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Keep Far From Sin: Join in the Iraq Debate

These days, I think alot about sin. I wonder, worry really, if most of us have sinned these past years as we neglected to notice – really notice – that war raged on in Iraq. Most of us sat back in our comfy chairs, sipping our lattes and driving our nice cars, while American men and women gave sacrificed their days and their lives fighting on behalf of our country. Whether you supported the decision to enter the war or opposed it, whether you think that decisions were made based on lies or truth-telling, the fact remains that our country is embroiled in a war in Iraq and it is time for us to pay attention.

To go about our days, ignoring the fact that we are involved in this war, may be termed sinful. As Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Reform Movement’s Religious Action Center in Washington DC, wrote in the Jewish Forward on Friday, Feb 2, 2007, it is Time for Our Community To Join the Iraq Debate:

At last, the debate over America’s disastrous situation in Iraq has begun in earnest. With the entire nation now engaged, it is long overdue — and then some — for the Jewish community to weigh in and determine what insights Jewish values and interests can offer. We must do so not only because our prophetic tradition mandates that we speak out on the great moral issues of the day, and not only because as Americans we ought be deeply concerned for what this war means to our country, but also because Israel’s interests and security are so clearly at stake.
Yet in contrast to the stands taken on the Vietnam War, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and even the first Gulf War, too few rabbis have preached from the pulpit on the issue, and too few organizations have debated Iraq policy openly, let alone taken a position on the war and the urgent choices our nation must make. Read more.

So oppose the war or support it. Argue for a surge or against an escalation. Discuss – civilly please – whether to send in 20 thousand troops, withdraw them all, send in one hundred and fifty thousand, or do something else. But discuss, debate, get involved. To remain on the sidelines, during this great moral debate… now that would be sinful!

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