But while the rabbi respects Muslim women who choose to wear the veil, he had words of contempt for American women who choose to dress like Lindsay Lohan. Like others on the left, Rabbi Yoffie only has standards for Westerners, especially Americans, not for other cultures. It is the left's soft bigotry of low expectations that has often been noted.
In the rabbi's desire to ingratiate himself with his audience, he engaged in the generations-old left-wing practice of moral equivalence. Just as during the Cold War the left regularly equated America and the Soviet Union as "the two superpowers" -- which is why there was universal liberal condemnation of President Ronald Reagan's calling the Soviet Union an "evil empire" -- much of the left today morally equates American fundamentalist Christians with fundamentalist Muslims.
So before a large Muslim audience, Rabbi Yoffie singled out two evangelical Christians, Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson, and a Jew -- me -- as anti-Muslim. He essentially identified us as the Christian and Jewish moral equivalents of Muslims who hate Jews and Christians. That moral equivalence was as immoral as Rabbi Yoffie's defense of the veil.
Now, as it happens, I have never uttered or written a bigoted word against Muslims, and so the rabbi did not actually quote me saying something anti-Muslim. Instead the rabbi distorted what I once wrote. He said, "How did it happen that when a Muslim congressman takes his oath of office while holding the Koran, Dennis Prager suggests that the congressman is more dangerous to America than the terrorists of 9/11?"
Here is what I actually wrote: "When all elected officials take their oaths of office with their hands on the very same book, they all affirm that some unifying value system underlies American civilization. If Keith Ellison is allowed to change that, he will be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9/11."
I did not say that Keith Ellison is more dangerous to America than the 9/11 terrorists. I said that Ellison's replacing the Bible with another religious book for the first time in American history is more dangerous to American unity and to American values than the terrorists were. In fact, I feel that way about far more non-Muslim Americans, such as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Michael Moore. And I repeatedly noted in the same article that the issue had nothing to do with the Koran or Islam, that I would have said this about a congressman replacing the Bible with the Book of Mormon, or with "Dianetics" or any other text. The rabbi slandered me before a national and world Muslim audience.
Slander, morally equating fundamentalist Christians with fundamentalist Muslims, and respecting women who "voluntarily" wear veils: What the left has done to liberal denominations within Christianity and Judaism is a moral and religious tragedy. For example, liberal churches that regard America and Israel as villains have inverted Judeo-Christian morality. But little exemplifies the moral decay of the religious left as does its replacing Judeo-Christian moral standards with multiculturalism and tolerance. It has led to one of its leading clergy announcing that the veil is worthy of respect.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”