica and Shopping
Personal Protection
Dispute Resolution
Jumped or Pushed?
Friends and Acquaintances
Revenge and Vindication

© 2010 Alan Douglas

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