05/23/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Religious People Just Can't Catch a Break

I must tell you up front that I'm a leftist. I'm a feminist, I believe in equal rights, and I support gay marriage. I'm a Democrat and I've always been a Democrat. I believe John Kennedy was the greatest president of the 20th Century. This belief is beyond reproach or reexamination. So don't waste your breath. Don't even utter the words 'style' and 'Reagan' in the same sentence and then compare him to Kennedy. Of course Ronald Reagan didn't have affairs in the White House as he was too old to operate a motor vehicle.

As an 8-year-old, I trafficked in "Impeach Nixon Now" stickers. I've never voted Republican and no one in my family has ever voted Republican. Certainly we would never tell anyone if we did. I had a brush with Republicanism, though, this past November in the NYC mayoral election. I liked Mayor Bloomberg and thought he was doing a good job and wasn't really bothered that he wanted to be king. I was deeply conflicted though. How could I vote for a Republican? I got in the booth and (drumroll please....) I was off the hook as he was on the ballot twice, first as a Republican second as an independent. Ah, the pleasure of having a 100 million dollars to spend on your reelection.

Nothing had ever come close to altering my left-leaning democrat identity until I spent ten years in Israel. I arrived in July of 2000 just before the second Intifada started. That September just before Rosh Hashannah, Ariel Sharon went to the Temple Mount, the Arabs rioted in the North and there was the lynching in Ramallah. With the daily increase in violence something started to shift. Nothing like people trying to kill you on a regular basis to turn you into a law and order guy. I couldn't have been happier when Ariel Sharon was elected Prime Minister. The stories of his various campaigns from Shabra and Shatilla to Sinai which had frightened me and offended me when I lived in the U.S. Suddenly I was like, YEAH!! This guy was a warrior, Yes! I know Israel is not blameless in all this. Now even more I have a selfish interest in peace, I have sons, three sons, who will who will sit in tanks or at checkpoints.

But I don't just want peace because I have admit such selfishness is way too for my leftist heart and mind to admit. I want a fair, equitable and negotiated solution for the situation for the sake of the Palestinians. The thing that that makes me craziest about the situation is how little respect the left shows Hamas. And I'm sure it drives every G-d fearing member of Hamas crazy too. Is this why the left refuses to believe Hamas when they say they are committed to the destruction of Israel? I mean you know how hot it is in Gaza and these guys pose under the hot lights of television cameras dressed in layers of black clothing, ammo belts over both shoulders, grenades on their belts, toting two Kalashnikov's and their heads encased in a black nylon stocking and then wrapped in green Hamas flags. Do you know how hot it is in Gaza!? I mean this guy is committed to his cause, and the left says all he really wants is a job and a chance to live in a self respecting manner?

I know how hard it is to be religious. I'm crazy religious too. I'm keeping Kosher because G-d told me too, period. Not because there wasn't refrigeration in the desert.

It must be hard to be a revolutionary in this day and age. You figure out what you believe is best for the world and you work tirelessly to achieve it. You're willing to give up life and limb for your belief's and then along comes a bunch of old hippies who swear all you really want is to be a fry chef at McDonalds. Religious people just can't catch a break.


Yisrael Campbell is currently starring in Circumcise Me, at Off Broadway's Bleecker Street Theater.