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Political Correctness and the Liberal Anti-Judeo-Christian Movement

 
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I'm sure many of us have heard about the recent controversy surrounding past off-duty comments made by US Army Lt General William G. Boykin while speaking in front of Baptist church groups. Many of us have also heard that religion, specifically Judeo-Christian religion, is under attack by many in this country, and the self-righteous liberal feeding frenzy which erupted in the wake of the General's comments certainly seems to support that theory.
While I do not personally share Boykin's point-of-view (nor do I share his religious beliefs), that is far from the point. A military person is entitled to exercise free speech, even political speech, when not acting in their official capacities. This would seem to be what happened. Yet the reason the guy seems to be under attack is not simply that he made these comments, rather that he holds religious convictions. It's the mere fact that he has these personal beliefs that the liberals, and a disgusting cacophony of self-righteous foreign press, find disturbing.
Anyway, here's some other views on the subject aside from the more prevalent liberal and foreign indignant caterwauling:
Putting a muzzle on the wrong dog
FREEDOM OF SPEECH FOR ARMY LT GEN BOYKIN, PLEASE
It's a religious war
[ October 22, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
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Sadly, anti-semitism is part of political correctness and has been for centuries.
Nazi Germany took it to an extreme but they were not the only ones doing so.
The USSR under Stalin was responsible for the deaths (in concentration camps disguised as "reeducation" or "correction" facilities) of many more Jews than Nazi Germany ever was yet noone seems to talk about it.
And the 1940s were not the end of it by far.
Even today PLO terrorists are labelled "freedom fighters" by most of the world's media, their actions being called "revenge" for Israeli "atrocities".
Terrorist training facilities are called "refugee camps" (some are located in what used to be refugee camps (but are now cities and towns), but those refugees were fleeing because of retaliation against actions by their own leaders whom they still support).
In part this attitude is perpetuated in large parts of the world by the political leadership in fear that switching sides might mean the Arabs turn off the flow of oil (like they did in the 1970s when the West supported Israel when she was invaded several times), but in large part it's an ageold problem that's been here for thousands of years.
 
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I agree that freedom of religion is guaranteed by our constitution. If Boykin had attended his own church one Sunday morning wearing street clothes and had presented himself as a citizen rather than an officer, then nobody would be complaining. Boykin's mistake was voicing his personal opinion while wearing his military uniform. The uniform created the appearance that his comments were as official as the image that he clearly intended to present. It is difficult to imagine that Boykin didn't realize that he was playing with fire when he decided to create an association between the uniform and one religion.
Suppose for a moment that you are serving in the military and your religious affiliation differs from that of Boykin. Suppose that you are serving in Iraq and you believe that you are working to rebuild a nation. Do you really want Boykin to redefine your mission in religious terms? Would Boykin's comments serve to motive you or would his comments have a negative impact?
Successful generals are often considered potential candidates for the presidency. When the media starts talking about such possibilities, the same question always comes up. Is he a Democrat or Republican? The question has to be asked because officers know that the military expects them to remain non-partisan. Consequently, active officers keep their party affiliation and their political opinions to themselves. Why should we accept less in the area of religion?
 
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Here is an interesting article by one of the more moderate and pro-american muslims.
Fire William Boykin
A quote from the article :

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Boykin�s remark was its utter ignorance. Compare Boykin�s crude machismo about �my God� being bigger than �his God� to Sen. Joseph Lieberman�s eloquent�and historically accurate�remarks last Friday to an Arab-American group. �We meet here today not as Muslims or Christians or Jews,� Lieberman said, �not as people of Arab or European descent or African or Asian descent ... We are children of the same God and of the same father, Abraham. We are quite literally brothers and sisters.� That is the message America should send to the world. And it will cost us nothing.

 
Jason Menard
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I agree that freedom of religion is guaranteed by our constitution. If Boykin had attended his own church one Sunday morning wearing street clothes and had presented himself as a citizen rather than an officer, then nobody would be complaining. Boykin's mistake was voicing his personal opinion while wearing his military uniform. The uniform created the appearance that his comments were as official as the image that he clearly intended to present. It is difficult to imagine that Boykin didn't realize that he was playing with fire when he decided to create an association between the uniform and one religion.


I have seen it reported that he has given speeches at church functions in both civillian and military dress. I have not seen it definitively stated that the particular comments that are being complained about were made while in military uniform. In fact, I've been specifically looking for this, but all news that I've read on it have seemed to want to give the appearance that he made the inflammatory statements while in uniform, but none of the sources I've seen have explicitly stated as such. There are restrictions on activities and speech while in uniform (for example, you can't attend a protest while in uniform), however it is not clear whether or not he did anything against the rules while wearing his uniform.

