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December 26th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Ultra-Orthodox demands spark debate in Israel

By Guy Azriel and Kevin Flower, CNN

Jerusalem (CNN)–Eight-year-old Naama Margolis is afraid to walk to school.

She's afraid, her mother says, because life has become a nightmare for anyone who doesn't follow the edicts of the ultra-Orthodox Jews who have flocked in recent years to their city of 80,000 just outside of Jerusalem.

"They threaten everyone in town over everything they don't like," Hadassah Margolis told CNN on Monday. "We have suffered swearing, they have had eggs, tomatoes, stink bombs and rocks thrown at us. They do this to anyone who doesn't think, look or act as they do."

"I'm afraid when one of them passes by me," she earlier told Israel's Channel 2 "I don't know if he will spit on me or will curse me 'whore', 'slut', "bastards" 'go away from here' - exactly in those words."

The Margolis family, whose story was detailed Friday in a nationwide television broadcast, is the latest in a series of high-profile examples of what critics say are attempts by groups within Israel's ultra-Orthodox community to impose its religious beliefs on the public and excise women from the public sphere.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

Last week, for instance, a young Israeli woman made headlines when she detailed her experience refusing a ultra-Orthodox man's demands that she sit in the back of a bus. Several well-publicized rallies have also voiced opposition to various forms of gender segregation favored by the ultra-Orthodox.

In addition to demanding more modesty and trying to segregate bus passengers, ultra-Orthodox Jews have posted unofficial signs in some neighborhoods commanding men and women to walk on different sides of the street.

The issue has prompted responses from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who broached the topic Sunday for the fourth time in two weeks.

He ordered officials to take down the street signs and promised a stiff response to harassment, saying that Israel was a democratic, western and liberal state.

"There is no place for harassment or discrimination," he said.

The issue has played prominently in the Israeli press for weeks, and much of the debate has centered on Beit Shemesh, where the Margolis family lives.

In recent years, an influx of adherents to what critics say are the most extreme sects in ultra-Orthodox Judaism has inflamed tensions with other residents holding less strident views.

The Margolis family practice Orthodox Judaism, but are not considered strict enough by the extreme ultra-Orthodox faction in the community.

"I am not anti-religious, anti-Orthodox or anti-secular" Hadassah Margolis said, "I am anti-bad people and they are bad. They need to be taken out of here."

In the television report aired Friday, one unidentified ultra-Orthodox resident was asked whether he wanted the entire city to become religious.

"Not just Beit Shemesh - all of Israel will be ultra-Orthodox," he replied. "And nothing can help you. The country, at the end, will be an ultra-Orthodox country whether you want it or not."

In response to growing tensions in the city, Israeli police and the Beit Shemesh officials announced a plan to install more than 300 security cameras to document harassment.

Police also have deployed extra officers to prevent violence, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Two suspects were arrested in separate incidents this week. One man spat at a passing woman. Another tried to attack television crews covering the events.

Much of the public debate in Israel has centered on who is to blame for the situation, with most holding the government responsible for ceding too much power to religious parties.

But much of the responsibility lies with Israel society, said activists who have worked on gender segregation issues.

"I believe while this government is responsible to the situation to a degree, they are not the only ones" says Shira Ben-Sasson Fustenberg of the New Israeli Fund. "All of us are to blame for not stopping this from happening when it first started, we could have taken a stand a long time ago."

Israelis outraged about the incident in Beit Shemesh have planned a candle-light protest Tuesday in support of residents there.

"There is a sense that extreme margins in the Israeli society are growing in confidence." event planner Tzviki Levin told Israel radio.

"There is an attempt to deny freedom and values of democracy, the values on which the state of Israel was created," she said. "The rally tomorrow is our way of making a strong statement."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Israel • Judaism

soundoff (470 Responses)
  1. Babak from LA

    Even my Israeli friends don't care about this. Most people in Israel want to live in peace. The problem is only this very small ortodux group. They don't want peace as long as they don't have to fight for it .....

