Daniel Berrigan and Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold: Missing Voices for Human Worth

By Shalom Goldman.Embed from Getty ImagesApril saw the passing of two very courageous American religious figures, the Rev. Daniel Berrigan and Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold. Berrigan, a Catholic priest and member of the Jesuit order, had reached the age of 94. Rabbi Gold, a Conservative rabbi, was 92.Berrigan was born in 1921 to a working-class Catholic family in the Midwest. Gold was born in Poland in 1923 and with his family was deported to Auschwitz at age 17; he was the only one of hi … [Read more...]

Liberal Protestants, Social Justice, and Antisemitism

By Mark E. Gammon.With the astounding pace of news over the last couple of weeks, it was easy to miss one small item. The United Church of Christ became the latest liberal Protestant denomination to endorse “boycotts and divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands.” As David Palumbo-Liu recently reported at Salon.com, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has made substantive inroads in the mainline American Protestant denominations, wit … [Read more...]

Why Christians Should Stand With Israel

By John Hagee. Christians should stand with Israel because the God of the Bible is the God of Covenant. He is a promise-making and a promise-keeping God. Those who claim that God is not accountable to the promises he made to the children of Israel are contradicting the Apostle Paul’s words to the Gentile Christians of the early church: I say then, “Hath God cast away his people? God forbid.” (Romans 11:1, KJV) ... as far as election is concerned, they (Jews) are loved on account of the patri … [Read more...]

Quashing Jewish Dissent on Israel

By Shalom Goldman, Duke University.A New Yorker cartoon of a few years back shows Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. Looking at Moses, one Israelite says to the other, "Well, he's alright, but I wish he were a little more pro-Israel."The leadership of American Jewish community organizations never has to worry about such criticism. For the officials of the self-described “major” American Jewish groups, "strong on Israel" is the first qualification of leadership, and “pro-Isr … [Read more...]

Religion, Revelation, and the Rolling Stones

By Shalom Goldman, Duke UniversityWhat do the Rolling Stones have to do with religion? Aside from the usual answer—that they are a religion in their own right for many rock and roll fans—they now find themselves in the midst of another kind of religious controversy. Surprisingly, it is a controversy that places, albeit briefly, Orthodox Jews and advocates for the Palestinian cause on the same side of an argument.The controversy arose when the Rolling Stones announced in March that they wo … [Read more...]

“And a Merry Christmas to You, Mr. Netanyahu!”

By Shalom Goldman, Duke UniversityAmerican Jews have long struggled with the Christmas Season. It may not be our holiday, many Jews have felt, but it is after all a great American holiday. How then are we to relate to it?For more traditional Jews, the national Christmas celebration generates anxiety about their place in the American religious landscape. In the second half of the 20th century, as Jews became more assimilated to American society, that anxiety was reduced in two ways: by … [Read more...]

Johnny Cash Is In the Promised Land

By Shalom Goldman, Duke UniversityJohnny Cash died on September 12, 2003, and as we approach the tenth anniversary of his death, his reputation as an American musical master seems only to grow. His recordings continue to sell briskly, particularly the Bootleg items released by Columbia Records. When I mentioned him to the college freshmen in my classes, who were born in 1994-5, they all knew Cash’s music. Many had seen the 2005 film about Cash, Walk the Line.That film was very good at d … [Read more...]

Religion, State, and Soccer in Israel

by Shalom Goldman, Duke University Throughout the world sports fans can be roused to emotional extremes of enthusiasm, euphoria, and despair that seem almost religious in nature. The only other public manifestation of emotion that comes close to sports in its intensity is at rock and roll concerts—and these concerts are increasingly held in sports stadiums. Also, more and more American sports greats are willing and eager to speak publicly about their Evangelical Christian commitments. These p … [Read more...]

God Speed: “Race Cars for Peace” in the Holy City

By Shalom Goldman, Duke UniversityIn the US, spectator sports and religious conviction often go hand in hand. Americans are used to players, and teams, who pray and play, invoking Jesus before, during, and after games. This happens on the basketball court, in baseball stadiums, and on football fields. And it is most notable on stock car racetracks, where prayers, along with game results, are often heard over the public address  systems. The tone and style of this sports religiosity is that of … [Read more...]

Inhofe, with God on His Side, vs. Hagel

By Shalom Goldman, Duke UniversityAt the confirmation hearings for Chuck Hagel’s nomination to head the Department of Defense, the former senator from Nebraska has been pilloried by some of his former Republican colleagues, most forcefully by current Nebraska Senator Jim Inhofe. At Thursday’s hearings, Inhofe said that on security issues, “Hagel’s record is deeply troubling and out of the mainstream.”In a Washington Post op-ed piece published a week before the Hagel hearings commenced, In … [Read more...]


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