Well, the Federation has some different ideas, such as simply not engaging the proselytizer other than to say that you are happy with your Judaism. They are pros, so I would not question their advice. However, you may be, like me, enamored with debate, in which case I urge you to consider the following if you happen to get a phone call or a knock on your door from these nasty fiends who would like to destroy the Jewish people:

1. Remember, their time is valuable, particularly if it’s a phone call or door visit. For every moment of their time you waste, the likelihood of their calling on somebody else diminishes.

2. Remember, all those tell-tale signs they try to use to show that you-know-who was the Jewish Messiah were written long after the originals were written. In other words, the guys who wrote that you-know-who fulfills the fundamentals of how the Jewish Messiah iis supposed to arrive did it with the original books open right in front of them. Now how difficult is it to say that so and so fulfilled all the criteria when you are writing with hindsight?

3. Remember, Jesus was a Jew and he lived and died as a Jew. No matter how many times they deny this or try to quote a Gospel saying he rejected Judaism, just remind them that he lived and died as a Jew. Then remind them he would roll over in his grave if he knew the things that have been ascribed to him and the things that have been done in his name, particularly to the descendants of his Jewish faith.

4. Remember, chances are the person calling you was never Jewish, in which case he really isn’t one to tell you about your faith. However, some are converts from Judaism who had a weak link to Judaism in the first place and were vulnerable to misinformation. Gently but persistently remind them that they would be well served to visit Chabad or Aish, where the rabbi will accept them as Jews and will re-introduce them to true Judaism. Keep telling them to “Come home to your true faith.” 🙂

5. Remember to have fun and not to be hostile. After all, they are either confused little puppies, or else they’re mendacious sickening little manipulators. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be trying to convert you. As such, they need to be treated gently (the puppies) or with the type of smarmy charm they are trying to use on you that will encourage the mendacious ones to think their time is well spent talking on and on to you.

6. If they waver about leaving their Christianity – which they will continue to call Judaism – remind them that the Jewish Lobby is all-powerful and refer them to that paper by those meanies, Walt & Mearsheimer. Why struggle as an impoverished false Jew when you can be the real thing and, you know, control global finance and stuff. If they persist in claiming that Jews don’t really control the world, the US, global finance, the media and everything else, call them antisemites and tell them they should be ashamed of their hate for Jews. 😀

Here’s the original article about the pending campaign to turn you into a non-Jew.

UPDATE: Marvin, one of our guests also suggests:

I usually start by asking their names, ages and addresses….I write this down in front of them.. I then let them get on with their “sales pitch”… during which I scratch my balls and laugh loudly…. suprisingly this does not put them off… very well trained…

After the sales pitch I tell them that I was about to take a shower and ask if they would like to join me…this actually sends them away…

About the author

themiddle

30 Comments

  • Invite them to discuss these issues in Meah Shaarim, preferably near Kikar Shabbat. Request that they wear bright orange shirts. Ask them if they are fully insured.

  • Haha. What do those guys in Meah Shearim have to worry about? Some missionary is going to make them waver in their faith? They should have invited them over for tea and cake and told them a thing or two about Judaism.

  • I must vehemently disagree with this post. Missionaries have been arouns for a long time and some of them are VERY good at it. Regardless of your educational background, talking with a missionary is a very bad idea, for two reasons:

    1- unless you have had anti-missionary training, you will be stumped. There are a lot of classic tricks that sound like they make incredible sense. Don’t think that you are immune to these tricks until you have heard them and then heard the refutals. There arguments are flatly incorrect, but insidious. You are more vulnerable than you think. I’ve heard the socffing before, and I personally know people (2) who thought they were immune fall into their hands and end up converting.

    2- Any sort of dialogue with a missionary give them legitamcy. Anyone else who sees or hears this discussion will then think that these are two equally valid points and want to hear with an open mind both positions. This is not something that needs to be encouraged, due to problem 1.

    Yehuda

  • Sheesh, I was being lighthearted and facetious. I certainly don’t intend to promote having people go up to others, tell them all about the “Jewish lobby” and when they disagree call them antisemites. 😆

    But your point is well taken, Yehuda, and reflects my first sentence of the post that the pros at Federation believe that one should avoid any contact beyond a quick goodbye with the missionaries.

    Our readers are duly warned.

    Maybe we can call some of the Meah Shearim folks over to help with any necessary violence.

