My friend Hannah Mermelstein works for justice and peace. She is a woman of Jewish descent who believes in doing justice and loving kindness for everyone, without distinctions based on religion or nationality.
Does she now?
Hannah Mermelstein runs Birthright Unplugged, designed as a counter to the Birthright Israel programme. Mermelstein is an outspoken champion of the BDS movement which seeks to exclude Israelis from cultural and academic life on the basis of where they were born. The fact that McLaren considers her as someone who ‘who believes in doing justice and loving kindness for everyone, without distinctions based on religion or nationality’ is pretty worrying, considering she advocates excluding people based upon their place of birth.
McLaren’s endorsement of anti-Israel boycotters (which I also blogged here) chimes strangely with his self-professed tolerance of all people from all nations. McLaren has written a book explaining how his ‘generous orthodoxy’ makes him variously a Catholic, a Protestant, an Anglican, a liberal, a conservative, a mystic, a green, an evangelical, and, er, a depressive. McLaren writes in Generous Orthodoxy:
“Because I follow Jesus, then, I am bound to Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, atheists, New Agers, everyone (even religious broadcasters, I was just reminded by a still small voice). Not only am I bound to them in love, but I am also actually called to, in some real sense (please don’t minimize this before you qualify it), become one of them and be with them in it.”
Great! So Brian, if you can find it in your generous heart to empathise with people from all nations, cultures and religions, why not extend your generous Orthodoxy to Israelis too, lest people be suspicious of the consistency of your arguments!