Roots of Prejudice

FAITH IN ACTION By Katherine Marshall Newsweek has some edgy covers these days. How about, “The Case for Killing Granny”? … Continued


By Katherine Marshall

Newsweek has some edgy covers these days. How about, “The Case for Killing Granny”? Sure catches the eye. But “Is your Baby Racist?” on September 14, with an adorable little face staring innocently out, is equally disturbing.

The cover story, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, outlines fascinating research about the nature and origins of racist attitudes. It came smack in the midst of the furor about whether today’s nasty political “discourse” has racist roots or undercurrents. The research underscores that the desire to be part of an in-group is very strong, and this is evident even in very young children.

Children seem innately to latch onto differences to create divisions: whether it’s red shirts versus blue (as in one experiment), skin color, or other visible differences. They tend to associate the positive characteristics they see in themselves – niceness, smarts, etc. – with “their” group, and they conclude that those who look different are also different in those ways. And, the article emphasizes, talking about topics like race in fuzzy terms (as most parents do) leaves a fuzzy impression. One woman told her five-year-old repeatedly, “Remember, everybody’s equal.” After seven months of such exhortations, the boy asked, “Mommy, what’s ‘equal’ mean?”

Some similar issues emerge from Adam Gopnik’s reflections (in the New Yorker) on the Dreyfus affair that rocked France at the turn of the twentieth century. Why does prejudice run so deep? What makes decent people act in ways that stray so far from their values? Are these biases a vestige of primitive urges or more tied to modernity? Religious prejudice, ethnic bias, nationalism, and reactions to immigrants are all part of the mix.

The Dreyfus affair involved an upright soldier, a family man with a long upstanding record, Jewish, from a formerly German part of France (Alsace), falsely convicted of treason. The case stirred up ferocious debate in France that left indelible marks to this day. It’s an immensely complicated story that ended happily for Alfred Dreyfus, who was eventually exonerated and lived to a ripe old age. But, as Gopnik concludes, there’s far more to it than one man’s tale. “The urge to protect the nation from its enemies by going around the corner to get them is natural, but what you get is usually not the enemies, and, going around the corner, you bump into something worse.”

Gopnik’s rich analysis (a review of several books about the affair) weaves together these complex dimensions of the Dreyfus affair. It had threads of ancient anti-Semitism but also its more modern dimensions, brought into the open with the growing pains of the era’s changing, more plural societies. Some linked Judaism to the nineteenth century artistic and cultural revolutions that seemed to threaten traditional life. Religion was involved, especially as debates turned on its role in national identity. Many Frenchmen explained France’s humiliating loss of the 1870 war (against Germany) as the result of the nation’s turning away from Christianity and France’s “true” character and values. Immigration played a role, again presenting the question: who was truly French? France’s self-conscious laïcité – roughly equivalent to secularism – owes much to the turmoil around the Dreyfus affair and the roles the Catholic Church then played in fanning the flames of prejudice. In 1905, France’s famous separation of church and state was enacted into law. That law is central to the debates in France today about Muslim women’s right to wear the headscarf and almost any other issue where church and state come into contact.

So the forces at work were at the same time primitive, like the racist urges of a small child accentuated by fear, and highly complex, part of the upheavals of modernization and changing political processes. At one level, writes Gopnik, the Dreyfus affair “showed that a huge number of Europeans, in a time largely smiling and prosperous, liked engaging in raw, animal religious hatred, and only felt fully alive when they did. Hatred and bigotry were not a vestige of the superstitious past but a living fire–just what comes, and burns, naturally.” But in the end, the harsh images of racism and religious prejudice, forced into the intellectual and political discourse, changed France, for the better. It’s significant that France’s governments have seen more Jews in prominent roles than virtually any other.

The political story has another, complex twist. The happy ending–Dreyfus’ exoneration–was the painful product of intense political debate and it seemed to mark the defeat of reactionary tendencies. But, Gopnik observes, “in any modernized country, the backward-looking party will always tend toward resentment and grievance. The key is to keep the conservatives feeling that they are an alternative party of modernity. .. When the conservative party comes to see itself as unfairly marginalized, it becomes a party of pure reaction.” In France, the aftermath of the Dreyfus affair laid the seeds for Vichy.