    Btw, Yehuda, I play Carcassone with my son about once a week and we’ve just purchased St. Petersburg although slogging through those instructions is taking forever.

  • I must be dense, TM. Just strike out my first sentence.

    Congrats on moving up to better games. I don’t follow the personalities well enough to remember where you live, but if it’s in Israel, do drop by on Wed evenings for game group.

    Yehuda

  • “You are more vulnerable than you think”

    I agree, and the answer is to educate, educate, and then educate some more. The proper education is perhaps a balance of text-based knowledge combined with a rational, realistic historically critical overview of Judaism and the formation of Christianity during that time in our history. Simply saying, “There was no Jesus”, as is taught to many “day schooled” and “Hebrew schooled” kids, won’t cut it. There were many wannabe messiahs in those days (and some later on, up to the present), and this dude may well have been one of them; it doesn’t mean he made the cut, but to deny outright his possible existence doesn’t help. We ignore at our own peril an understanding of the religious, cultural, and political dynamics of those periods that lead to the rise and increased emphasis upon messianic redemption as a (and for some, THE) primary focus of Judaism.

  • Apropos, I got into a nice little shouting match with a pathetic little Israeli J4J on 67th and Broadway last night. He just loved to enunciate, “tanach,” as if the proper emphasis on the “ch” would prove he was a true Jew. It was hard not to puke while I railed against his jackassery.

  • It’s not just the J4Js…several years back my housemate invited me to visit a service at her Southern Baptist church. The college age youth group there had a year-long program in which they taught debating skills so their members could learn how to spread the Gospel to the “unchurched” like me. Surprisingly, maybe frighteningly, organized.

  • Handy reference: Aish Das’ Counter-Missionary Links Page.

    Most missionary points are based on false translations and out-of-context quotes from Tanach. Why would anyone want to join a religion of liars and ignoramuses?!

    As Sy Syms loves to say:

    “An educated consumer is our best customer.”

    😉

  • My Dear Friends,

    I’ve actually been on the other side of the coin, and have converted to Judaism. I can tell you exactly what you’re going to run into, as I’ve been to those classes.

    1) It never starts with an in-your-face religious discussion. You’re taught to sell yourself, before you sell the faith…the thinking being that if the person your about to preach to thinks you’re an okay guy, he’s less likely to tell you to fuck off. Every friendly conversation (if they get you going) leads to a paramount question (e.g. the one I got two weeks ago, Where are you going when you die?) Now, I know I’m being baited because around my neck my star shows proud, and I’ve got my “RUAMOT?” t-shirt on, but if you get flustered in your answer, they have been instructed that you’re “Unsure in your faith”.

    2) Jesus died for your sins, accept him into your heart and be saved: No. Jesus, if you look back on the Roman books (the folks who nailed him to the tree) said he was executed for blasphemy. They “dying for your sins” didn’t appear until the Gospel of Mark almost half a century after his death. Followed by the other five (I count Saul/Paul as the 5th writer, even though all he did was shore up the empire)

    3) “Where do you think you’re going to go when you die?” This one always made me angry, even when we were sitting in class. Just remind yourself that not even they know that one for sure. The image that is painted for most Christians is about the same and you all know what it is…clouds…angels…harps. Unless you’re mormon, in which case you get an entire planet to yourself, complete with the special underwear (you’d think in Mormon heaven you could do without the chastity lock, but I digress).

    Remember, most Christians (myself included until I got on my conversion path) know precisely dick about Judaism because we’re told from a young age that Jews are the heretics who killed Christ. It wasn’t until I got down into the messy business history of Church doctrine that I had my Neo-waking-up-in-the-goo moment.

    Remember that missionary work involves believing in your faith (in all of it’s turn-the-other-cheek goodness) that you’re itching for a fight. There are so many control issues that Christianity has, that Judaism doesn’t (and having been on the other side of the fence, I know) that it’s no wonder there are so many of them preaching…who else wants to be that fucking miserable alone?

  • I actually enjoy these folks when they come around. They all look alike and dress alike…They are sort of like the service/entertainment people at Disney World (or Ivy league newly minted MBAs).. So sweet and sure of themselves..

    I usually start by asking their names, ages and addresses….I write this down in front of them.. I then let them get on with their “sales pitch”… during which I scratch my balls and laugh loudly…. suprisingly this does not put them off… very well trained…

    After the sales pitch I tell them that I was about to take a shower and ask if they would like to join me…this actually sends them away…

    They are much more entertaining than door to door Electro Lux salesmen…however, at least with those you get your carpet cleaned..