    December 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  2. Dan

    Is this story that is not even important in Israel regarding few irrelevant ultra orthodox should be in CNN worldwide homepage???????
    Probably not even in the front page of the Israeli leading newspapers!
    So why do we need to have news about Israel when thousands are dieing in Africa Phillipines Syria etc???????
    Enough with the anti Israeli propaganda! Enough!
    Let the 7 million people in Israel live and focus on worldwide news

    December 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Louis

      70 years ago the nazis also picked a portion of their society to ostrasize and vilify and look where that mess ended up. If the ultras cannot live with modern society they should wall off their city and allow themselves to rot with their nazi brothers.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • tutuvabene

      This is not insignificant. Ultra orthodox numbers have been growing in Israel in recent years and so has the harassment. If they start harassing tourists, the government will take more definitive action.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  3. Peter Beck

    "The issue has prompted responses from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who broached the topic Sunday for the fourth time in two weeks.
    He ordered officials to take down the street signs and promised a stiff response to harassment, saying that Israel was a democratic, western and liberal state.
    "There is no place for harassment or discrimination," he said."

    Isn't it ironic that on this issue, Netanyahu is the voice of moderation.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Thinker23

      What exactly you consider to be ironic in the statement the Netanyahu is a voice of moderation?

      December 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Ze'ef

      The basic issue is the lack of separation of "Church" and State in Israel. Ben Gurion did not foresee all these troubles when he let the Religious enter politics in Israel. It is not only the women who suffer (they are at the Ultra-Orthodox the ones who work and provide, while the men are studying in the yeshivas) but also the total lack of consideration and respect for the expressions of "Liberal Jewish Life" in Israel. They are scorned by the Ultra-Orthodox and denied a Synagogue, even though the local communities "allow" for this, starting court cases to stop them from practicing, it is a shame that all these practices are allowed within a State that was created for all Jews to live in Freedom.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Hannah

      @Ze'ef: Exactly!

      December 28, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  4. Mauricio

    It is always sad to see that religion separates us so much. Let me correct myself, it is religious fanatics that separate us and are to blame. Troubled fanatics that take to extreme everything in their releigion. Incredible that after so many centuries, we are still using religion to opress, invade, submit, kill, etc.... Religion is not bad, it is these fanatics that do averithign to push people away from being religious.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  5. Rainer Braendlein

    Jews still (still after Jesus arrival) need Gender segregation?

    Is that really necessary?

    Jesus Christ more emphasized the responsibility of the men. Jesus said the following, Gospel of Matthew 5:

    27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

    Did Jesus teach that we should mutilate ourselves?

    Never!

    What did Jesus mean?

    He meant that the process of lust within us had to be stopped. Jesus meant that we should remove our lustful eyes and our lustful hands. He meant the process of lust within us should be stopped in such a perfect way that we become blind and dead for appealing women, as if we had removed our real eyes and hands.

    A few of us have access to the areas of their brain, were the lustful process run.

    How can we stop the lustful processes running within us?

    It is only God, who can stop these processes.

    According to Romans 6, we can get set free by the releasing power of Christ's death and resurrection.

    How do we get this power?

    Answer: Jesus has borne our sins, when he died for us on the cross. Believe that and get baptized. After baptism you can be sure that you are connected with Christ's releasing power. Just start to keep the commandments and don't look after the women any longer.

    How to get this faith?

    Just ask God that God may give you the faith as a costfree present. Feel free to ask repeatedly. Knock at heavens door until the door opens.

    Note: The gospel is not about removing real limbs of our body (that would be horrible), but about getting released from the lust, which dwells within us and causes that we abuse our eyes and hands.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  6. palatot

    This is what religion is all about. FOX and their GOP fundamentalists and born again christians supports that self righteousness. Keep the US a secular state; vote democrat!

    December 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • dark paul

      I'm a conservative Repubican and also an Atheist. You are using stupid sterotypes. Grow up.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • fred

      palatot
      Exactly how are democrats better than republicans? Do you buy into the soundbites you are feed ?