One rabbi observed bitterly to me during a visit to the concentration camp of Birkenau that people in that region had imbibed anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk. He meant that there was a pervasive culture that fostered racism and religious prejudice. But stereotyping does indeed, as Bronson and Merryman observe, start very young. It’s a complex blend of ancient and primitive urges, and the plural and dynamic nature of modern society, where identity is multi-layered and shifting. That makes for an explosive mix, and we are seeing it today in the United States. If there’s any single lesson from the past and from the research, it’s that nowhere is thoughtful and civil discourse more needed. That’s because racist attitudes are far from inevitable, and addressing the topic of difference squarely and honestly can bring change.

NOTE TO READERS: I altered the final paragraph of this post in response to a reader’s comment, Jan Niechwiadowicz, Moderator, Polish Media Issues, by deleting the word Polish. The Birkenau camp is located in what it today Poland, but use of Polish could be misconstrued. Birkenau was of course a Nazi concentration camp in occupied Poland.

Katherine Marshall is a senior fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, a Visiting Professor, and a senior advisor for the World Bank.

By Katherine Marshall | 
October 1, 2009; 1:40 PM ET

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  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    I suppose the question you should be asking yourself is whence antisemitism. With which religion did it arise, and it did arise with a religion? Which religions have carried it in their liturgy for two thousand years? Which religions exported it to the Middle East, Asia, and Africa?

  • coloradodog

    “Is your baby racist?” is pandering for readership like “Is your pet psychic? We’ll find out at 11” during TV ratings sweeps.Babies, puppies, kitty’s, bunnies aren’t born racist.Only humans become that way as a direct result of the teachings and example of their parents and extended family and, later, by their peers, their culture, their society and sometimes, sadly, their religion. Only with education can we overcome this. We’re all racist to some extent and I know, for me, it’s a constant struggle to overcome it.My father taught me all Mexicans would steal from me and now, when I can’t find something, it’s the first thought that comes into my mind and I have actually accused members of my extended family in Mexico of taking things (only needing to profusely apologize when I find the item later). In Chiapas, Mexico’s poorest state, many will steal because of profound poverty, drug addiction (including the hard drug alcohol), and because of any temptation or opportunity I put in front of them. But not all Mexicans steal from me nor do they have a corner on this common trait of humans throughout the world where similar conditions exist. If there were one thing I haven’t forgiven my father for, it was this teaching. I need to realize, however, he wasn’t born racist. He was taught the same way I was.Racism is a political wedge issue exploited now more than ever before since the last time Hitler used it to seize power by scapegoating the Jews.Racism is part of the dark side of human nature and reminds me of the Native American story of the grandfather and the wolf. A young boy told his grandfather of a school bully who the boy wanted to kill because of some offense that day. The grandfather told the boy his feelings were from one of the wolves in his heart. He told the boy that wolves could be violent and vicious but they, like dogs, could also be loving and nurturing. The grandfather told the boy he felt as if both wolves were constantly fighting inside him for control of his soul.

  • ccnl1

    The hate of alien peoples that exudes from the OT, NT and koran is one of the major sources of racism. Eliminate the passages in these supposedly “divinely” inspired operating manuals and there will be a dramatic improvement in the respect and love for our neighbors.

  • zebra4

    Coloradodog: kudos to you for your good post.My 2 cents’ worth here is the key word used by the author–identity.From the Old Stone Age (Paleolithic time) humans migrated to different lands where they found different eco systems. This resulted in diversification–both biological and cultural.The biological diversification due to differing eco systems resulted in variations in skin color, shape of the head and various other morphological traits.Cultural diversification resulted in differences in families of different languages and dialects as well as differences in solving problems of existence.Hence today we have 3,000 different languages and cultures and sub-cultures.Hence innumerable identities emerged. People cling to their identies and start believing that “our way of life is the best way of life and other ways are bizzare and strange. This is known as ethnocentrism.In 21st century we need a massive educational endeavor to educate masses how and why different skin colors, languages and religions evolved and why we must develop respect and differences. This is the essence of cultural relativism.At least one course in anthropology should be required in college and high school curricula.

