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MEMBER DIARY

The President and The Bible

Dear Mr. President,

I was thinking of you Saturday as our rabbi discussed this week’s reading of the Torah.  Entitled, Kedoshim, it concerns the definition of mankind as holy creatures.

With the Children of Israel still wandering through the Sinai, the Lord instructs Moses to tell them:

Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.

It struck me that only a nation steeped in such Judeo Christian values would Declare, for the world to know that

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

However, on April 6, 2009, in a White House press briefing held jointly with the President of Turkey, you said:

I’ve said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is — although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation; we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.

The full link of your remarks that day is here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Joint-Press-Availability-With-President-Obama-And-President-Gul-Of-Turkey/

There is much more in the week’s portion which concerns your Administration.  For example, even in the time of Moses there was a tension between the most productive members of society and those who simply get by.   In Paragraph 15, Holy instructions are

Thou shalt no favor the person of the poor, nor favor the person of the mighty; but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor.

Mr. President, it is one of the most often quoted sections of the Jewish and Christian Bibles;  it is from this portion that comes the following:

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

So, as the campaign for your reelection continues, I would be very appreciative of some discussion of just exactly what you described to the Turkish president as our ideals and set of values.  Do you see our citizens and their rights as deriving from a just and righteous God, or from whatever you and Government chooses to allocate?

Thank you.

 

ps there are many good links to Kedoshim, but one is here http://chabadworld.net/page.asp?pageID={39EF8A8A-2011-4B34-B8BD-8445AA09BC01}&displayAll=1

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