Sunday, October 23, 2005

The sad saga of a self-hating Jew

I see that Dr. Mohler has a piece on Ken Segan. Ah, what a small world. I happen to know Ken. He and I were coworkers back when I was working at the Seattle Public Library many years ago.

Ken is a secular Jew of Polish extraction. Ken used to invite me down to his studio in Pioneer Square to comment on his art. His art was on the myopic theme of the Holocaust.

He knew I was a Christian, and the real reason he was soliciting my views had nothing to do with art criticism, per se. Rather, he was trying to feel me out on my theology and where the Jews fitted into my theology.

He’d ask me questions, then get all huffy at the answers. He’d say that Christianity was anti-Semitic. I’d ask him to define what Jew was. That always left him speechless. I’d point out that if he couldn’t define what a Jew was, how could he define what a Jew-hater was?

I’d then point out that the NT was written by Jews. That being the case, how could he justify his anti-Semitic prejudice against a historic Jewish document? That left him speechless as well.

I’d follow that up by asking what his warrant was for being so moralistic. Did he believe in moral absolutes? Where did his morality come from?

We went round and round on this on several different occasions before he banished me from his studio. Ken is a completely irrational man.

Below is a letter I emailed to Ken about his column.


Hi Ken,

It’s Steve Hays. Remember me?

I just read your PI piece about “Keeping intolerance out of public places.”

You say, “It is troublesome that the University of Washington allows publicly funded facilities for religious rallies that are considered hateful, racist and demeaning to non-Christians, including myself and many of my friends and co-workers.”

Interesting choice of words. “Considered” hateful, racist, and demeaning to non-Christians. Not actually hateful, racist, and demeaning. Merely perceived to be.

Heidegger and other Nazi academics applied the same standard in expelling Jewish professors and Jewish students from German universities. The mere presence of Jews was offensive to the Aryan faculty and student body. Striking to see you intoning the creed of old Jew-haters.

You say, “While Pastor Judah Smith is entitled to believe in religious supremacism, why must racist theology be presented on public school property?”

To begin with, Ken, you’re very free with the word “racist.” There are Christians of every race. Christianity is especially well represented in the Southern Hemisphere. Why, Ken, do you indulge in these hateful, racist and demeaning caricatures of so many people of color?

Moreover, Christians pay taxes to. Their tax dollars support the UW. So why shouldn’t they have access to an institution when they’re footing so much of the bill?

Ken, what do you think the word “public” means, anyway? “Public” means that it belongs to everyone, not just the flag-burners and bra-burners. That’s the difference between the public square and the private sector.

Furthermore, why do you want to shut down public discourse on a college campus, anyway? I thought you were a veteran of the free speech movement? Of course, it’s not uncommon for young radicals to become old fascists. Is that what’s happened to you?

Finally, the very first right enunciated in the very first amendment to the Constitution is the freedom of religious expression.

“U.S. students, faculty and staff have never been as diverse in background and faith as today.”

To begin with, what you’re describing is a coercive diversity.

In addition, you’re idea of religious diversity is limited to the far left end of the religious spectrum.

You say, “Yet religious supremacists not only fail to recognize that bestowal, which some say is God given, they seek to extinguish others' beliefs.”

Ken, last time I checked, you were a militant atheist. So why don’t you speak for yourself instead of mouthing stuff you don’t believe in? If you don’t believe in what you’re saying, why should anyone else?

You say, “During supremacist presentations to high school students in Issaquah and elsewhere, the power of peer pressure is beyond enormous. These rallies provide a serious and harmful threat to non-Christian students and their families, especially immigrants.”

What immigrants are you talking about, Ken? Mexicans? Do they feel harmed or threatened by the Christian faith?

Or are you talking about some other immigrant group? Is this code language for Muslims?

You say, “In the United States, students attending publicly funded schools should be entitled to practice the faith of their families without facing peer pressure to convert.”

By what authority? Who confers this entitlement? Everything is not a right just because you say so.

Why shouldn’t students be subject to peer pressure? Notice what you’re saying. You’re saying that a gag order should be put on student speech.

Ken, when did you go over to the side of the book burners? When did you decide that the “firemen” in Fahrenheit 451 were the good guys, and Oscar Werner was the bad guy? When did you take the side of the Establishment in 1984?

