Hamas and I

As an observant Jew I understand why so many Muslims vote to live under religious law. Hamas, the Christian Coallition and I agree that secular American life is vulgar, permissive and materialistic. We agree that it is tolerant of homosexuality and atheism. I think that's a good thing. Given a choice I prefer heresy to boredom but I understand why others would not.

Like men everywhere I respond with Pavlovian salivation to scantilly-clad female bodies but like many of my obserevant Christian and Muslim siblings I prefer the presence of modestly dressed women, particularly when those women are young and related to me.

I too use religious observance as a buffer againt the exesses of what I consider a morally dangerous world. But, Yankee that I am, I'd rather immorality remain a physically safe option for eveyone, even me and my kids.

I also identify with the wish to live in a community that shares my values and habits.

When I go into the observant Jewish section of Chicago, and neighborhood called West Rogers Park, aka the "Chood." Though I know few of them it feels to me like home. I understand their ways, I know why the men have beards and the women have skirts that are long. I even know what they're all reading on any given week. Like everything that's familiar the fellowship of my tribe comforts me.

I am beginning to see the Arab world's embace of political Islam as less a rejection of western modernity than a search for something more wholesome than Madison Avenue or Washington currently offer. In that search I am their ally.

However given our different attitudes about tolerace I'm sure my fundamentalist Christian and Muslims brothers will understand if I join their search for righteousness from a righteously safe distance.