Not security related at all but wasn’t sure where else to post this one.
I was at a very interesting meeting yesterday from the local synagogue I belong to. The meeting was called by our Rabbi in regard to some controversy over an appearance he made on a local news show here in South Florida. He spoke about President Obama’s recent announcements regarding restarting the Middle East peace process. Our Rabbi, Richard Agler then followed up his TV appearance with a post on his own blog further explaining his position.
The fact that he actually supported President Obama’s view (in its entirety, not the sound bite) is really neither here nor there for purposes of this post. The point was that more than several people in our congregation were upset that he went “public” with his views and it was not clear that he was not speaking for the congregation, but instead expressing his own opinions.
The Rabbi convened the meeting in response. My feeling is that speaking out from the pulpit whether it be Jewish, Christian, Muslim or other religion is a long held tradition. I think not only is it a right of a clergyman to speak out on issues important to his “flock”, but it is his obligation.
Of course others do not agree. They wanted the Rabbi to put a disclaimer in before speaking to the media, much the way we bloggers do when writing that it does not necessarily represent the view of our employers.
I think in the case of the clergy this is not practical and not the fact. The clergy no matter the disclaimer is of course going to be viewed as speaking for the congregation. In fact that is part of the job. Also do you expect them to preface every statement with a “I am only speaking for myself”?
This is certainly no a Jewish only problem. I think the same thing can be said when Catholic clergy speak out against abortion, birth control, etc. In fact anytime a clergyman speaks on political issues it probably comes up.
One couple said they were thinking of leaving the congregation because they don’t agree with the Rabbi’s political views. It is certainly their right to do so and they should feel comfortable in their religious community. But should they really leave over this?
What about you? Do you think your clergyman speaks for you? Would you stay a member if you disagreed with them?