  • I always like Robin Williams approach. At 7:00 in the morning they wake him up and it’s two little old ladies standing there saying “Have you found Jesus?” and he says “No, but let’s get naked and go looking for him!”

  • I, too, have no reluctance whatever about engaging these missionaries in conversation; I especially enjoy citing the passage in Matthew in which Jesus – noting that he was sent by God to minister to the Jews – responds to a request for help by a gentile woman by stating, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” Indeed, I enjoyed similar conversations during the several years I lived in Mississippi, discussing my beliefs with several acquaintances who were in no way disrespectful or out to convert me, but were nonetheless genuinely confused about what possible reason I could have for rejecting the “fulfillment” of the Old Testament. In any case, the vulnerability to pitches by J4J and their ilk is a profoundly complex phenomenon, and cannot possibly be understood without reference to its sociological, psychological and theological dimensions.

    One thing I find confusing, though, is why the defection of Jews to J4J – at least of Reform and Conservative Jews – is a matter of any concern whatever to the Orthodox community. The position of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada is that Reform and Conservative Judaism are deviant, morally repugnant heresies that aren’t in any way related to Judaism, but are different religions entirely. Just like Jews for Jesus. Why is it a matter of such concern that Jews are lost to evangelical Christianity, as opposed to Islam, Buddhism or Conservative “Judaism?” Moreover, given the constant, parrot-like repetition of the Rabbinate’s position by the Orthodox laity, it’s hard to see why this phenomenon would be of any greater concern to the Orthodox world at large than it is to the Orthodox establishment.

  • David Smoth wrote:

    One thing I find confusing, though, is why the defection of Jews to J4J – at least of Reform and Conservative Jews – is a matter of any concern whatever to the Orthodox community.

    Because we Jewish brothers and sisters don’t want to see our fellow bretheren and sisteren 🙂 go from bad to worse.

    The position of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada is that Reform and Conservative Judaism are deviant, morally repugnant heresies that aren’t in any way related to Judaism, but are different religions entirely.

    No. The Conservative movement is very closely related to Judaism. Reform much less but still so. No matter how heretical the Conservative and Reform movements are, a Jew is nevertheless always a Jew.

    Just like Jews for Jesus. Why is it a matter of such concern that Jews are lost to evangelical Christianity, as opposed to Islam, Buddhism or Conservative “Judaism?”

    How can you compare these?! The former are all bereft of and in contradiction to Judaism whatsoever. The latter, far from it.

    It is i grave mistake to state that J4J is a “deviant” of Judaism. It is a ruse to get Jews to abandon their faith for a false deity.

    Moreover, given the constant, parrot-like repetition of the Rabbinate’s position by the Orthodox laity, it’s hard to see why this phenomenon would be of any greater concern to the Orthodox world at large than it is to the Orthodox establishment.

    Just because someone subscribes to Torah true Judaism, does not guarantee that he/she is a brilliant scholar. Many simpletons and Amei Ha’aretz are nevertheless Shomrei Torah U’mitzvot to the best of their limited understanding. And I’m including people who have a semi-decent religious education. Such people can be naive to the point where they could potentially be outsmarted by a missionary sho’s looking exactly for such a prime catch.

    And what makes you think that the Rabbinate is not concerned about all Jews? Your assumption is off the mark from the start.

    Rather than kvetching all the time (like a parrot) about the Rabbanut, try appreciating some of the most elementary things they occassionaly do for the betrement of us all, as part of their position’s responsibility.

  • Shy Guy,

    In response to my claim that Orthodox Rabbinical Union characterizes Reform and Conservative Judaism as “deviant, morally repugnant heresies that aren’t in any way related to Judaism, but are different religions entirely. Just like Jews for Jesus,” you respond:

    No. The Conservative movement is very closely related to Judaism. . . . No matter how heretical the Conservative and Reform movements are, a Jew is nevertheless always a Jew. How can you compare these?! The former are all bereft of and in contradiction to Judaism whatsoever. The latter, far from it . . . . And what makes you think that the Rabbinate is not concerned about all Jews? Your assumption is off the mark from the start.”