Suppose for a moment that you are serving in the military and your religious affiliation differs from that of Boykin. Suppose that you are serving in Iraq and you believe that you are working to rebuild a nation. Do you really want Boykin to redefine your mission in religious terms? Would Boykin's comments serve to motive you or would his comments have a negative impact?


I have served where my religious affiliation differs from that of my commanding officers, and it has zero effect on how the mission gets accomplished. Further, AFAIK Boykin is an undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and he is not in a position to define the mission one way or the other. In summary, his off-duty comments have no impact on the soldier/airman/sailer/maine in the field.
I have attended official military functions (in uniform) where religious invocations were given. Military officers and NCOs are actively encouraged to advise subordinates having personal issues to go and see a military chaplain (or other forms of help as appropriate). Religious blessings are routinely bestowed on military personnel being sent into combat zones. Hell, every GI in a combat zone wears tags around his neck with his/her religious affiliation on it. Every Sunday while I was in basic training our entire unit was marched off to attend church services (we didn't have to of course, but the alternative was to stay behind and clean the dorm). I was basically Protestant for the duration of basic training (although other services were offered, the majority just attended the larger protestant services). The military is secular, it is not however non-religious. Our country is secular, it is not non-religious.
 
Paul McKenna
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
[QB]
In fact, I've been specifically looking for this, but all news that I've read on it have seemed to want to give the appearance that he made the inflammatory statements while in uniform, but none of the sources I've seen have explicitly stated as such.
[QB]


Here is a link where you will not only find confirmation of him wearing uniform while making those remarks but also a video of the same
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Paul McKenna:

Here is a link where you will not only find confirmation of him wearing uniform while making those remarks but also a video of the same


The article doesn't mention anything about the uniform, and the machine I'm on now won't play the video. Again though, it isn't clear at this point that he did anything that was against any rules, regardless of whose sensitivities may be bruised.
 
Paul McKenna
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:

Again though, it isn't clear at this point that he did anything that was against any rules, regardless of whose sensitivities may be bruised.


Depends on how you define the rules. If one were to strictly observe any deviation from the Bush administration's defined policies as breaking the rules, General Boykin is guilty just as much as Mohathir Mohammad of Malaysia for remarking "Jews fight proxy wars against muslims". And for that Mohathir Mohammad was whisked to the side by President Bush and told that his statements were the total opposite of what Bush and his administration believed in.
 
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Many of us have also heard that religion, specifically Judeo-Christian religion, is under attack by many in this country, and the self-righteous liberal feeding frenzy which erupted in the wake of the General's comments certainly seems to support that theory.
In his private life, the General can believe in whatever he wants. What's at issue here is that I am paying the General's salary, and for that money, I expect him to be impartial when it comes to dropping the nuke on Christians, Muslims, or atheists. The juror who made his mind before the trial is disqualified from serving on the jury. The judge who lets his political and religious convictions dictate his decisions is not a fair judge. The soldier who prefers to defend the Christians ideals is not a good soldier, -- he is a polititian.
 
Jason Menard
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Depends on how you define the rules.
There are specific military directives that govern the actions that military personnel may and may not take while wearing the uniform. This is what I am referring to, and they generally aren't open to much interpretation.
[ October 22, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
In his private life, the General can believe in whatever he wants. What's at issue here is that I am paying the General's salary, and for that money, I expect him to be impartial when it comes to dropping the nuke on Christians, Muslims, or atheists.


There are no claims or evidence that he has performed his duties in any improper fashion. What you seem to be implying is that an individual with strong personal convictions cannot also act properly within the constraints of his profession. This is of course not true, and in my experience military people are very good at separating their jobs from their personal lives.
 
Dan Chisholm
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There are restrictions on activities and speech while in uniform (for example, you can't attend a protest while in uniform), however it is not clear whether or not he did anything against the rules while wearing his uniform.


I'm not convinced that his speech was non-political. Instead of attending a political event one could argue that he was leading one.
It will be interesting to see how Boykin uses his newly developed name recognition after leaving the military. I suspect that his behavior may have been designed to gain publicity in preparation for a new career.


I have served where my religious affiliation differs from that of my commanding officers, and it has zero effect on how the mission gets accomplished.


In most cases it doesn't have any effect, but I'm sure that we can all think of cases where differing beliefs could be problematic. The possible scenarios are so obvious that we don't even need to discuss them further.


