Bill O’Reilly vs. Bill Maher

I’m putting this up on my Facebook page only because I want you to understand the extreme disadvantages under which rabbis and other members of the clergy labor in trying to explain religion to Americans. Mahar and O’Reilly are two relatively intelligent people, and yet it is difficult to imagine how they could have uttered any more imbecilic comments about religion and scripture in the span of only 20 minutes. It seems that there isn’t any theological, critical or literary term used in this debate which isn’t misused. They misquote. They ignore or misconstrue basic categories. They misunderstand or twist the context of biblical passages. They are ignorant of the basic meaning of key terms. AARGH! Harry Orlinsky, my professor of Bible and chair of the committee which produced the Jewish Publication Society translation of The Tanach, would be gnashing his teeth. I wish people who know so little but speak so much would just shut up! —Rabbi Kerry Baker

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