    So, I’ve mischaracterized the official position of the Orthodox Rabbinate, have I? Well, how about instead of paraphrasing, I quote directly from the position paper of the grand scholars themselves, to which, I’m delighted to say, I was referred by YOU in the first place.

    “The Agudath Harabonim has . . . rejected recognition of Reform and Conservative movements as Judaism, or their clergy as Rabbis. . . . The Reform and Conservative are not Judaism at all, but another religion. . . . Their condoning of interfaith marriages, null and void conversions and homosexuality are repugnant not only to Torah Judaism, but also to common morality. . . . Having been falsely led to believe by heretical leaders that Reform and Conservative are legitimate branches or denominations of Judaism, we urge you to . . . withdraw from your affiliation with Reform and Conservative temples and their clergy [emphasis added].”

    Now, since I’m crippled by one of those shoddy secular day school educations those at Jewlicious are constantly bellyaching about, perhaps you might explain to me how to reconcile these sentences with your claim that Conservative Judaism, unlike J4J, is “far from” being bereft of, and in contradiction to, Judaism? And while the love, the respect, the generosity and plain human decency of the Rabbinate’s concern for all Jews practically leaps off the page, I still wonder why they would care a whit more for Conservative Jews than they do J4J.

  • David,

    The quote from Agudat Harabanim does not contradict what I said. A Jew is still a Jew. While the Conservative and Reform movements are deviants of Judaism, and therefore NOT Judaism, many of their essential foundations are based on numerous aspects of Judaism.

    In the same OUR Halachic Ruling, it also states:

    We appeal to our fellow Jew, members of the Reform and Conservative movements:
    Having been falsely led to believe by heretical leaders that Reform and Conservative are legitimate branches or denominations of Judaism, we urge you to be guided by this declaration, and withdraw from your affiliation with Reform and Conservative temples and their clergy. Do not hesitate to attend an Orthodox synagogue due to your inadequate observance of Judaism. On the contrary, it is because of that inadequacy that you need to attend an Orthodox synagogue where you will be warmly welcomed.

    This is not a rejection of Jews but of what they practice. And this is from the OUR, not exactly the only voice, even within the Orthodox community. See the response to the OUR ruling on this page. Maybe that will help you understand.

  • Jews should run away as quickly from people that use the phrase “Torah Judaism” or “Torah true Judaism” as quickly as those from J4J. The latter because it is not Judaism, but rather Christianity. The former because it also is not Judaism, but rather a distorted, several hundred year old caricatures of the “frozen text” approach to religion preferred by their forefathers, the Sadducees. We still love them because they are Jews, but we reject their painfully misinformed approach to Judaism. It didn’t use to be that way; 500 years ago we were in the same boat. But, sadly, they never recovered from Shabbtai Tsvi and the expulsion from Spain, and reacted by freezing what had previously been a dynamic, living approach to understanding halacha.

  • Once again Nathan coughs up revised and falacious renditions of Jewish history that reflect anything but reality.

    Is this what movements, like Reform and conservative teach in order to grant themselves legitimacy?

    Never recovered from the Spanish expulsion? Piffle! Jewish communities did suprisingly well under the circumstances.

  • Shy Guy,

    Though I had a precise understanding of the Rabbinical ruling already, it’s interesting to see you try to reconcile your constantly reiterated accusations that Reform and Orthodox Judaism are deviant heresies that are different religions than Judaism with the claim that you care a great deal whether or not their adherents embrace Jews for Jesus. At least one thing’s for sure: there’s not a single word that has ever come out of your mouth that might have conceivably given a moment’s pause to any Jew vulnerable to the seductive blandishments of J4J, or that might have given the impression to such Jews that they are the objects of anything other than loathing and contempt to those in the Orthodox community.

    And, no, I didn’t forget that “This is not a rejection of Jews but of what they practice.” How really clever; just like the warm, loving embrace in which the Catholic Church holds its homosexual followers: “We don’t hate you, we just hate your sin. As soon as you refrain from being an abomination to God and repent of your mortal sin, we’ll rescind your condemnation to burn forever in Hell and welcome you into our loving arms.”

    It does appear to be true that the UOR position is not representative of the mainstream Orthodox establishment, as many Orthodox groups rejected the statement as nothing but a self-aggrandizing, gratuitously divisive publicity stunt. While the theological position of mainstream Orthodoxy appears to be no more accepting of Conservative and Reform Judaism than that of the UOR, at the very least, they are sufficiently aware of their own self-interest to recognize the egregious stupidity of spitting in the face of every non-Orthodox Jew in the United States.

