The White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day did not mention Jews or anti-Semitism. As Holocaust historian Professor Deborah Lipstadt put it, "what we saw from the White House was classic softcore denial. The Holocaust was de-Judaized."
When the Nobel Prize Committee awarded Elie the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 the choice was greeted with international acclaim, for it is difficult to imagine any other person in the world who had so commanded the respect of political leaders and the people themselves. As for myself, Elie has always been my teacher, mentor, role model, inspiration, and friend of 50 years - in a word, the most remarkable human being I have ever encountered.
At this critical time in history, it is more important than ever for us to pause and remember the courageous Elie Wiesel, tireless defender of peace and advocate for the persecuted, repressed and disenfranchised. Wiesel, age 87, died this weekend at his home in New York City.
The powerful aspect of Witness is that it stands on its own as a historical document and is an excellent, well laid out read for students of the Holocaust and those who are new to learning about this very complex time in history.
Is there reason in belief? More importantly to me, is there reason to believe? For me, yes. Belief in God provides a way to explain the yearning and the searching for something that we intrinsically know we once had but now eludes us. Belief in God provides for hope and possibility even in the presence of evil. Reason insists that creation is the result of evolution; cold, hard facts. It is belief in a compassionate and merciful God that expands our awareness of the awesomeness of the universe and all it encompasses, reminding us of our obligations to all creatures, great and small.
I never thought I would feel the need to write in favour of the Office of Religious Freedom. I took my religious freedom for granted. I am a Chaplain. It seems that the readers know all about me from that title. It is assumed that if one believes in God, there is a lack of intelligence, that one cannot believe and have a background in science, philosophy, economics, medicine, the arts.
Death with dignity is an oxymoron. Dignity is in life. To die with dignity is to face death, boldly, calmly, graciously. A good death is one that honours the life before. Assisted suicide is a vulgar act of cowardice. It diminishes our species. Have we become so entitled, soft, so weak-willed, so whiny and petulant that we cannot even bear the thought of future possible pain that we choose a lethal injection in expectation? Have we come to a place in time that leaving the ones who love us, need us, are not as important as our "dignity"? Have we become that self-serving?