When did you become such a reactionary lobbyist for censorship and prior restraint?

You say, “Rallies on public campuses are un-American and run counter to the spirit of tolerance that our nation's founders and generations of public school teachers and political leaders have led us to believe is our right.”

“Have led us believe is our right”? Really, Ken, are you such an intellectual lemming that you can no longer think for yourself? “Teacher says” and you believe?

Is that your idea of public education? To mass-produce an army of wind-up toy-soldiers who march in place wherever Teacher tells they to go?

“Rallies on public campuses are un-American”? Ken, you lived through the Sixties, like I did. Remember the anti-war protesters? Remember the civil rights movement? Remember the Constitutional right of free speech and freedom of assembly?

Ken, are you a pod person? Did the body-snatchers get to you? Have you been invaded by an extra-terrestrial biological organism? Did you go to bed a radical and wake up a fascist?

Why are you afraid of free speech on college campus? Why shouldn’t college students acquire critical thinking skills? Be free to debate opposing positions?

Why do you think the government should put its iron-boot on the neck of dissenting opinion?

BTW, Ken, the antidote to peer pressure is ideological diversity.

The “tolerance” that our founding fathers wrote into the Constitution is freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the right to bear arms, states’ rights, and freedom from federal government interference with these (and other) freedoms.

Ken, why do you want to treat government as the grownup, and growups as children needing to be protected from “threatening” speech? Why do you demote adult men and women to the status of minors under the curfew of the Nannystate?

Ken, when did you become an apparatchik for the almighty state? A quisling for the status quo?

You said, “Post-proselytizing Christians and church institutions-of-conscience no longer engage in conversion campaigns as they frequently recognize four tenets unrecognized by Smith.”

You’re talking about nominal Christians and dead churches.

You said, “Our need for constructive interfaith dialogue between Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and followers of other faiths to create a working methodology for non-violent conflict resolution.”

Just for starters, there are observant Jews like Michael Medved, Rabbi Lapin, and Dennis Prager who recognize that Evangelicals are the best friends that Jews have—practically the only friends that Jews have. It is we, the Evangelicals, who are standing in-between the Jews and the Jew-haters—the jihadis and their Eurocratic allies.

And there’s a younger generation of Jews like Ben Shapiro who are not so eager to sell themselves back into the bondage of a totalitarian state.

Ken, a people (Jews) who can’t tell their friends (Christians) from their enemies (Muslims) is a people with a death-wish.

You said, “Telling a child, youth or young adult that the faith of his or her parents and grandparents has been "superseded" by a "newer, better" faith is immoral, unethical and just plain wrong.”

Sez who? You? What’s your moral authority? Your bare say-so? Who are you to impose your narrow-minded views on everyone else?

What about young Muslims whose hereditary faith instructs the to be a Jew-haters and suicide bomber? Whose hereditary faith preaches the extermination of the Jewish people?

What about a member of the Hitler Youth? It is immoral to talk a skinhead out of his neo-Nazi philosophy?

Why do you think it’s right to use coercion (speech codes, hate-speech) in matters of ideology, but wrong to use persuasion in matters of theology? Can you offer a principled distinction? Does self-determination only apply in politics, but not in religion?

Why do you deny men and women the freedom of opportunity to choose their faith? Why should their grandparents choose their faith for them? Why should geography and ethnicity dictate one’s religion?

Why shouldn't people have a good reason for what they believe. And if they don't have a good reason, why should they be forced to believe it? Why should they not be allowed to have some options?

Do you think that a woman raised in Islam should have no say in the matter? Do you believe that a woman should be subjected to such Islamic customs as child-marriage, honor-killings, and genital mutilation?

What about the Hindu custom of suttee or widow-burning? Would you hold the woman down on the funeral pyre out of deference to her culture? If she ran away, would you return her to her masters?

Why kind of person have you become, Ken? When did you cross over and become the enemy?

Ken, do you have any answer to these questions? Or are you going to persist in what you say and do even though you have no rational justification for what you say and do? If you’re immune to reason and evidence, then how are you in any position to denounce the Nazi?

You then insinuate that Smith is a hypocrite because he opposes abortion while supporting the death penalty, right to bear arms, and preemptive warfare.

This is a facile comparison which disregards elementary moral distinctions between guilt and innocence, aggression and self-defense.

