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Social and political comments

Religion and its discontents

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December 19, 2007

I recently discovered that a good friend of mine, Christian, had never heard the term "pogrom" (I played the Fiddler-on-the-Roof pogrom card to illustrate the meaning) nor had he heard about medieval European anti-semitic rampages.*

This experience, which stunned me (I barely exaggerate; as I said to my friend, this was for me what he would probably feel if someone had never heard of Jesus), prompted two decisions: (1) to include a web area on a topic I would never have thought to bother with (religion) and (2) to start that page by providing a link at the Encyclopedia Brittanica web site to a brief summary of medieval European anti-semitism.

*As others have pointed out, "anti-semitic" traditionally refers to Jews but should encompass all people of semitic background, all of whom have had their share of being oppressed and also their share of oppressing others.  Outy of sheer laziness  for the moment, I'll use the term the old-fashioned way.

Petty reminder department
As long as I'm on the subject, I would note that Jews (or at least this atheist Jew) have no need to be absolved of guilt for Christ's death, although parts of Christianity still have work to do in owning its antisemitic history and seeking its own absolution.

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