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My Take: Dutch ban is bigotry
June 30th, 2011
04:00 AM ET

My Take: Dutch ban is bigotry

Editor's note: Since 2004, Shmuel Herzfeld has been the Rabbi of Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue, the oldest and largest Orthodox synagogue in Washington, D.C. His first book will be published within a year, titled: The Relevance of the Torah for our Modern Lives.

By Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, Special to CNN

The lower house of the Dutch parliament recently passed legislation that would ban ritual slaughter in accordance with both Jewish law, known as shechita, and Muslim law, known as halal.  The legislation would require the stunning of animals before their slaughter, an act that is forbidden by Jewish law.

For Jews, this is a very emotional issue that cuts at the core of who we are.

In our history, we have seen unfriendly governments attack our sacred rituals as a way of sending a message to their citizens that our religion is alien and barbaric.

We know that it often masquerades as a concern for a more humane treatment of animals, but in reality, it is just a smokescreen for old-fashioned bigotry.

Indeed, in 1933, one of the first edicts of Nazi Germany was to ban shechita as inhumane. We know that banning a fundamental ritual of our religion sends the message that our entire religion is unwelcome in that country.

By saying that the food that one is required to eat may not be prepared in the country, the Dutch parliament is in effect saying to the Jewish people that we Jews are not welcome in their country.

As Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt of the Conference of European Rabbis said, the ban is an “outrage” and will “prevent Jews from living a Jewish life in The Netherlands.”  He continued, “We have passed the stage of arguing the nuances of intention of anti-Semitism. The practical effects of this bill mean that Jews are no longer welcome in The Netherlands. This has not happened for 70 years.”

For me as a rabbi and certified kosher slaughterer, it is especially painful to witness this, as I know that Jewish law requires shechita on animals because we believe that it is the most humane manner of killing the animal.

The laws of shechita are designed precisely to minimize the pain and suffering of the animal. The canard that we would all be more humane if we stunned the animals before slaughtering flies in the face of the Jewish teaching that the animals cannot be stunned, because we need to make certain that the animals are healthy enough to walk before we kill them.  In fact, the act of stunning the animal can be a much more painful process than the ritual slaughter of the animal.

Jewish law requires the animals to be treated in a humane manner while they are alive and prohibits any act that would cause unnecessary pain to an animal.

Further, every ritual slaughter requires a preinspection of the blade to make certain that there are no nicks, which might somehow cause extra pain to the animal.  By Jewish law, the animal must be killed in a swift, precise movement that is specifically designed to limit pain.

If the slaughterer pauses, presses too hard on the animal or uses the knife in a tearing fashion, then the animal is deemed to be nonkosher and cannot be eaten by a Jew.  And as soon as a fowl is slaughtered, its blood must be covered with earth in order to respect the blood of the animal.

The reason for all of these laws - and there are many more - is to limit the pain of the animal, to treat the animal with dignity and to make certain that eating the meat becomes a spiritual process that respects God’s creatures.

Perhaps in response to this hypercritical and bigoted act by the Dutch legislature, some good may arise.  Perhaps Jews and Muslims can draw closer together and recognize that when the ugly face of persecution rears its head, it often does not distinguish between the Quran and the Torah.

If Jews and Muslims can successfully work together in opposing this legislation, then maybe it will be the start of a new alliance that recognizes that we are brothers and sisters who have so much in common.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Europe • Food • Netherlands

soundoff (189 Responses)
  1. tallulah13

    No, I think it's actually about humane treatment of animals. Not everything is about you.

    June 30, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Lycidas

      It's his opinion about his culture. Kind of hard not to have a little personal concern in this.

      June 30, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Is it bigotry to forbid human sacrifice, should a follower of the Aztec ways wish to worship his/her gods? Should we allow little girls to be forced into marriage with old men, just because that's what some religions demand? When do common sense and simple decency enter the equation?

      If we're going to eat an animal, it should be killed as humanly as possible. I really don't care one way or another about the author's religion. My concern is for the creature who will be killed for human benefit. This man may think that cruelty is sacred, but the society in which he lives has no obligation to agree with him.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Lycidas

      "This man may think that cruelty is sacred"

      Thank goodness the Jews and Muslims don't think that way.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  2. VooDooMan

    Hey Rabbi, take a look at the calendar. The year is 2011.

    June 30, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Lycidas

      Yeah...we shoot cows in the head in 2011..so much less barbaric right?

      June 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  3. White Phosphorus

    Yeah, being against the indiscriminate bombing of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians is bigotry too.