  • ccnl1

    Roots of Religious Prejudice/Racism:Part 1 From the Koran:KORAN commands to kill infidels:Allah is an enemy to unbelievers. – Sura 2:98On unbelievers is the curse of Allah. – Sura 2:161Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. – 2:191Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme. (different translation: ) Fight them until there is no persecution and the religion is God’s entirely. – Sura 2:193 and 8:39Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. – 2:216….. martyrs…. Enter heaven – Surah 3:140-43If you should die or be killed in the cause of Allah, His mercy and forgiveness would surely be better than all they riches they amass. If you should die or be killed, before Him you shall all be gathered. – 3:157-8You must not think that those who were slain in the cause of Allah are dead. They are alive, and well-provided for by their Lord. – Surah 3:169-71Let those fight in the cause of God who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fights in the cause of God, whether he is slain or victorious, soon we shall give him a great reward. – Surah 4:74Those who believe fight in the cause of God, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil. – 4:76But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever you find them. – 4:89Therefore, we stirred among them enmity and hatred, which shall endure till the Day of Resurrection, when Allah will declare to them all that they have done. – 5:14O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people. – 5:54Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme – 8:39O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there are 20 steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish 200; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding. – 8:65It is not for any Prophet to have captives until he has made slaughter in the land. – 8:67Allah will humble the unbelievers. Allah and His apostle are free from obligations to idol-worshipers. Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers. – 9:2-3When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. – 9:5

  • zebra4

    When some one repeats the same thing (copy and paste) again and again that person exhibits his/her own limited mental horizon. If some one went to a divinity school and did not have in-depth exposure to liberal arts education, that person with his/her limited mental horizon is going to repeat the same thing. This means he/she has nothing new to write or say or is incapable of exhibting expanded knowledge.If some one has been responded to his/her campaign of disinformation and still keeps repeating his/her original cut and paste thing, the readers know that that person is shallow.

  • JohnHalucha

    Katherine Marshall, your slip is showing.

  • jimpres

    The following statement “Polish concentration camp of Birkenau” is incorrect. Please correct the offending statement.

  • ccnl1

    Roots of Religious Prejudice, Part IIAnti-Semitic passages in the NT:Matthew 23:35 (also Lk 11:50-51) Matthew 27:25John 8:44 (also Rev 2:9) You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 Revelation 3:9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars – I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.

  • PSolus

    I think that we will probably discover that the ultimate roots of our prejudices are to be found in our DNA.That may be one of the reasons that we survived, while other

  • Navin1

    As I believe all humans are fundamentally the same the problem of racism is a deeper question to me. I do not find the answer in sociology as most of this article suggests. To my exploration, it seems that an individual ego is created by a sense of otherness. Prior to consciousness we are one with our mother. Upon birth, we separate in a profound way but the love and smell from her allows us to feel secure but this otherness creates in us a fear of ego-dissolution. That ego fear is expressed over and over again as we get older and get stranger anxiety at some level or another. As social animals, we then extend our sense of ego integrity to the group. That group begins to define us. We then become egocentric and ethnocentric. But hatred has not come upon us yet. We have a sense of otherness. But neither does the child hate the milk of a surrogate, nor does an adolescent hate someone s/he has never met.Until, that is, they acquire an ideology that teaches them to hate the other. If they are taught an ideology to love differences and diversity, there is no room for hateful discrimination (as opposed to loving discrimination or even realistic discrimination). But once taught to a naive mind, the ideology of hate towards the other becomes integrated into the integrity of who that person becomes. It took Darwin a whole lifetime to realize that his chosen ideology of christianity was wrong. So many christians and muslims still believe that pagans and infidels are lesser humans. If they do not believe it, they realize that they are the problem in the world so they must hold on to their hatred, their racisim – and rationalize around it. But Rama, after vanquishing Ravana who represented ego out of control in a material world, called his own to remember that Ravana’s people were also a part of Brahman. When you have an ideology that says your enemy shares your soul, it is very difficult to sustain hatred (but you can sustain discrimination.) Thus Ramakrishna spoke of God as sinner, God as lover, God as poor man, God as rich man – we are surrounded by the divinity that is Brahman, it is that divinity that we see all around us in the world. Thus we can discriminate between this role or that of the divinity, but it is only ego that makes us hate. In sum, it is human to discriminate; it is ideological to hate.hariaum

  • Navin1

    I appreciate CCNL’s documentation of the hatred in certain ideologies.hariaum

  • ccnl1

    To measure the effects of prejudice, see the human body counts throughout history at Table of ContentsWorst Twenty World Historical Population Primitive War Ancient World Biblical Atrocities Ancient Greece The Roman and Byzantine EmpiresEuropean Wars and Massacres to 1700

  • norriehoyt

    “What makes decent people act in ways that stray so far from their values?”The fact that they’re not really as decent as they appear on the surface.Take a closer look at them.

