A distressing Amish story: 2-21-12
Blessing an interfaith home: 2-23-12

Bigotry in a new generation: 2-22-12

I am not sure why it's so distressing to find bigotry, prejudice and hate move from an older generation to a younger one.


I know it happens. My head knows it, anyway. But my heart always aches when I see it, especially in places where I might not expect it.

Another example surfaced last week in the Kansas City area when, as Syed Shabbir of KSHB-TV reported, "Blue Valley Northwest High School performed a skit on Jan. 27 that a student at rival Blue Valley North High School claims mocked the Jewish students at his school."

The second link I gave you in the previous paragraph will give you details of what happened and show you the video of the Northwest boys making fun of North because of the perception that North has a heavily Jewish population.

Although I'm appalled that the Northwest students thought what they did might be acceptable (and that you can hear laughter from the crowd watching), I am more appalled that the adults in charge of the event at which this took place did not call an immediate halt to it and use it as a teaching moment about antisemitism.

The administrators of the school district need to dig into this deeply and educate not only the young people about bigotry but also educate the faculty and administration of Northwest as to what is just good fun and what is the sort of hateful carryover of antisemitic sentiment that has done the whole world so much damage.

If you want to read my essay on the long history of anti-Judaism in Christianity and how it helped to create both modern antisemitism and the atmosphere in which the Holocaust could happen, look for it under the "Check this out" headline on the right side of this page.

Maybe the Northwest High kids who put on this repulsive skit (and the adults who should have stopped it) should read it, too.

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Ever since I visited Saudi Arabia in mid-2002, I've been watching that fascinating and dangerous country move toward reform even as it continues to embrace a rigid form of Islam -- a form that would feel more at home 1,000 years ago. Columnist Richard Cohen describes this dilemma and suggests that the country needs to decide what century it wants to live in. Good point.

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P.S.: My latest National Catholic Reporter column now is online. To read it, click here.


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