When You Shouldn’t Say What You Really Think About Other Faith Traditions

Rabbi Eric H Joffe, Huffington Post. Jul.25, www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-eric-h-yoffie/when-you-shouldnt-say-what-you-really-think-about-other-faith-traditions_b_1693786.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

Some recent, angry exchanges between leaders of different religious traditions have led me to consider the principles that should guide us when reacting to disagreements with other faith groups.

If I strongly disagree with a Christian or Muslim, I am free to say what I wish, of course, and there is an argument to be made that I should always say what I think.  As a believing and practicing Jew, I do not hesitate to comment on, praise, criticize or analyze statements by any Jewish leader or Jewish group.  Should I not be true to myself and my beliefs whenever someone representing a non-Jewish tradition says things that are contrary to my deepest moral convictions?

Well, actually, no.  I suggest that there are important distinctions to be kept in mind.  Specifically, I think that there are two rules to follow when deciding what is appropriate to say — and what is not — when commenting on the positions of other religious groups.

Rule No. 1: When a religious leader or group speaks on a matter of public policy that impacts all Americans, those who have different views and who represent other religious traditions can and should speak out.

Rule No. 2:  When a religious leader or group speaks on an internal religious matter directly affecting only adherents of his or her faith, those representing other religious traditions should remain silent.

Read the complete article here.