Shadrach, Meshach and de Blasio

 

BILLY D

 

One of the most famous tales in all of Christendom is that of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. In the Old Testament story, the three Jewish men were sentenced to death for defying Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II’s orders to bow down and worship a pagan statue. The men were tossed into a flaming furnace. It was so hot that even the guards that plunged them into the flames died from the ordeal, but not these three Jewish leaders. Nebuchadnezzar saw them walking around in the flames, their clothes untouched. Before long he noticed the presence of a fourth man, one “like a son of God,” and ordered them to be brought out. He repented of his sins against them and promoted them to high offices in his government.

Millennia have passed since the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, and the events of this story, yet there are still those in power in the world who would impede the free exercise of our faith, particularly the Jewish faith. Last night, many Jewish people gathered in the streets of New York for the funeral of a beloved rabbi. They were reportedly not practicing social distancing, and some were unmasked. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was on scene with the NYP to break up the funeral. When he was safely back in city hall, he published the following statement.

“(Large gatherings) WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the coronavirus… My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”

His tweets are wrong on so many levels. Let us address first the insensitivity of singling out the Hebrew people and the Jewish race for free practice of religion. It is the tactic of leftists to make comparisons to Hitler and brandy about the word “nazi,” so one might expect sensitivity from a former democrat presidential candidate. Perhaps de Blasio is ignorant of his city’s historical issues with antisemitism. It’s possible he’s entirely ignorant of the long international history of scapegoating Jewish people during crises. Maybe the democrats have erased from their collective consciousness the memory of then democrat presidential hopeful Jesse Jackson calling New York City “hymietown” in 1984. Singling out Jewish people is optically disastrous and terribly ignorant. Extrapolating the actions of a small portion of a one million plus population to the entire group is even more offensive. Imagine for a moment if “Jewish” was replaced in the statement by the name of any other minority group in America: Muslim, Black, Asian, Atheist. What would the response be from media? Outrage, as it should be in this instance as well.

The problem stems deeper, and the danger reaches wider than just the Jewish community. This is America. Have we gotten so intellectually fat that we have forgotten who we are? Myriad issues catalyzed the establishment of this nation, but none so much as impediment of the free exercise of religion. Mayor de Blasio is a liberal scold. We all know the type. He believes in a system of government in which the brilliant planners of the nanny state are burdened with the protection and education of the ignorant proletariat. He forgets, as many of us have during these trying times, that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. Jefferson declared that truth to be self evident, meaning that it required no defense or qualifications. It is so apparently true, so universal, that it can stand on its own. While obviously some liberties are rightly limited and surrendered when a group of people form a society, de Blasio has gone a bridge too far. America doesn’t arrest people for exercising their religions. “Period.”

I do not personally agree with those who made the choice to attend the funeral. In a place like New York City, I find it to be a reckless and unnecessary risk. I would not have attended, but I am reminded of the words of Voltaire, “I do not agree with what you say, but I would defend to the death your right to say it.”

 

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