  • daniel12

    Part three.Of course some of the damage can be offset by the U.S. keeping economically advanced, but advanced in a few decades from now when there will be more than a few nations as powerful as the U.S.? I think we can say the U.S. faces a serious problem. The U.S. is literally the testing ground of the world to see if race, ethnic group and religion can become subordinate to a new and secular state composed of everyone from everywhere.Will the U.S. pass this test? How so when so many people today do not know anything about history, civics–and really do not know what is going on before their eyes, how new it all is? How to accomplish this feat when most people do not even know the responsibility which is being placed on them? And if people do not know what is expected of them, how can racism, ethnic group pride, religious fundamentalism of all types be a bad thing?–For in the absence of the U.S. being successful in being a place of everyone from everywhere people will resort only to what they know best,–and which every nation in the world other than the U.S. feels is perfectly natural: their racial heritage; their ethnic group; their religion.Not so fast in claiming racism a bad thing. It becomes a bad thing only when there is a new way of living and being. In the absence of the human race being successful in this new way of being the human race just resorts to what it knows best. We cannot just say racism is a bad thing–we have to live the overcoming of it, interbreed, reject ethnic group pride, discount our respective religions. No easy task that. But that is what we face certainly in America.

  • daniel12

    Part two.Whites are bearing the brunt of being called racist, but it seems the mixing of peoples has slowed down now that it is not just European immigrants mixing with themselves and losing the identities from their homelands. None of the racial and ethnic categories today are in a rush to meld. That is quite ominous. Again, whites are bearing the brunt of being called racist, but we see no high rate of interracial marriage within the Democratic party, the supposed non-racist party in the U.S.The question must seriously be asked as to whether the U.S. can integrate everyone from everywhere–or rather that everyone from everywhere can form a new U.S. I expect racial tensions to rise. How can tensions not rise when whites, who largely created the nation are going to be in the minority with respect to the combination of all other peoples within a matter of decades?Furthermore, exactly what nation is expected to be created on the ashes of the dominance of whites in America? A multicultural one, no people really wanting to give up their heritage? If so, that spells disaster. That is to make the U.S. not a nation beyond ethnic, racial and religious tensions–or even nationalistic tensions what with everyone bringing their homeland with them to the U.S.–but a combustible mixture of peoples.

  • daniel12

    Part one.The question of why racism would exist in a country such as the United States is quite peculiar, for the U.S. it seems more than any other nation has as its project integrating virtually anyone from anywhere. This project was relatively simple when immigrants came from largely Europe, but now people from everywhere are expected to be integrated. Or rather I should not say integrated because the U.S. apparently still feels itself unformed in an essential manner, feels it will not be completely the U.S. unless everyone from everywhere forms a new nation–forms the “true” U.S. Demographics predicts that white people will be in the minority with respect to the combination of all other races and ethnic groups in the U.S. by 2050–or possibly sooner. Has any other nation had as its project what the U.S. is attempting? Has any other nation in recent memory been expected to take on everyone from everywhere? We know the Jews no matter what will always have the sanctuary Israel which is determined to remain clearly majority Jewish. In fact it seem every nation other than the U.S. expects that its original inhabitants will stay in the majority.The United States so far as I know is attempting what no other nation has ever done. Why racism is not greater can only be attributed to the advanced economics and wealth of the nation. Certainly we can say there is no rush by the more recently empowered ethnic groups and races in the U.S. to relinquish their identities and form a beyond ethnic group and race U.S. Blacks want to be blacks; Latinos want to be Latinos; Jews want to be Jews; white people want to be white; Asians want to be Asians.