    And make no mistake about it: spitting in the face of American Jewry is precisely what the UOR is doing. That’s not all that surprising, given an understanding of the organization’s priorities and political objectives. They are a truly sick, morally deformed group of rightwing fanatics that embraces the positions of the Christian Right in almost every respect. Among their recent political causes were supporting the necrophiliacs who tried to keep Terri Schiavo alive, as well as Jew-hating fundamentalist Roy Moore in his attempts to transform the United States into a Taliban-style theocracy.

    There’s something else I find rather perplexing, however. You were the one that referred me to the UOR statement in the first place for an understanding of the Orthodox position on Reform and Conservative Judaism. Yet now – only when that position completely belies your claim to give a shit about whether non-Orthodox Jews convert to J4J – you suddenly refer me to the RCA response marginalizing the UOR position. What could possibly account for that fact?

    The simple fact is that your boundless narcissism and single-minded obsession with sin border on the pathological. You often sound as though you might break out at any moment with a riff on how Reform Judaism is robbing you of your precious bodily fluids. What is more disturbing, frankly, is that others indulge you as some sort of well-intended satirist, with the occasional “Come now, Shy Guy, you don’t really mean to say that now, do you?” I realize you mean precisely what you say. Meaning, of course, that there are two distinct possibilities. You may well be exactly as you seem, a petty, self-righteous fanatic without an ounce of human compassion or generosity. On the other, you could be as cynical as the great scholars of your beloved Agudath Harabonim, scheming, grubby stereotypes out of Shakespeare and Dickens, dazzling the feebleminded with superstitious incantations, and willing to slander anyone and serve as apologists for the most disgusting moral depravity in order to protect their turf. Neither alternative is terribly flattering.

  • I don’t know if any one has seen the following website http://www.faithstrengthened.org- from it one can download a reprint of a counter-missionary book written by a Karaite Jew in Europe in the 1560’s- he basically goes into detail as to why we Jews cannot ever accept Christianity in any form. I think it’s called Hizzuk Emunah in Hebrew.
    But hey, he was a Karaite (sarcasm!). What did he know about Torah-true Judaism (sarcasm)!
    What I”m trying to say is people- wake up- we”re in trouble here. We have Reform/Conservative and Orthodox fighting it out, and meantime intermarriage continues !
    Look, I am a descendant of 3 Iraqi Rabbis, and I am I think traditional rabbinic Judaism has a lot going for it. However, by fighting about who’s more holy on the basis of how many mitzvot they do we’re basically re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, since at this time we’re losing the demographic battle, at least in the Diaspora.
    Why don’t the Orthodox make a deal with Reform/ Conservative and say “look we’re not happy about your gay ordination agenda, we wish you’d promote the mitzvot more, but we’re going to stop criticizing you, but you must make a sincere effort to return to more traditional theology and observance and we’ll try to make a genuine effort to be more interested in social justice issues. Let’s have a joint conversion institute, and before that happens, we’ll accept your converts on condition that you let us also expose them to traditional Judaism, without rejecting them. Our main concern, as yours is also, is that we expect everyone to believe in or strive toward belief in Hashem, the Wonderful, Ineffable, Indivisible Merciful Creator and Sustainer of all humanity and all life,
    AND that everyone must act ethically and morally in consequence. We acknowledge that Judaism is not an all-or-nothing deal, and we accept you provided you do not explicitly preach against Torah laws and commandments. We also acknowledge that in the severe demographic crisis that faces Judaism and the totality of the Israelite faith today, while the Karaites and Samaritans are today tiny groups, their religious texts are also based on Torah, and therefore have validity, and therefore we cannot reject them, but must also welcome them because their religious texts also can help us in our ongoing mission to be a light unto the nations, and proclaim to all humanity the love of Hashem””.

  • Oops, I got the link to that website wrong,
    it’s http://www.faithstrengthened.org

    My main point, is how can we influence each other to what we consider the good eg. how can Orthodox influence Reform/ Conservative and how can we learn from each other, if we refuse to worship in the same synagogue, if we accuse each other instead of talk with each other. Persuasion, persuasion is the key. Shouting and acrimony doesn’t work.