Military officers and NCOs are actively encouraged to advise subordinates having personal issues to go and see a military chaplain (or other forms of help as appropriate).


Yes, but military chaplains are available for a range of religions. Furthermore, the chaplains don't define the role of the United States or the military. Their purpose is to provide comfort to those that are getting ready to face combat.


...every GI in a combat zone wears tags around his neck with his/her religious affiliation on it.


Yes, because they need to know how to bury you.
 
Paul McKenna
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
There are specific military directives that govern the actions that military personnel may and may not take while wearing the uniform. This is what I am referring to, and they generally aren't open to much interpretation.


Umm.. would it be fair to say that when Boykin adorns his uniform he is not only bound by rules of the military uniform but also by the rules set in place by his commander-in-chief, President Bush. If this is true, then Boykin is guilty of breaking away from his superior's policies. Now you may tell me that he did so in a private capacity and hence his remarks should not have any bearing on his official duties. Tell me, if you were a CO and a solider under your command "privately" remarked that he believed the total opposite of what you believed in, would you give that PFC any more work?
While Jason may be familiar with my viewpoints, let me state for the sake of clarity, that I do share Boykin's viewpoints to a certain degree. However, I would not like him in his present official capacity because of better reasons.
 
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The article doesn't mention anything about the uniform, and the machine I'm on now won't play the video.
The video clearly shows him in uniform saying "Why do they hate us? Why do they hate us so much?� Ladies and gentlemen, the answer to that is because we�re a Christian nation." This page shows more complete excerpts of his speeches. Evidently the "Christian nation" quote is from his speech in the Good Shepherd Church in Sandy, Oregon on June 21, 2003. I doubt he changed clothes while on the podium so I think that it's safe to assume the whole June 21 speech was in uniform. At the moment it's not clear (from what I've seen so far) that any other quotes were made in uniform.
Regarding official rules about conduct in uniform - I don't know whether they apply to what he said or not. But the issue of the uniform is not relevant just because of the code of uniform conduct. It's a PR thing. Wearing the uniform while making those comments enhances the public perception (here and especially abroad) that his views are representative of the US military, as well as the GWB administration of which he is part, as deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence. The Bush administration is by and large still trying to emphasize that this is a war on terror and not a war on religion, and is going to some pains to convince other countries of this. Having other countries as allies or at least non-enemies might be a good thing, and while the administration is trying to work with many Muslim countries, or at least not piss them off unnecessarily, here Boykin is making public comments which undermine that strategy. Whether or not he has a right to say these things isn't really the question - it's whether or not his continued presence in the administration will hamper efforts to work with Muslim allies and Arab-American communities in the US. In this context, "my God was bigger than his" is just a really stupid thing to say in public, uniform or no.
 
Jason Menard
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Thanks for the link. After getting things in context, I have less problem with what he said.
The video clearly shows him in uniform saying "Why do they hate us? Why do they hate us so much?� Ladies and gentlemen, the answer to that is because we�re a Christian nation."

�And we ask ourselves this question, �Why do they hate us? Why do they hate us so much?�
Ladies and gentlemen, the answer to that is because we�re a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian. Did I say Judeo-Christian? Yes. Judeo-Christian.


His statement that we're a nation founded on Judeo-Christian roots is a fact. I know many don't like this fact, but it is certainly true, and I fail to see anything wrong with this particular comment. Or is the objection over him stating that a reason "they hate us" is because we are in his definition a Christian nation? There would seem to be seome evidence to support this statement. Is there any evidence to the contrary?
Regardless, I cannot see anything in that particular speech which would be in violation of the rules as I remember them. If there is anything offensive in that particular speech, I'm afraid I would need someone else to point it out to me. Keep in mind that I am not overly religious, and I do not believe in anything remotely close to the fire-and-brimstone brand of Christianity that the General seems to.
Wearing the uniform while making those comments enhances the public perception (here and especially abroad) that his views are representative of the US military, as well as the GWB administration of which he is part, as deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence.
He is not part of the administration. The military is not part of the civilian leadership, they are separate from it, and subserviant to it. It is a military position he is filling, not a political one.
The Bush administration is by and large still trying to emphasize that this is a war on terror and not a war on religion, and is going to some pains to convince other countries of this.
This is certainly true. However if I may editorialize for a moment, anybody who thinks that religion does not play a major part in this whole thing is kidding themselves. Religion may not be much of a motivation for us, but it certainly is for the terrorists.
Having other countries as allies or at least non-enemies might be a good thing, and while the administration is trying to work with many Muslim countries, or at least not piss them off unnecessarily, here Boykin is making public comments which undermine that strategy.
I will agree that somebody making statements which may be construed to be anti-Islamic, who can also be linked to the administration within seven degrees of separation, is certainly inconvenient for what the administration is trying to do. However, some 3-star General, who has been serving in the military for probably going on 30 years, and has not come up with his views over night, is certainly a tenuous link to the administration. Anyone who thinks that there aren't military men, including high ranking officers, with strong personal convictions which may not be in sync with whoever is currently the President, hasn't really thought this through.
The guy is a Bush supporter, but is not part of the administration. He works in a military capacity for the DoD. He has personal convictions which he has voiced which many people don't like, and which aren't politically correct. Many do not like the fact that there are religious people with strong convictions, which they may not agree with, who hold positions of power. While his words may have certainly been poorly chosen and may easily be cast in a certain light, that he simply holds these views seems to be the bottom line.
In this context, "my God was bigger than his" is just a really stupid thing to say in public, uniform or no.
This was my thought on first hearing this quote, and it still certainly wasn't a smart thing to say. Reading it in context however, where it was a response to a terrorist stating how Allah would protect him, and keeping in mind the setting he was giving the speech in (Have you ever been to a fire-and-brimstone Baptist service? Interesting to say the least.), the intent behind the comment seems more innocuous than the comment taken out of context reads.
 
