The Pittsburgh Shooting Was an Attack on a Minority, Not a Sign of ‘Anti-Religiosity’

This past weekend’s mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh was unspeakable, but unfortunately not unimaginable. Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States by some counts increased by 57 percent last year, the largest surge in nearly four decades of tracking. The FBI’s most recent reports show that the number of overall hate crimes increased for a second straight year — the first time that has happened in a decade. During this period, hate crimes targeting Muslims doubled.

Yet, when asked for comment, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway sought to reframe the anti-Semitic tragedy to bolster the administration’s policy goals, claiming that the attack, along with one in a South Carolina church three years earlier, could be attributed to a broader pattern of “anti-religiosity in this country.”

Let’s be clear: This was not an attack on religiosity writ large. This was an attack on a specific religious minority. Innocent individuals were gunned down not merely because they were people of faith. In Pittsburgh, they were gunned down because they were Jewish; in Charleston, because they were black.

By now, it comes as no surprise that the Trump administration’s view of religious liberty is a narrow one. After all, blocking travel by individuals from Muslim-majority countries isn’t religious freedom — it’s religious intolerance. Allowing businesses to use their religious beliefs to deny their employees birth control coverage isn’t religious liberty — it’s discrimination. Preferencing the religious beliefs of hospitals and other health care providers over the health and well-being of patients, including LGBT individuals, women, and people of color, isn’t religious liberty — it too is discrimination. The list goes on and on.

Hatred across faiths poses a threat to our democracy and our ideals, as does an administration that fuels xenophobia and animosity. But we cannot lose sight of the core American values of religious pluralism, equality, and inclusion.

As we grieve the lives so cruelly cut short in Pittsburgh, we need to reject the administration’s attempts to undermine true religious freedom. We also need to hold it accountable when it tries to use religion as a license to discriminate and harm others.

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Anonymous

Jesus was a Jewish carpenter, so could someone explain why Christians dislike those of the Jewish faith? When I was growing up, Protestant Christians also disliked Catholic Christians. John F. Kennedy was accused of working for the Vatican and had to prove he wasn’t. Maybe it’s not about religion at all, some Americans just love to hate!

Anonymous

Jesus may have been a Jewish carpenter but he was a clear threat to Jewish authorities of the time Christian anti-semitism--like any other--has various and sundry historical roots. The apostle Paul stated that the Jews had been blinded so that the Gentiles could be grafted in. Therein is a radical 'us versus them mentality' that continues today. There is also the current that the Jews delivered up Christ to death, and the counterpoint that no, the Romans did. People can find any pretext for anything and when all they have is a hammer, just about anything looks like a nail.

Anonymous

It's a basic and perhaps crucial religious semantic; Jesus is not considered God by those in the Jewish faith. Not even the sentiment, Son of God.

SgrA*

"The FBI’s most recent reports show that the number of overall hate crimes increased for a second straight year — the first time that has happened in a decade. "

This is tough to take seriously, given that the FBI is under presidential-criticism from the top down. He has undermined the Justice Department's oversight of the FBI. Even the House Republicans are subpoenaing the FBI for laws presumed broken. And the most recent news is previous FBI investigator Robert Mueller is being framed by a Trump right-wing pundit with sexual accusations. So assuming that the agency can have accurate two-year data, how can it be said this severity hasn't happened since before President Obama's administration a decade ago?

Anonymous

Until the DOJ and FBI totally denounce CoinTelPro tactics and blacklisting, not many Americans have faith in any of these agencies. They all took an Oath of Office not violate anyone's constitutional rights. They should honor their top loyalty oath.

Anonymous

The ACLU has defended neo-nazis in court and looks to actively cultivate harassment of Jewish students on campuses. Your words are empty.

Anonymous

100% True

Anonymous

Good job

Anonymous

The same ACLU that says a christian baker has no right to deny a cake for a same sex couple all of a sudden believes in religious liberty. #hmm

Anonymous

In Pittsburg, they were gunned down because they were Jewish. Fact Check: TRUE

The BDS movement is being pushed by radical anti-semites to who wish to destroy the Jewish state because the majority of the people living there are Jewish. FACT CHECK: TRUE

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