  • Oops, in my little speech there I should have said “…we accept you as long as you do not preach against Torah commandments and laws and as long as you promote observance of Torah commandments and laws””

  • I don’t know if it’s still available but I have a copy of “Faith Strengthened” on my desk now, published by Ktav in 1970.

    The introduction by Trude-Weiss Rosemarin is very interesting.

    Yitzchak of Troki may or may not have been scholarly in Torah-tue Judaism. There is no need for sarcasm here. His point, however, was that Christianity bases itself on the “bible” and not additonally on the Oral Law, as conveyed through the Talmud. Yitchak of Troki argued against Christianity on their own turf, what the Christians refer to as the Old Testament.

    Regarding (y)our dream of a unified Am Yisrael, I’m afraid certain things cannot be. The joint conversion idea is a sham in concept.

    Karaites and Samaritans have long ago not been considered a part of the Jewish people.

    Judaism believes in quality, not quantity. Our strength is not in numbers but in unity. Sadly, even those that believe in Torah true Judaism are rarely united.

    Today is the fast of the 17th of Tamuz. Food for thought.

  • Funny. I had responded yesterday in full to David Smiths’ howl in post #19 and now it’s gone.

    I can’t be bothered to compose the reply again. Whatever words you want to put it my mouth are just fine, David.

  • Dave,

    Your proposal is genuinely noble and worthwhile suggestion; alas, at its heart rests the idea of compromise, which is what renders it utopian. Specifically, can you even conceive of a single Conservative Jew you know of (though Reform Jews would be more problematical) that would object to your proposal? I know I wouldn’t. On the other hand, the response of the Orthodox is reflected in the comment immediately following your: “I’m afraid certain things cannot be.” The unfortunate truth is that the essence of contemporary Orthodoxy is as much a commitment to showing why others are wrong, as why they are right.

  • That’s right. It’s not for Jews to say to Hashem “we’ve decided to compromise” on any part of the Torah.

    Too bad the reform and conservative movements were the schism’s that broke away from the Torah and Judaism in the first place. But again, it’s easier to blame those that remained steadfast to Judaism – those terrible Jews!

  • I am not expecting the Orthodox to compromise. I am just saying look, let’s attend the same synagogues, or at least meet often, and discuss and discuss until we’re blue in the face, but let’s not say the equivalent of “you guys are screwed up in the head, I don’t know why I am bothering to even talk to you”. Look, I am very much against some of the things that Reform has come up with, such as suggesting that homosexuality is somehow a valid lifestyle. But what can we do? Unless we (being Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform) want the other side or sides to dislike us and become impervious to all influence by us on them, we have to talk to them constantly. If we want to excercise no influence on others, and result in 3 or 4 competing sects, we should continue what we’re doing. And in the meantime, the population of Jews declines. Congratulations, ladies and gents, you’re right.

  • Dave, but what are you suggesting from a tachlis perspective. Being that we are a stiff necked people, everyone thinks that only their way is correct.

    When you have the extreme Orthodox refusing to have anything to do with non Orthodox, in a way that will as they put it, legitimize them, how can their be this dialogue(s) you propose?

  • There can be a dialogue on the basis of what we all agree upon ie. there is a Creator of the Universe, One, Unique, Indivisible, Merciful who has given us the commandments and a mission to bring humanity to the knowledge of the Eternal (notice I am not saying we should convert everyone to Judaism. However, Judaism is one of the few religions in the world (along with Islam, Sikhism, and Unitarianism) that at least aspires to pure monotheism. Christianity does not aspire to pure monotheism).
    We will fail in our mission if our numbers get so low (15.3 million out of 6.1 billion total world population) that we have no religious influence on anyone.

  • David Smith, can’t let pass your comment about the Catholic Church’s “homosexual followers”: the Church neither excludes gay folks nor presumes to consign them to eternal damnation (which is God’s prerogative, not mine or yours or the pope’s). I’d imagine it’s kinda like, say, Orthodox Judaism: the teaching is out there and known to everyone, but no one’s checking id’s at the door and, moreover, we’re all (yes) sinners in need of renewal. If that’s hypocritical, so be it.

    (Sorry the pope hasn’t read the American papers and taken to the balcony at St. Peter’s to endorse gay marriage. He’s a slowpoke.)

    Dave, Unitarians aspire to “pure [versus impure?] monotheism”? You mean– those guys believe in GOD?? No kidding!!

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