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, White vs. Black vs. Yellow vs. Red Skins??Daniel12, you might want to have your DNA checked. As per the National Geographic’s Genographic Project, the real Adam lived in Africa 60,000-100,000 years ago i.e. all of us are part African.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Susan,I wish you could read Farsi. Nejad’s continual bombast with respect to Israel has terrified Iranians, who fear that Israel will attack if he keeps it up. Periodically, therefore, he and his co-lunatics must reassure the Iranian people that this will not happen.He is playing a dangerous game. If you could read Hebrew, you would see that the more dependable Israeli newspaper is keeping an even tone, aware of Nejad’s particular lunacy. Nejad’s real target, of course, is the US. Many Israelis are aware of this, as is the Iranian inteligentsia.I am not defending him. However, our continual interference in Iran, our espionage, often carried out by the Brits, as was the case in the election, our history with Iran Oil, the Shah, etc., has created this disaster.Be aware, that unlike the “Supreme Leader,” Nejad is not corrupt. He rides a bicycle to work, lives in the same run-down apartment in which he lived before he took office.He is a simple fanatic. Hates Jews, considers Christians and Hinuds “idolaters,” gays “impure,” wants to eliminate the B’hai, and calls for the subordination of women. He passionately wants to see an Islamic world, and in the Originally, Iran interest in things nuclear stemmed from its desire to end reliance on oil, minimize production of same. Why? To make it less of a target for foreign intervention.If we do not get the hell out of Iran, we will be in serious trouble. Their oil is not our oil. Their elections are not ours to manipulate.Bear in mind that Nejad was elected since he was the first to pay attention to the poor. I believe he is sincere in his concern for them. He’s done little for them because he lacks the ability, is surrounded by corruption, and, periodically, throws away millions to win friends and influence people.However, many among the poor, despite their poverty continue to adore him. Sanctions will only hurt the poor, no one else, as the Israelis point out.Btw., look back at the newspapers for the period covering the Bay of Pigs. Many Americans feared JFK big time. No, Nejad is not a new Kennedy, but he is a charismatic leader for the poor, in a region where the poor are in the majority.Walk softly. Leave your stick at home. You can always go pick it up later.

  • edbyronadams

    Racism is part of our evolutionary legacy. Altruism makes no sense in Darwinian terms unless it is practiced in groups of genetically similar individuals, closely related enough so that an self sacrificial altruistic act is rewarded by increased common gene frequencies form the benefactors of self sacrifice. Otherwise, the behavior would disappear. The only way you can get such closely held groups of people is through xenophobia. The xenophobia must be strong enough to keep gene mixing between groups at a very low pace. This is the root of racism. With pardons to Oscar Hammerstein, racism does not have to be taught, it is all too much part of human instinct. The fact that education in this country has tamped it down as much as it has is a testament to the flexibility of the species but it will never go away entirely unless the gene pool gets much more homogenized than it is now.

  • coloradodog

    I still relish the look on the face of my late Jimmy-Swaggart-Huckabee aunt when I asked her, “What if Jesus were an alien?” (God forgive me if I helped kill her off with my antics). She was equally outraged and dismayed when I told her the original skin color was black and whites are mutants as a result of moving North and needing lighter skin to absorb more Vitamin D in cloudier climates.It’s amusing to me that, here in Mexico, women of the “clase alta” go to salons in Mexico City to get their skin bleached white while divas in the US pay tanning salons for darker skin; yet many of both groups are racist against the people they want to look more like.Albeit there is severe and vicious racism against the darker skinned indigenous here, skin color is more matter of fact. My “compadre” calls his little son “negro” (means “black” in Spanish for all you Al Sharptons out there ready to pounce) and my extended family calls me g├╝ero (white boy) without anyone thinking a thing about it.Human racism, including racism due to skin color, confirms my preference for spending time with dogs instead of people. My dogs don’t care if I’m black or white, smelly or blind, deaf or disabled. They love me just the same.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    It is quite interesting to me that some bloggers are studiously omitting the words Jew and antisemitism from their threads. However, that, in fact, is the topic of Kathrine’s post. Unlike other “prejudices,” antisemitism stands at the borders of xenophobia, reliophobia, and racism, with “the Jews,” with definite article, are opposed, for instance to Christians, Muslims, Iranians, blacks, etc.This abstract “essence” that some (Jewish) bodies contain, regardless of nationality and complexion, somehow endows them with fantastic and often contradictory abilities. They control governments around the world, the world economy, are faboulously wealthy fascists, are communists attempting to dismantle ancient customs, are clannish, want to become like Christians and leave their communities. This intellectual and moral illness stems from a single source: The “New” (sic) Testament,” and the civilization that sucbscribed to it, started genociding us in the Middle Ages, spread its cretin Jew hatred all over the world.Thus far, the courageous attempts of twelve Orthodox Christian clergy to remove antisemitism from their liturgy have not been successful. Calls to revise the NT, delete obvious falsehoods, historically impossible references, have also failed among Catholics and mainstream Protestants.In the meantime, these subscribers to the Religion of Love psychologically maul is in every sphere of public life including this blog.Would that some of “the Christians” posting here had some honesty, courage, and, yes, love.

  • ccnl1

    A good dose of global DNA analyses is needed in the prejudice/race arena. Even Jewish blood flowed from central Africa starting the journey some 60,000 + years ago not 6000 years ago as reported in the OT/Torah.

