October 26, 2012
Wolpe on Brandon’s Holocaust analogy: ‘It is stupidity on stilts’
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Every now and then we forbid certain things to certain select individuals: Boxers may not use their fists in casual fights; CIA agents may not write freely of their personal experiences. I think it is time for a new restriction: any mention of Hitler, the Holocaust or gas chambers should be legally forbidden to manifest idiots.
Exhibit A: The Rev. Brad Brandon with Minnesota for Marriage analogizing critics of gay marriage to those silenced by Hitler. This is not stupidity. It is stupidity on stilts.
It is long past time that we stopped belittling the memory of millions who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis by pressing them into service for every political analogy. We hear this ignorant comparison deployed with reference to abortion, gay marriage, offensive art, budget cuts, with virtually any public issue where the speaker feels that his rhetorical jets need rocket fuel.
Stop it. Just stop. Survivors deserve better than to hear their unspeakable suffering turned into a talking point. And the dead, the millions slaughtered on the altar of hatred and savagery, should not have their memory besmirched by the moronic compulsion to invoke the holocaust at every presumed offense.
The attempted destruction of an entire people should be spoken in hushed tones, with the reverence due the victims and the shocked horror at the evil of the perpetrators. Anything else tells us nothing about the issue and everything about the speaker. I read that Pastor Brandon apologized. That is a good start. The next step, to be wished for and emulated, is to just keep quiet.
This piece is first appeared on WashingtonPost.com.
Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, David Wolpe is the author of seven books including “Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times” and his latest, “Why Faith Matters.” Follow him on Facebook.