THE NEEDS OF THE FEW OUTWEIGH THE NEEDS OF THE MANY

by David Sisler

Star Trek fans remember the line.

Spock is explaining his actions to James Kirk. The Vulcan entered a radiation-filled section of the U.S.S. Enterprise, even though to do so meant certain death. It was the only way to bring the main engines back online in time to save the lives of his shipmates.

Fighting the effects of the deadly radiation Spock rasps, "It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

Kirk finishes the statement for his friend, "Or the one."

But that was fiction. In real life selfless acts are diminishing and will soon be gone forever from our society. Selfishness rules. Me first rules. So that no single individual will be offended, we will offend the entire strata of society.

Think not?

Witness the recent goings-on at Rodeph Sholom Day School on New York City's Upper West Side. Mother's Day will no longer be celebrated at the school because same-sex families will be offended. Father's Day is likewise cancelled.

Writing in the May 8, 2001, issue of the New York Post, Andrea Peyser reports that students brought home a note from school last Friday which said, "I am writing this letter to inform you that after much thought and discussion this past year, we will not be celebrating Mother's Day and Father's Day." The letter was signed by Cindi Samson, director of the school's lower elementary division.

"At this time, these holidays are not needed to enhance our writing and arts programs," Samson's letter continued.

"Second, families in our society are now diverse and varied. We are a school with many different family makeups, and we need to recognize the emotional well-being of all the children in our school. Holidays that serve no educational purpose and are not vital to the children's education need to be evaluated in terms of their importance in a school setting, as the recognition of these holidays in a social setting may not be a positive experience for all children."

Rodeph Sholom is affiliated with a Reform Jewish synagogue. Its student body includes children from age two through sixth grade. Tuition begins at $15,000 a year for pre-kindergarten, and tops out at $20,000 for sixth graders.

Parents should demand a refund. The educators who sanctioned Ms. Samson's letter are in violation of Torah.

It is necessary to digress for a moment to state that one of the guiding principles of Reform Judaism is the autonomy of the individual. A Reform Jew has the right to decide whether to subscribe to a particular belief or practice. Simply put, if someone says he or she can answer definitively for all Reformed Jews, that answer must be false. However, "A Statement of Principles for Reform Judaism" was adopted at the 1999 Pittsburgh Convention Central Conference of American Rabbis. The authors of the statement wrote, "We affirm that Torah is the foundation of Jewish life. We cherish the truths revealed in Torah."

Torah, in the most basic definition (and I understand the risk of answering for all Reformed Jews) is the first five books of the what Christians call the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Central in that canon are the Ten Commandments. And one of those ten eternal truths says, "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee" (Exodus 20:12).

But not at Rodeph Sholom Day School.

The administration at Rodeph Sholom says it was not the primary reason for the decree, but last week a man who adopted his son with a male partner boasted that he had persuaded administrators to remove Mother's Day from the school's holiday list.

"The reasoning was several-fold," Samson protested. "Families are changing. Some children were very uncomfortable."

Uncomfortable?

Pastor Kristopher Okwedy of Keyword Ministries is in Federal Court because of a billboard he paid for in Staten Island, New York. It carried a single verse (also from the Torah): "Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind ... it is an abomination." Critics called it "hate speech," arguing that New York City's anti-bias policy prohibits any public expression of intolerance toward homosexuality.

Uncomfortable?

William Donohue of the Catholic League, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights group, says taxpaying Christians should be outraged that they are helping support a school that mocks their religion. Donohue is protesting the play, Corpus Christi, which is scheduled for a run at Indiana University and Purdue University both taxpayer supported schools this summer. Jesus is depicted as having intimate relations with his twelve disciples.

Uncomfortable?

The Toledo Area YMCA recently allowed two homosexuals to purchase a family membership. Cindy Edwards is not renewing her family's membership. The Y's decision, she says, effectively endorses a sinful lifestyle. Rob Thomas, communications coordinator for the local YMCA, says the national YMCA is urging them to be more "inclusive," and that the organization is currently reviewing what a family membership means.

Uncomfortable?

The parents whose tuition payments support Rodeph Sholom Day School, and pay Ms. Samson's salary who were interviewed by Ms. Peyser, asked not to be identified because they feared speaking out would adversely affect their children. Because the school is afraid of offending homosexual parents, all of the children are deprived of a celebration of family. I wonder if anyone at the school will protest.

This is what happens when a village raises a child. Political correctness has plummeted lower than could ever have been imagined. The needs of the many have no representation at Rodeph Sholom, nor apparently on Staten Island, in Fort Wayne or Toledo and before too long, if our current course is followed, no where else either.

-30-


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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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