  • Navin1

    We are still confusing discrimination and racisim. Racism is based on hate. Discrimination is based on classification. We as evolutionary animals are certainly interested in discrimination: ripe v spoiled fruit, friend v foe, planning v impulsiveness, etc. Darwin, by the way, spends quite a bit of time talking about cooperation between a species and its environment. It seems that the spencerian christian supremacists keep forgetting that evolutionary moral. Racism, on the other hand, requires a hatred or at least an ideology of valuation. That requires teaching that propagates the us v them moral paradigm. This is unique to ideologies of righteousness and acute in those with a sense of eternal damnation (though I can’t understand why anyone would believe in such a god except to satisfy their sadistic egos). Whenever Hindu avatars come to this world they teach that each of us have come with karmic baggage. We need to expend that baggage. Eventually, if we are lucky we can transcend that baggage, but that is not for all egoforms. But, we all share a divine atman, or at least a connection between atman and paratman (the supreme being), the latter in some dualistic schools. As such, we are all part of the same great ocean, the bad guys and the good. It is because of this that the divine american native religions forgive the europeans for wiping out their civilization. It is because of this that the Hindus of India overlook the atrocities that the christo-islamists committed in India. We are taught, and experience, that we are of the same divinity. Even though I can hate your actions, I can not hate you – as Gandhi said, hate the sin, not the sinner. But again to the point, discrimination and racism are different and we should not confuse the two (use discrimination appropriately, that is).hariaum

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    My point has been made here on this thread again and again.JEW HATRED, hatred of Jews, antisemitism, racism/xenophobia/Judeophobia. YOU KNOW, that which is the inaugural -Ism of the WEST?REMEMBER? Hipocrite lecteur? Neither my image nor my brother.Remember the genocides in the name of your lord and savior jesus christ and other saviors? NOTE the endless psychological mauling on this blog.RECALL your endless export of this filth to other nations, some of which are antisemitic and have never seen a Jew.Good grief. What has Christianity done to you.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Now, here is where Catholic ethics and morality confuse me. Below is a link to an essay by M. Scmaltz, one of Reese’s co-reiligionists, who is a panelist on this blog.In this essay, Scmaltz asks for mercy for Susan Atkins, one of the murderers in the Tate-Labianca killings. Atkins, who has since died, had been diagnosed with cancer, and Schmaltz wished the support of bloggers in seeking “compassionate parole” for her so that she could live out the remainder of her days at home, among family.And what exactly was it that Susan Atkins had been convicted of? She murdered Sharon Tate, Polanski’s wife and his unborn child. Tate was eight months pregnant (EIGHT MONTHS), begged for the life of her baby, cried out, “Mercy for my baby!” Atkins replied, “No mercy” and stabbed Tate repeatedly in the belly.This has nothing to do with the current Polanski case. It does raise the question of Catholic notions of justice and mercy.Btw., regarding the judicial misconduct in Polanski’s case, his attorneys have been requesting an investigation from the beginning, since 1978. Had they gotten it, Polanski would have returned here.But Schmaltz’s concern was with the murderer of Polanski’s wife and baby.Shame.

  • ccnl1

    Roots of the Islamic vs. Jew Prejudices:From Wikipedia: According to Watt, “Jews would normally be unwilling to admit that a non-Jew could be a prophet” of Judaism.[8]Mark Cohen adds that Muhammad appeared “centuries after the cessation of biblical prophecy” and “couched his message in a verbiage foreign to Judaism both in its format and rhetoric.” [9] Maimonides referred to Muhammad as a false prophet. Moreover, Maimonides asserted that Muhammad’s claim to phrophethood was in itself what disqualified him, because it contradicted the prophecy of Moses, the Torah and the Oral Tradition. His argument further asserted that Muhammad being illiterate also disqualified him from being a prophet.[10]”Then there is this koranic passage:”O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people. – 5:54″

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Sorry,Two of these posts were meant for Reese’s thread.On Maimonides. Maimonides had significant respect for Islam. See “A Guide for the Perplexed” and any good biography on his relations with Islam.The end of prophesy for Judaism was declared by the Tanaim in the first century for reasons I have explained numerous times on this blog.Marshall’s essay concerns Christian anti-Jewish racism/xenophobia/Judeophobia, etc.

  • ccnl1

    Fortune telling aka prophesying started in the year 60,000 BC and continues.