Paul McKenna
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
Have you ever been to a fire-and-brimstone Baptist service? Interesting to say the least., the intent behind the comment seems more innocuous than the comment taken out of context reads.


Since I have not witnessed one of these services, I agree that there is a possibility of the comments being made in an entirely different context than that which is portrayed by the media. However, the Pakistani or the Syrian or "You name it Islamic" person that this general is going to be dealing with in his role as "Head of Intelligence" is not going to have the same discussion as we do. Therefore it would seem appropriate to conclude that he is , perhaps unfortunately, incompatible with his current role.
I dont doubt that USA is a judeo-christian country, I dont have a problem with that. I believe this is a religious war.. but if we must succeed (with the general cooperation of the rest of the world) then you cant have a Boykin in the forefront.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Paul McKenna:
Therefore it would seem appropriate to conclude that he is , perhaps unfortunately, incompatible with his current role.


Not at all. Again, his position is a military one, not a political one. Aside from that though, we haven't severed ties with Malaysia because they are ruled by some nutt-case anti-Semite (whose comments were whole heartedly supported by officials from other nations, such as Egypt), have we? Hell, if we were to cut off ties with nations who have blatantly anti-Semitic officials (and quite unappologetic ones at that), we wouldn't be doing much business with certain portions of the world. Now this guy though has said he is sorry if he has offended anyone, and stated categorically that he is not anti-Islamic. His comments are open for interpretation anyway (he never stated that all Muslims were idol-worshippers with an inferior god for example).
I dont doubt that USA is a judeo-christian country, I dont have a problem with that. I believe this is a religious war.. but if we must succeed (with the general cooperation of the rest of the world) then you cant have a Boykin in the forefront.
I honestly don't think his statements have much impact, any more than the far more common and far more inflammatory rhetoric that comes from the Middle East predominantly has much effect on our relations with those countries. We still do business with the Saudis, don't we?
 
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I dont doubt that USA is a judeo-christian country, I dont have a problem with that. I believe this is a religious war.. but if we must succeed (with the general cooperation of the rest of the world) then you cant have a Boykin in the forefront.
Could you explain what you mean? If you agree with what Boykin said, then why you object him saying that? If you believe this is a religious war, this should be stated openly and the US administration should explain everybody who our enemy is. What you seems to suggest is to try to dupe the rest of the world so that they would help us... Sorry in advance for possible misunderstanding.
 
Paul McKenna
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

Could you explain what you mean? If you agree with what Boykin said, then why you object him saying that? If you believe this is a religious war, this should be stated openly and the US administration should explain everybody who our enemy is. What you seems to suggest is to try to dupe the rest of the world so that they would help us... Sorry in advance for possible misunderstanding.