      December 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Tired of it

      I don't know about "better" but Democrats seem to fight more for people than Republicans do.

      If you are a company Republicans are your men.

      Republicans seem to have a lot of evangelicals in their midst and they are religious fundamentalists, so that seems to apply here.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • fred

      Tired of it
      As you said "seems" to care more. These are just sound bits rammed down our throats. When you look at who the republicans put up for president you get a sense they really do not want to win and it is all rigged. Obama vs Newt, Palin, Paul etc............not much of a race. Issue is Obama will give away more money to those who rigg the elections.

      December 27, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  7. Reality

    Dear Ultra-Orthodox Jews who did not read this on p.1 and p. 5.

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

    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."

    December 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Reality

      What actually is the joy of disbelief?

      Don't you exaggarate?

      December 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Reality

      Are 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis and 1.1 billion agnostics/atheists exaggerating??????????????

      December 27, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  8. Charlea Michaels

    I suppose now it seems the Germans were right to seperate the Jewish people from their own as they had this fanatical idea they were the superior race now the Jews are doing it to their own, whats next the gas chambers?

    December 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Thinker23

      The Nazis murdered every Jew they could because the Nazis had that fanatical idea that the Arian race was the superior one. The Jews (even the most fanatical ones) DO NOT KILL anyone and they DO NOT declare (or believe) that they're any "better" than any other human being. I'd recommend you to take you racist hatred elsewhere.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • octopus

      It's obvious that you should be separated from the rest of human beings.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  9. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    hmmm. who gives a rat's ass? let them kill each other off. if we're lucky they'll take a bunch of muslims and christians with them.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      I don't give a flying rat's fart about your fartments.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      how original

      December 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  10. skfalcon

    at first when i saw the front page headline, i thought they were trying to do this in an american city. my first reaction was of outrage. Now that i read it and found out that it is in israel, i don't care at all.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  11. Inconvenient George

    It's the hats. Gotta be those hats. Causes brain damage.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • July

      hahaha.... good joke!! who knows... that might be the real cause of their madness...

      December 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      – George Carlin

      December 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  12. Darren

    sad to see such relgion stnage nutter still in the world.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  13. ran

    Im israeli and right now there is a massive protest against those ultra-Orthodox Jews who spited on Naama. More and more people are coming to protest and also most of the Orthodox Jews are against segregation.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @ran

      Hi,

      you belong to the descendants of the beloved Jacob. I appreciate.

      Could you tell me, why is it so hard for a Jew to believe that Jesus from Nazareth is the Messiah of Israel.

      I love Israel. I don't accuse the Jews for not accepting Jesus. I merely want to understand the matter.

      I look forward to get an answer.

      Thank you.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • ran

      Its our Religion
      you don't believe in Muhammad or in Buddha right?
      its the same thing

      December 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • July

      Hi! I'm glad to hear your comment..

      December 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > I love Israel. I don't accuse the Jews for not accepting Jesus. I merely want to understand the matter.

      Because Jesus didn't meet the prophecy that the Jewish people had. Christians try to strong arm the prophecy to fit Jesus. The best proof of this was the concept of the Nazerene. The authors thought that he had ot be born in Nazareth. The reality is that Nazerene was actually a term for a type of person, sorta like a jewish hippie. 😛

      December 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Rainer... The answer is pretty simple: The Jews believe in the Messiah and eagerly await for his arrival. As there were several false "Messiahs" in the past the Jews expect the REAL Messiah to PROVE that He is indeed the Messiah. Apparently, Jesus DID NOT prove convincingly enough that He was the Messiah. If He did then the Jews would accept Him. Simple, is not it?

      December 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      What about Jesus' miracles?

      What about the fact that Christianity later got authorized as royal faith by the Roman authority?

      What about the fact that Jews suffer from being unredeemed and still are slaves of their sinfulness, like the CNN article proves? Jews neither understand the law right nor are capable to keep it. Jews have a "lack of Jesus".