If you’re so devoid of moral discrimination that you can’t tell the difference, then the Warsaw uprising is on the same plane as the gas chambers.

Ken, why do you make a virtue of being unintelligent?

You said, “In Parade magazine on Nov. 14, 1996, Elie Wiesel, the U.S. immigrant, author, teenage concentration camp survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, wrote, ‘No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.’"

Why do you constantly assert a moral equivalence between race and religion? There is no one-to-one correspondence between the two.

How can you claim any moral authority for you position when you peddle such palpable falsehoods?

No religion is inferior to another? In Aztec piety, POWs supplied the raw material for human sacrifice. They were strapped alive to the altar as their throbbing heart was carved from their breast.

You think that’s on the same plain as Jewish ethical monotheism, do you?

You are pronouncing a collective judgment on Evangelicalism, are you not? Why the double-standard?

Ken, I sorry to see you degenerate into the classic self-hating Jew. In your fanatical hatred of all things Christian you hate the Jewish scriptures, you hate the Jewish Messiah, you hate the only people on earth who love the Jews and stand between them and hundreds of millions of genocidal, Jew-hating Muslims and their political syncophants in the secularized capitals of post-Christian Europe.

What a travesty to find you gathering firewood for the next Krystallnacht.


  1. Be nice if that actually made it into the paper where he column was.

  2. Hello Steve...
    I read your comment to Ken Segan. I could not find Ken's original post, but I did get the gist of what he had written, and I followed your reply.
    I am afraid that it is YOU who really misses the point.
    Your post is so full of errors of logic and argument that it would take some time to reply to each point. More time than I have unfortunately.
    Certainly understanding etymology is key.. Knowing what words mean - such as racist. But there are points of argument out of context - so that the word "racist" if used incorrectly, could be explained as "fanatical belief" . The distinction between "considered" as "perceived" rather than "viewed" is really playing a nonsensical game of language.
    Steve, so many of your comparisons, such as comparing expelling of Jews from universities in Germany under the Nuremberg edicts (laws), to not allowing campaigns to convert Jews to Christianity on a university campus is laughable. You might argue about freedom of speech, but there are even some limits on freedom of speech.
    Your arguments about tolerating religions that promote human sacrifice or suttee as another comparator is truly ludicrous. When we speak of religious tolerance in a democracy, we do not mean accepting of practices that are against the law. Certainly, you know and I know and anyone who reads the blog who has common sense knows with certainty that this is not what Steve meant. So why present this kind of fallacious argument as a defense of your position? It is just a lot of hot air.. no substance to it.
    Your alluding to flag and bra burners as metaphor for left of centre betrays your position. Now I don't agree with flag burning, and I haven't seen any bra-burning for decades, so the metaphor is pretty worn, and I am sure that there are loads of Americans who are left of centre in their views about labour, and health care, and women's rights, and so on, who would not think of burning the stars and stripes because they are loyal Americans who love their country.
    Steve, what you do not get is that active campaigns to convert Jews to Christianity are literally as old as Christianity when it became the accepted religion of Rome. The history of forced conversion at pain of death is well known.
    Jews, whether religious or secular find active efforts of conversion to be offensive. It is as if Jews were actively telling Christians - "Jesus was not the Messiah and your belief is totally wrong because we KNOW that our faith is the the true way."
    Arguments about which faith is the true faith are really not useful. This is where respect of other religions should be the norm and that should include not attempting to convert or persuade a person of another faith that they should choose a different way. I know that Jews appreciate the support of Christians for Israel and there are lots of different groups sharing knowledge but with respect for each other, not demeaning by preaching that another faith is not the true faith. There is a major difference between a personal belief that someone may hold, and whether that is in fact "truth". Faith is not based on hard facts - but is rather based on a belief system and the "leap" into the mystery of existence. At end, no one knows the absolute truth of existence, but we rely on morality and learning to do good deeds. And as Hillel, a famous Jewish Rabbi once said (paraphrased), the essential lesson of the Torah is to do good deeds unto others.. all the rest is commentary.
    Best wishes,
    If you get to heaven and find that God is not Jesus, you will be judged on your good deeds in life and your following the principles of both Judaism and Christianity - the mitzvot in the Torah that Jesus himself followed.

    Simon Levane