It is hard to find a major religion or secular ideology that has not been used by some of its adherents to justify violence against others.
No matter how deeply Muslims and Catholics have been hurt, we should be reassured that most have the character to accept this as the cost of respecting individual rights.
Violence can seem like the only solution to people already experiencing the suffocation of dead endings. My hope is that the rest of us, instead of saying "What can you do?" say the same, but with a different intonation.
The proper response to the Charlie Hebdo murders is not to jail "blasphemers" of any persuasion, whether they hold a pen or a microphone.
With apparently religiously motivated murders spilling innocent blood across our news screens this past week come serious concerns about the role of religion in our world. And when fear rules the day, increased violence is never far behind.
The Jews of France are living in fear. Anti-Semitism has risen to alarming levels. Innocent lives have been cut down in anti-Semitic attacks.
Who would say that deadly acts and statements have never been committed in the name of a faith -- whichever faith it may be -- throughout history? What historian would explain away the "wars of religion" between European Christians in the 16th and 17th centuries as mere socio-economic casualties? What is the rationale behind this bastion of thought that, in recent days, led to the statements that this was a case of "madmen" who "distorted religion," as if there were religious elements purely detached from what these men did?
It is one thing to profess the values that all people are equal and that we celebrate diversity, but how many people of a different race do you have over for dinner? Do you live in your home what you say you believe?
That metal taste in my mouth is back, a nauseating combination of rage, shame and fear. It's been years since I have tasted it -- perhaps not since the last time someone drew a swastika on the whiteboard hanging on my dorm room door.
Who else bears responsibility for the atrocities in Paris? It was not only the individual terrorists. They were trained, nurtured, supported, inspired and embraced by a murderous philosophy.
We seek advice in a variety of places (parents, friends, mentors), but when author David Rensin does -- at least for the past sixteen years -- he asks himself, "What would Louie do?"
When I was tattooed at Auschwitz, I was stunned. But it was a day when I had lost my whole family. I had lost everything I knew up to that point. I thought at the time, If there is hell on Earth, this is probably it.
There is a reason over a million people visit the Anne Frank House very year. There is a reason France's most celebrated public intellectual, Bernard Henri Levy, is a proud Jew. A strong and safe Jewish community enriches the cultural life of every nation.
Sometimes it's tough to sit through a one-man show, as so many factors are in play. Not only the actor and the text, but the subject matter as well.
I don't want anyone to ever believe that just because a certain individual has access to a Twitter account it means that she is a spokesperson for the Christian faith. Mocking people of other faith traditions is not Christian. Neither is it Christian to worship the gun culture in America that has done so much damage to our society.
We are two American religious communities in such pain from the outburst of extremist violence in France that we not only have forgotten each other. We have forgotten ourselves.