      May got give Israel the saving faith. Amen.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • ran

      Hi,

      i cant really give you the "right" answers to those questions about Judaism-Christianity relations because I'm not religious
      the only thing i can tell you is that this is our believe

      What i want to say is that most of the israelis are against the segregation and we are westren and a very liberal country

      Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah

      December 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  14. Cuervo Jones

    catholicism teaches the complete opposite . why do atheists know more about organized religion than you?

    December 27, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  15. yannaes

    Kinda like the idea. Not a bad take.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  16. Altruist

    There's not much difference between brainwashed North Koreans and these ultra Orthodox Jews.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Thinker23

      In some way, you're correct. The difference (and a BIG one) between the two groups is that the brainwashed North Koreans are the absolute majority in their secluded state and they do not try to force their ideology on others (not because they do not want to but because there are no "others" in North Korea). Interestingly enough, there are much more Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn than there are in Israel. The Israeli authorities will do a favor to all Israelis if they will react to the actions of Ultra-Orthodox fanatics in Israel the same way the authorities in New York would react in case their brethren in Brooklyn tried to act similarly.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Kabulazimtaera Rafaellanipta Satrigtious Jones

      ATTENTION: Thinker

      Your reply was EXCELLENT! 🙂

      December 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • idealist707

      Yes, we are all cousins in body; but in religion???

      Now we know where the Christians and Muslims got all their fear of womens' strength.
      Maybe that's why they segregate them and keep them pregnant as often as possible.

      And then we need bedtime stories on top of it all.
      It's a lonely universe, and life is fantastic. Don't ask for a Hollywood ending.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  17. Robin

    Exactly what is it about living in the Middle East that makes the men so afraid of their women? These "Ultra Orthodox" pinheads are doing exactly the same thing that Muslims do. Could someone PLEASE tell me why these men are so afraid of their women?

    December 27, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • This is my theory

      I think it is all the body hair on Middle Eastern women. No matter how much absurd hair the men grow on their faces and head there (see picture above), they just cannot compete. That fills them with fear.

      The real question is "why does that lousy desert cause it's inhabitants to go insane and become violent religious whacks?"

      December 27, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • idealist707

      -why are ME men afraid of their women, you ask.
      Because none of their women believe they have to be holy virgin mothers. Simple.
      It's just biology, not the devil, nor bad morals. It's just nature.
      Why do men run around ready to hop on anything? It's just nature.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Pray without ceasing in 2012

    December 27, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • hippypoet

      perspective changes things... try pulling your head out of your @ss then research the placebo effect. Have you ever heard of the power of suggestion? How about the saying "mind over matter"... yes, no, maybe, only on tuesdays? prayer is just another mind trick you play on yourself...whats sad is you are too stupid to realize it and have come to believe that it works because "god" exists and even cares about your peity issues...thats called delusional. Heres another question for you, do you hear god talk to you? thats called schizophrenia! You sir need help.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • tallulah13

      Yes. Keep praying. Do nothing but pray. All christians should spend all their free time on their knees, praying. If you do that, you won't get in the way of people who are actually WORKING to make things better.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • sagar

      When you believe or even have to defend what you believe. The question to ask is what are you afraid of. Anything that implys separation is not religion, it is dogma. Reglion and spirituality can not meet. If the religion has rules that divide, the world is one.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • idealist707

      Yes,
      Starting with the mind. It deteriorates. Brain scans have proven it.
      How dó you like that?

      December 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  19. William Demuth

    Soon they shall be over run.

    Good riddance I say unto them.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @William Demuth

      I wish you a happy new year.

      How was Christmas?

      December 27, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • William Demuth

      Secular and pleasent!

      I hope yours went as well!

      December 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  20. Rainer Braendlein

    Gender segregation?

    Is that really necessary?

    Jesus Christ more emphasized the responsibility of the men. Jesus said the following, Gospel of Matthew 5:

    27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

    Did Jesus teach that we should mutilate ourselves?

    Never!

    What did Jesus mean?

