From the Weekly Standard:
President Obama declares Hanukkah “an opportunity for people of all faiths to recognize the common aspirations we share.”
“He made this comment in his statement on the Jewish holiday emailed to the press:
Michelle and I send our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Hanukkah around the world.
This Hanukkah season we remember the powerful story of the Maccabees who rose up to liberate their people from oppression. Upon discovering the desecration of their Temple, the believers found only enough oil to light the lamp for one night. And yet it lasted for eight.
Hanukkah is a time to celebrate the faith and customs of the Jewish people, but it is also an opportunity for people of all faiths to recognize the common aspirations we share. This holiday season, let us give thanks for the blessings we enjoy, and remain mindful of those who are suffering. And let us reaffirm our commitment to building a better, more complete world for all.
From our family to the Jewish Community around the world, Chag Sameach.
In which Simcha Fisher responds:
Big words from a guy who doesn’t seem to realize that, in the Hanukkah story, HE IS ANTIOCHUS.
Exactly. This is not the first ironic statement about religious freedom from the President and won’t be the last.
I remember reading through Maccabees in the lead up to Advent since it is part of the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours. I was thinking about these parallels in consideration of the HHS mandate. One of the connections I considered was that it was not as if Antiochus IV Epiphanes immediately went about outlawing Jewish rites and practices and enforcing the worship of Zeus. The introduction of gymnasia, Olympic-style games, mystery rites and such was welcomed by many Jews to some extent. So often we see in the Old Testament Israel being tempted by something from the outside and wanting to incorporate it into their own culture. For example demanding to have a King instead of the Judges so they can be like other nations. We have the same tensions within the Church. People wanting to adopt the wider culture into religious practice to such an extent that there is hardly any difference between the culture and the religious practice of these adherents.
While with the HHS mandate we see some revolt such as the groups and institutions that sued in response, mostly we see very little resistance to the state. The modern Maccabees are those fighting against this usurpation of religious liberty. For the large part instead of people imitating Judas Maccabees, they are imitating Judas Iscariot instead. Name one Jesuit institution involved in the lawsuit? An easy question: a big fat zero. Too many are willing to worship the bureaucratic version of Zeus in big government. Big government is a jealous god that does not like rivals and would restrict the cult of worship to itself. Caesar soon leads to seizure of both your money and religious freedom.
Thankfully the modern Maccabean revolt is happening in the courtrooms and not the battlefield, but it is still a battle that must be won. This battle also needs to play our via prayer and fasting.