    June 30, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Lycidas

      You mean those bombings that come about after those terrorists have sent missles out from civilian locations. Ooops...thats against international law...we can't mention it when the Palestinian terrorists and Iranian lackeys do stuff like that.

      June 30, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • White Phosphorus

      Most of these areas have not been used for terrorist activities. Try to actually read the news once in a while.

      And even if it was true, do you actualy think that killing a hundred civilians to get one terrorist is acceptable?

      June 30, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Ask the govt approved Hamas terrorist. They must think putting civilians at risk is fine.
      And every traget Israel went after has a military function. They didn't just go to random Gazan villages and started to bomb them. Maybe you need to read some news. Start with the Jerusalem Post and Harretz.

      June 30, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Let's make something else clear. I like you username...trying to make a point with it? I hope not because in the Gazan War, Israel did not use White Phosphorous as a weapon. They used the M825A1 shell that is not defined as an incendiary weapon by the Third Protocol to the Convention on Conventional Weapons because its principal use is to produce smoke to protect troops.The Goldstone report accepted that white phosphorus is not illegal under international law.
      Could have Israel done a better job? Of course. Could Hamas not put it's citizens (the ones that voted them in power) into harms way? Of course but they don't.

      June 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Kevin Freldnikov

      People like Lycidas are why the Middle East will always be a bloodsoaked mess. Everyone has an excuse for their atrocities.

      June 30, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Kevin Freldnikov- You ditz. So, you think it's ok to just accuse a group of ppl and deny anyone from countering their propaganda? Typical foolishness from your type. You think that defending against lies that you support is wrong.

      I guess it will be another disappointment in your life.

      As far as the Middle East is concerned...heck, I don't know many that don't want peace. But they want peace in a unrealistic manner. What do you want? To give all of the UN recognized nation of Israel back? To whom? The British? Maybe the Turks would want it back.

      The fact is that their are millions of Arab-Israelis and Jewish-Israelis in that nation. They get along fine and run one of the few democracies in that part of the world. The Palestinians have thugs as their leaders in Gaza. The West Bank does better thank goodness. But how can you form a peace with ppl (Hamas) that has in their charter the goal of wiping out Israel? You can't. Yes Israel needs to improve how they deal with their neighbors. But don't you for a second make it out like 99% of the problem lies with Israel. You would be a fool.

      June 30, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  4. The Ole Bullsh!t Detector Is Going Off Again

    Humane treatment of animals is actually religious persecution. Nice spin.

    June 30, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Yeshiva Boy

      It is the spin of the Holy Dreidel! We can spin anything! And look out for your foreskins, here we come!

      June 30, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Cowboy Bob

      The Nazi-card is so convenient, isn't it? But some of them will actually think that way, too, so don't be surprised if they shoot a few extra Palestinians to blow off steam back in the ole homestead.

      June 30, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Lycidas

      @Cowboy Bob- Last I heard, there were no palestinian terrorists shooting from civilian locations at the Jews in Holland.

      And when the location in question was controlled by the Nazi, had laws made by the Nazi, still have ppl alive that lived through those times....it's not a card. It's a valid comment.

      June 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  5. JJ in CT

    The author wrote that Jews have "seen unfriendly governments attack our sacred rituals as a way of sending a message to their citizens that our religion is alien and barbaric."

    I would have to agree with that. But not just jewish ritual; I would throw the whole lot of religion in there as well. It's not just that the rituals, rules, laws, and beliefs are "alien and barbaric," it's that they are outdated, bronze age notions written by men who had very little knowledge of the world in which they lived, calling it the word of god in an attempt to create order and power structure.

    Religious rituals will pass with time into the past as they always have: we no longer throw virgins in volcanos.....

    However, I must disagree with the Dutch Parliament in that Jews and Muslims should have the freedom to practice their religion as they see fit, as long as it does not infringe on the lives of others. I like the idea of Muslims and Jews working together to fight for their rights.

    Is there good money in being a halal or kosher butcher? It must be pretty lucritive to have an entire segment of the population buy their food through one source. I always like to ask questions about where the money goes when it comes to religion; it's always very interesting to hear the answers. Anyone know?

    June 30, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      You got it. This is the first thing that came to mind to me. It's about the jobs/$$ that are threatened.

      June 30, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Laughing

      I don't know about other religions, but Judaism is generally pretty transparent about where the money goes when they get it. They have no problem telling you that even if they're doing a job that is overtly jewish, they're still the only ones getting the money. Now, most jews I know who do religious ceremonies as a proffession aren't just in it for the money and so a lot of the time those people are also pretty involved with community service and philanthropy, however the only way that synagogues make money is by promoting and making it themselves, it isn't compulsory for jews to donate.