    He meant that the process of lust within us had to be stopped. Jesus meant that we should remove our lustful eyes and our lustful hands. He meant the process of lust within us should be stopped in such a perfect way that we become blind and dead for appealing women, as if we had removed our real eyes and hands.

    A few of us have access to the areas of their brain, were the lustful process run.

    How can we stop the lustful processes running within us?

    It is only God, who can stop these processes.

    According to Romans 6, we can get set free by the releasing power of Christ's death and resurrection.

    How do we get this power?

    Answer: Jesus has borne our sins, when he died for us on the cross. Believe that and get baptized. After baptism you can be sure that you are connected with Christ's releasing power. Just start to keep the commandments and don't look after the women any longer.

    How to get this faith?

    Just ask God that God may give you the faith as a costfree present. Feel free to ask repeatedly. Knock at heavens door until the door opens.

    Note: The gospel is not about removing real limbs of our body (that would be horrible), but about getting released from the lust, which dwells within us and causes that we abuse our eyes and hands.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • hippypoet

      you must be an idiot – a jew is calling for this, jesus created mass delusion called christianity not judism... In the torah men are better and therefore above women and so to that end a jew wants to separate the two (rightfully so too). Is there book of faith less then or more then yours Rainer? Tread carefully!

      December 27, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @hipp'

      "Is there book of faith less then or more then yours Rainer?"

      Most Jews have never understood correctly the Old Testament law of the Torah. Thus, God in Jesus interpreted the law and the outcome was the Sermon on the Mount, Gospel of Matthew 5-7.

      Christianity is the lawful successor of Judaism. The Jews didn't accept their Messiah Jesus and thus God has adopted the Gentiles (us) instead of them.

      Although the Jews deny their Messiah Jesus, they are still God's Chosen People, whereby a single Jews has nevertheless to believe in Jesus, in order to get saved. The gender segregation is a clear proof that the Jews should urgently accept Jesus, in oder to get released and to understand the law rightly.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Inconvenient George

      Hippy,
      Rainer is a bored troll, who cannot possibly be for real. NO ONE can be THAT idiotic. She is ranting for no other reason than to irritate people, and get off on that. CNN needs an "ignore" button.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • hippypoet

      ok so you really are an idiot then.. they (the jewish people) created the belief system you follow like a sheep... jesus was a jew hence why all of his direct followers didn't like mary hangin around – she wasn't worthy under the ORIGINAL belief system – christianity is a branch off, an off shot...therefore less then the original, like a drink with too much ice and then it melts... they DO understand the torah... it is extremely arrogant of you to think they don't. If you believe yourself to have any amount of understanding of your book which isn't even half as old then where do you draw your delusioned conclusions that they have no understanding of theres when compared to the likes of you and your beliefs? the arrogance flows out your mouth like come out a whors!

      December 27, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @hipp'

      Why don't you get me?

      Just have a short look on the above article of CNN and it becomes clear that Judaism, which denies the Messiah, is not acceptable.

      Obviously, the radical Jews behave very disgustingly.

      If the Jews would understand the law rightly, they would love their neighbours. Love is the fulfillment of the law.

      All the false religions on earth like Islam, Catholicism, Judaism, etc. are exclusive. They only love each other: A Muslims loves only Muslims, a Catholic loves only Catholics, etc.. They love you only on the condition that you convert.

      True Christians love everybody independent form belief, color, status, etc., whereby they don't deny the true doctrine. I am ready to invite my Muslim or Jewish neighbour for dinner, but I am not ready to deny the divine sonship of Jesus Christ, as the Koran and Judaism requires. I love people and don't require them to convert, whereby I will not deny that Jesus is God's Son.

      True Christians regard themselves as the low ones, which just got God's grace for free. This grace is not a possession, which belongs exclusively to the Christians, but God wants to be gracious to everybody and thus Christians have to love everybody, like God loves everybody.

      True Christians regard themselves as the ones, which are required to be righteous and kind. Christian are no judges, but loving people.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:38 am |
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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.