Indeed Map, I am saying that we should not be playing fair and square. These countries that we deal with are not playing fair either are they? Some of our "friends" are definetly our enemies under the table, so why not we do the same thing? Keep people like Boykin in the shadows, where perhaps they have more control, than in the front where they will inevitably fall to the liberal assaults.
[ October 22, 2003: Message edited by: Paul McKenna ]
 
Jim Yingst
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some 3-star General... is certainly a tenuous link to the administration
Hmmmm, I guess I'm fuzzy on just what the separation is between the administration and the military. I understand for example that Boykin is not a civilian, and that he isn't in the cabinet. But Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld would be considered part of the "administration" right? Seems like someone with the title Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence is, well, under the Secretary of Defense and part of his office, even if he's also part fo the military.
Let's see - starting from
http://www.whitehouse.gov/
we find the President, which links directly to his Cabinet. Clicking near Rumsfeld takes us to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Where Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence is listed as a major element. There's no link (gee, wonder why) - is this Boykin? Or is he a deputy under secretery, presumably one level below this particular under secretart. (Though other DUS's are listed on the same page.) In any event this guy seem a bit closer than sever degrees of separation from the administration. Where did "the administration" end and the military begin? I'm sure that many or most of the offieces listed on that last page are military - does that preclude them from being viewed as part of the administration? I don't know how this works really. And to the extent that I view this as a PR problem more than a violation of rules, I'm not sure it matters what the "correct" answer to these questions is. By virtue fo his office, Boykin is in a position to (inadvertantly) undermine US goals through careless public comments, which he seems to have done. Perhaps he does not deserve an official punishment or reprimand, but moving him to a position less directly tied to the administration might be prudent. If it so happens that any such move is a step down, that's unfortunate. But is it a surprise that someone working in Washington need to be circumspect about his public statements?
Anyone who thinks that there aren't military men, including high ranking officers, with strong personal convictions which may not be in sync with whoever is currently the President, hasn't really thought this through.
This is a good point, and I'm sure it's not the first time stuff like this has come up. I suspect there are policies covering what is and is not considered acceptable, for people at various levels and offices; I don't know what they are. I would note that the problem here seems to be not what Boykin's personal convictions are, so much as what he's said in public about them. Perhaps "don't ask, don't tell" would have been appropriate here?
However if I may editorialize for a moment, anybody who thinks that religion does not play a major part in this whole thing is kidding themselves. Religion may not be much of a motivation for us, but it certainly is for the terrorists.
I don't disagree. The challenge is to make this observation without also encouraging the rest of the Muslim world to side against the US. "My God is bigger than your God" isn't very helpful here. I agree with you that his statements in context are more innocuous than they sound as sound bites. Unfortunately, it's as sound bites that they are being played to the public, here and abroud.
If there is anything offensive in that particular speech, I'm afraid I would need someone else to point it out to me.
Well I wasn't really arguing that that particular speech was the problem; I was just responding to the question of which particular comments were known to have been made in uniform. I don't have a problem with the "Christian nation" part - it's the "they hate us because" that's potentially more problematic. Unfortunately we stil don't have the full context here. "They" was probably meant to just refer to extreme elements of Islam, rather than all of Islam. (And we do see "these radicals" much later in the speech.) But in sound-byte form, it's easy for people round the world to read "they" as Muslims in general. That's not fair, but it's an unfortunate reality for people in the public eye - their statements get excerpted out of context, and one or two unqualified pronouns can become a PR problem. Personally I'd hate to have to guard my speech all the time like that, but it seems to be the sorm at a certain level, and someone who can't do it may need to be moved out of public view.
This quote by itself wouldn't have been so bad, but given the one about whose god is bigger, this quote is that much more likely to be taken badly.
[ October 22, 2003: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
 
Dan Chisholm
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Who was that guy that once said something like, "My Kingdom is not of this world"? Doesn't that statement suggest the speaker's support for the separation of church and state? If that person were considered to be an authoritative representative of a particular religion, then it would seem that any nation founded on the ideals of that religion would respect the separation of church and state.
Didn't that same guy also say something like, "If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." It sounds to me that the speaker was making a clear statement that wars on his behalf are not necessary. Wouldn't any suggestion of fighting such a war violate the principles of the religion?
Isn't it possible that the current conflict is really nothing more than the president has stated? Isn't it possible that it really is a war against terrorism?
[ October 22, 2003: Message edited by: Dan Chisholm ]
 
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Sadly, anti-semitism is part of political correctness and has been for centuries.
Nazi Germany took it to an extreme but they were not the only ones doing so.
The USSR under Stalin was responsible for the deaths (in concentration camps disguised as "reeducation" or "correction" facilities) of many more Jews than Nazi Germany ever was yet noone seems to talk about it.


I'd hardly call Nazi Germany or Stalin's Soviet Union politically correct, unless you're redefined it to mean agreeing with the leaders politics to avoid being shot. Much as modern PC is a pain, its not comparable to living under a totalitarian dictatorship.
If you said anti-semitism has been a part of european/christian culture for centuries unfortunately I'd have to agree with you.
 
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