      June 30, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashrut#Special_supervision
      "Maintaining a kosher certification usually involves a cost for periodic inspections by a mashgiach."

      June 30, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  6. Woody

    The Jews and the Muslims should get their heads out of the Bronze Age and into the 21st century. There's little hope that it will ever happen, however. Both religions have their goofy "'rule books" with laws and traditions that don't make much sense, but that's the way they always did it because someone, thousands of years ago, said so. Compassion for other living creatures take a back seat to some stupid, ancient tradition. Just what will happen if you don't eat Kosher food? Will you be struck by lightning and burn in hell forever? This is so amazingly dumb, you don't know whether to laugh at these people or feel sorry for them for being a bunch of brainless robots.

    June 30, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Scott

      And you think Christianity is any better? You fruit loops believe in a talking dead guy!

      June 30, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Lycidas

      @Scott- Your wit is beyond description. Really, there just aren't any words to describe it.

      June 30, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  7. JohnQuest

    I am pretty ignorant on this subject I hope someone can enlighten me. Why or how is it that, the meat is better for you if the animal is killed in a "kosher" manner? If it is not better for you then what is the difference (other than the suffering of the animal)?

    June 30, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • Laughing

      It's not better for you anymore than food that isn't Kosher, it's just the law that god laid out and jews have to follow. If they don't, there isn't any "punishment" per se, or rather, they won't be sent to hell or anything like that, but they will be deemed unworthy by god. It's sort of like if a parent doesn't give you permission to eat a cookie, but you do it anyways, the food will have no different effect on you whether you got permission or not, but now your mom or dad is going to be displeased with you.

      June 30, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Isn't there some sort of relationship between these ancient cultural dietary laws and cleanliness in the Bronze Age ? Am also very ignorant here, but "keeping Kosher" must have had some hygienic advantage at some point ? Were there more diseases transmitted at some point by animals with "cloven" hooves. Will take a little wander over on Wiki.

      June 30, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Rabbi Ernie Dinklefwat

      Wait!
      You didn't ask that question in a Kosher manner! We cannot answer you until you have been circu.mcised with a dreidel!

      June 30, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Laughing

      circ.umcision with a dreidal? OUCH! haha and @bucky, yeah since pigs especially wallow in mud and sh**t they were deemed unhygenic (probably the history on why the law was made in the first place). It's the same with she.llfish, because they're bottom feeders. Basically the jews in the old days knew that when you're around sh**t you can get a disease and die so all of a sudden "god" was like, I command you! don't eat that!

      June 30, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • JJ in CT

      I think the same goes for shellfish. We wouldn't eat shellfish that have been lying around without refridgeration. Pretty nasty stuff with dieases involved. Thus, we get a religious mandate (which seems good, as it was in the interest of keeping people healthy).

      You see the same with Catholics with no meat on Fridays.....helped out the fishmongers. Maybe steering away from shellfish helped out the halal and kosher buthchers as well.....

      June 30, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Yeshiva Boy

      We shouldn't eat dreidels either. You don't know where those things have been...

      June 30, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  8. Colin

    If it is truly harmless, in that the beast does not suffer any more than it otherwise would, that it a legitimate argument for allowing the practice, but this is hard to accept, given their refusal to follow the simple act of stunning the animal. To the extent that killing animals in a certain manner in the 21st Century based on the presumed wishes of some Bronze Age sky-fairy causes more pain than necessary, the religious nonsense must give way and be subordinated to simple human decency.

    PS: Why is it that every time a government does something that offends the Jewish community they pull out the "Nazi card"? I'm sorry, but comparing Dutch government food regulations with Nazi Germany is ludicrous and a transparent attempt to artificially deflect attention from the true issue – whether a primitive and barbaric religious practice unnecessarily inflicts pain on dumb beasts.

    June 30, 2011 at 8:41 am |
  9. John Richardson

    How many Jews in the Netherlands keep kosher in the first place? I have had a lot of friends with strong Jewish identi=ties who don't keep kosher. They would be unfazed by this law and many indeed would probably support it. I'll have to start asking around.

    June 30, 2011 at 8:34 am |
  10. Someone

    Ah please....: "By saying that the food that one is required to eat may not be prepared in the country, the Dutch parliament is in effect saying to the Jewish people that we Jews are not welcome in their country."

    That's nonesense. This law has been accepted just to prevent animal cruelty and nothing more.

    June 30, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Lycidas

      Until those in the lower part of their legislative branch are known..who can say what their motives are.

