In defense of Kosher

In defense of Kosher September 13, 2010

A funny, and telling, thought experiment at Reddit.  What if kosher Jews used the same reasoning that anti-gay Christians used?  Here’s the post, and click the link below to read the fantastic comments:

As a practicing jew, I believe that my fundamental right to freedom of religious expression is being violated. Right now, you can apply for a restaurant license and sell pork and shellfish in an eating establishment. Look, I’m not trying to force my beliefs on anyone. If they want to sin in the privacy of their own home, they’re welcome to, but the state should not be giving them a license to serve non-kosher items. My kids shouldn’t have to walk through the city and see establishments that promote the eating of unclean animals. The schools shouldn’t be teaching my kids that it’s “okay” to eat like a gentile. And what’s more, this is a slippery slope. If restaurants can be allowed to serve unclean food, it’s only a matter of time until known poisons are allowed. This is a fundamental question of our nation’s judeo-christian values. As Americans, I urge you to support a constitutional amendment that defines a restaurant as a kosher establishment.

via In defense of Kosher: A thought experiment. : politics.

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  • Jim

    Actually, I think a few parts are pretty valid. The state should not be telling schoolkids what is moral or immoral for them to eat, nor giving out licenses for people to serve food.

  • But the fact is that they do give out licenses. So that’s the system we’re operating in.

  • joshua

    I love writings like this! They make you realize your biases through story, rather than direct accusation.

  • Of course, the problem with this thought experiment is that it can be applied to anything.

    “As a Christian who believes that we should take care of the poor I think we should increase everyone’s taxes in order to do it. I don’t mind people being greedy in their personal lives, but the state shouldn’t give them license to be greedy…. etc.”

    The examples are virtually endless. This is not a very rigorous argument.

  • Reinhardt

    And then imagine if you were a Kosher Jew and people insist on calling you a bigot and intolerant because you refuse to allow your family to eat pork. And if you try to hand out pamphlets touting the benefits of eating Kosher, you get charged with a crime. Those who eat pork are allowed to have large parades and ridicule those who eat Kosher but as a Jew, you are not allowed to publically declare your belief for fear of reprisal. Imagine that you were required by law to serve bacon on all the sandwiches in your restaurant and that’s not all. The government declares it will rename pork to beef as all the pig farmers should be allowed to get their product into every kind of food – it’s only fair. Some people are biased against pork so to balance the scales, pork will go unlabelled in foods.

    The tide has long washed the other way. The vast majority of media are opposed to your Kosher views and feels the need to name call and harass.

  • Reinhardt,

    You are not a victim. You are not a Jew.

    This is a story meant to illuminate a larger process at play. Of course it isn’t applicable to every situation.


  • Reinhardt

    Not a Jew? As far as I know, neither is Tony? Don’t get your point. I don’t think its helpfulmfor anyone to think of themselves as a victim, except maybe as a victim of our own folly.

    My point is that telling stories like this only reinforces peoples pre existing opinion. It doesn’t advance the dialogue, it only serves to stereotype the other side. The story is illustrative if you share the basic framework, if you are not in the in group, the story is meant to ridicule as ridiculous your point of view.

    What happened to the freedom to think differently. What happened to respect of peoples conscious. I know there are lots of people on both side who shreik and demean, but does that mean we have to?

    Is it possible for people to fundamentally disagree, without being pigeon holed.

    I disagree with Tony about some thing, but I am respectful enough to listen to those I disagree with. You never know, I might even learn something.

  • Christine

    I really loved Tony’s story and how it made me think, but in the same way, I thought Reinhardt’s was equally as intriguing. In the end, though both were beneficial to my faith and brain, Reinhardt is right about how there is a begginning viewpoint that appears to say, “Open your mind.” But, as is the human tendency, it is really saying, “Side with me.”

    Nice dialogue, peeps!

  • Dave

    @Reinhardt +1

    Thank you for countering TJ’s ridiculous thought experiment.

    Also, Tony, your thought experiment applies to other forms of taboo marriage (polygamy, first-cousin marriage, etc) which are based on bias (or prejudice depending on your perspective) yet I don’t hear you clamoring to tear down the walls of oppression. Oh, and the scientific case against these marriages is – to put it nicely – weak:

  • cjbiggs

    Metaphor fail.

  • Darren

    I find it ironic that the very people who find this metaphor to be so heinously bad, are also the same ones who would use the same argument against gay rights. If you think it’s a bad metaphor, you don’t seem to realize that TONY AGREES WITH YOU! That’s the whole point of posting this! If you think that these same types of arguments are acceptable in the gay rights debates, then this one is just as valid. But as the example shows, it’s completely poor reasoning. You’re going to need better reasons for a constitutional amendment against gay rights than “it’s wrong because my Bible said so, and should therefore be upheld for everyone in America.”

  • Reinhardt


    Suggesting that constitutional amendments should not be based solely on Biblical foundation is absolutely true. There must be a common morality supporting it. If 80% of the country thinks something is perfectly fine, making it illegal is stupid.

    Constitutional amendment should be undertaken reluctantly, and only on the basis of an shared moral framework to counter threats to the future of the country. Many feel that preserving the traditional family is such an issue, but framed as a constitutional amendment, the case must be made without resort to the Scripture.

    Scripture is authoritative for the church, but the church must live the truth, not impose it.

    God Bless.