      June 30, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  11. True Friend

    Remember Dutch Resistance. Thousands died to protect the Jews and protesting the Nazis.

    June 30, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • McQueen

      You really need to study more. The overwhelming majority of Dutch Jews were killed during the Holocaust. To say that there was wide-spread Dutch resistance to the Nazi policies against Jews is not true.

      June 30, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  12. Kellie

    No. Not bigotry. If it were Christians or Buddhists the call would be the same. The entire meat industry is under fire for inhumane practices. If we are to take their lives and we have the knowledge and wherewithal to minimize their suffering, it is our responsibility as compassionate beings to do so. Your forebears and mine did what was available to them to do. In addition they were dealing with diseases we now control. As Temple Grandin said, 'Nature is cruel but we don't have to be.' To do less than we have the ability to do to reduce the suffering of food animals is barbaric, no matter who does it. I won't consume their suffering and I won't feed their pain and fear to my family or friends. I hope more and more people learn to look past tradition in both business and religion and purchase only humanely raised and slaughtered meat, or none at all.

    June 30, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • Ted M.

      Well said!

      June 30, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • JJ in CT

      Food Inc. shows how some of the meat industry treats animals in the U.S., and how they deal with sanitary conditions. Pretty gross! Definitely worth a watch, but may steer you away from meat (although I can't seem to give it up after watching).

      June 30, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Frogist

      @Kellie: I agree. What it comes down to is, is stunning more humane than using the knife on a conscious animal? If it is, what is the problem? If Rabbi Herzfeld says the ritual of shechita is to make the slaughter more humane then modifying the rules of the ritual to make it even more humane should not be an issue. If he is just doing it to uphold the rules of his religion then it is not a matter of what is or isn't humane and he should not have even brought it up.

      June 30, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  13. Reality

    The begining of the end of anything sacred about Judaism, Christianity and Islam:

    "origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    "New Torah For Modern Minds

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument. "

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

    June 30, 2011 at 7:18 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      There is a series of PBS Nova productions which basically agree with much of what is said here, and also examine other related topics.

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/

      June 30, 2011 at 8:18 am |
  14. News Flash

    If the motivation for the Dutch ban is strictly, and indiscriminately, against animal cruelty, then it is NOT bigotry, just because Herzfeld starts throwing around that word. There is a possibility that this IS "alien and barbaric" activity. What are the criteria used to make that judgement ? If they are objective, then they would NOT represent bigotry. Why does Orthodox, (fundamentalist) Jewry pick and chose the dietary laws from among the hundreds, or thousands, of others to settle on to express their "way of life" ? If my religion says I need to rip out the hearts of children to sacrifice to the sun god, and they pass laws against that, is THAT bigotry ? If this article represents Rabbi Herzfeld's ability to reason, then I wonder how embarrassed his community will be when his "book will be published within a year" ?

    June 30, 2011 at 6:42 am |
  15. fisty

    jewiwh law in a country that hasn't got a religion from a state point of view!?

    any sort of ethny or culture has to adapt to the local law, just a case od adapting!

    and. btw the person above said it right, if there is a less painful way to kill the animal wouldn't your god think it's better asweel!

    religious groups always find a way to mislead information in favor of their view!

    this law doesn't indicate in no way that these etny or cultures are not welcome, so get over yourself!

    June 30, 2011 at 6:37 am |
  16. Ismael

    Shmuel may have a point after all, technically. It is a well known fact that the Brain is responsible for sensations, such as pain. The only way to record this is EEG. I don't remember where, but i seem to remember a study, which proved that there is no pain involved and the EEG reading goes to zero in 6 secs. First 3 secs, no change. The ECG, which records heart activity, showed tremendous activity for about 10 mins. The heart pumps out all the body blood during this time. But no pain is felt – EEG is 0.
    I will let you know when i find the link.

    June 30, 2011 at 6:14 am |
  17. Are you sure

    Are you sure the Dutch have nothing but anti-Semitism in their minds when they voted this bill through the lower house – it does effect muslims as well.

    As somebody who has slit a number of animals throats in their day I can assure you that compared to the "bolt" which is used to slaughter non-kosher and non-halal meat, it is a very traumatic experience for the animal – it is not an instant death – the animal is left to bleed to death, thrashing around and spraying blood in what can last up to ten minutes. The arterial spray can hit 20 feet before the animals heart starts to slow down, gradually lowering the pressure in which the animals blood is pumped around its body.

    Perhaps Shmuel Herzfeld would care to be honest about his role in ritual slaughter – he as a rabbi will say a few prays and leave the knife wielding to others more qualified and more experienced with the knife – he won't even help hold the animal down or fasten restraints if they are used – which is very rare the ritual slaughtering of animals .

    Perhaps Shmuel Herzfeld would care to be a little honest and admit that the Jews and Muslims of the Netherlands will be allowed to continue this barbaric butchering – the outlawing of human execution by throat slitting has been outlawed for hundreds of years because of how barbaric it is BTW – as long as they (the ones who want kosher and halal meats) are able to prove that the methods used in ritual slaughtering cause no more or less suffering to the animals than the standard bolt method.

    Is it not possible that the Dutch where thinking about animal cruelty when they passed this bill – like a number of other countries like New Zealand and Switzerland?? I don't remember many Rabbi's complaining when Australia banned the exporting of live animals to Indonesia to prevent them being slaughtered in this ritual fashion – after all halal meat and kosher meat are produced the same way.

    Is Shmuel Herzfeld seriously suggesting that Animal Rights – an international organization that is charity supported, is the new Nazi Party???

    I guess as an animal lover one must be anti-Semitic?? Is this what you are trying to say Shmuel Herzfeld???

    June 30, 2011 at 5:46 am |
    • Ismael

      Yes, i myself have witnesses these kind of slaughters, where the animal bleeds to death over a period of time, all the while spraying its blood in torrents. With time, these practices ought to change. No god would prefer violent execution when a much painless way is available. And by the way, it is considered allowed by many muslims to stun before slaughter, as long as the animal does not die when stunned.

      June 30, 2011 at 6:01 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Are you sure

      Well said (on many levels), IMHO...

      Peace...

      June 30, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Scott

      Actually, Anti-Semitism means against Islam as well.

      June 30, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Lycidas

      @Scott- No it doesn't.

      June 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  18. True Friend

    Secular atheists are looking for trouble in the West. Two tragic world wars were never enough for them.

    June 30, 2011 at 5:45 am |
    • Andy

      Such tired old rubbish, Hitler was of course a Roman Catholic, who never renounced his faith. And where do you think his hatred of the Jews came from if not from the centuries old persecution and vilification of them by the Christian church? Also let us not forget that the churches in German happily assisted the Nazis by revelling who in their parish were of Jewish origin. Not a single catholic was sanctioned for this work, even though throughout this period many were expelled from the church for doctrinal crimes.

      Good on the four enlightened European countries where this is banned, now when is the EU going to do the right thing and put a stop to this Stone Age ritual being used to slaughter animals? As so often in the past, society as a whole must once more shame religion into acting morally.

      June 30, 2011 at 6:49 am |
    • True Friend

      Andy, I was reacting to Nick, but his comment disappeared. Hitler was a Darwinian atheist just like you. The Christian Church was or is the only good thing in Europe and America. You Westerners were barbaric child-sacrificing forest-worshippers before the Church educated you to be civil and sane. You are feeding yourselves with what Christians have created and are still grumbling. What has gone wrong in the West? You guys look worse than the pre-war Europe in 30's and early 40's.

      June 30, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • Bummed Out America

      We can't afford to look good anymore. We're all poor now. You don't like the hat? It's a real nice hat.

      June 30, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • JJ in CT

      @ True Friend.

      Oh please.... "The Church educated you to be civil and sane?" Sure, a good deal educational philosophy and tradition of teaching came out of the church, but they didn't start these good works. The church stole / borrowed educational philosophy from the Greeks and Romans. Muslim countries were far advanced than Christian countries in the medieval ages, and western religious traditions borrowed and learned from their teachings.

      Yeah, like the ten commandments were the first laws ever..... Egyptian law was in place long before Moses was "given" the ten commandments. Sure, he didn't just climb into the mountains and chisel himself a way into power.....

      June 30, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  19. Ismael

    @Nick, yeah, good idea. Only, this time, there is a strong jewish state, Israel, which will not let it happen. And you know, there are about 60 muslim countries. Thats why it never happened to muslims.

    June 30, 2011 at 5:42 am |
  20. batchoftruth

    religion IS alien and barbaric.

    June 30, 2011 at 5:27 am |
    • Lycidas

      Alien?? No.
      Barbaric....no.

      That solves that problem.

      June 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Chaim

      Most religions ARE barbaric, and are only "alien" to outsiders who view them that way.
      There, fixed it for you, Lycidas.

      July 1, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Lycidas

      No Chaim....you have really done nothing.

      Just calling it barbaric does not make it so. I know in your little fantasy world things work like that, but in reality it doesn't.

      As for how you used the term alien...ok. But that term carries nothing bad nor good in the manner you used it.

      Now that's fixed 🙂

      July 1, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.