Shalom from Israel,
I’m a Mensan who was born and brought up as a Christian American and became a Baptist preacher. My journey in historical Biblical and archeology, leading me to become an Orthodox Jew living in Israel, enabled me to notice something that became conspicuous to me only when I began living in the Middle East. And I’m certain that the perspective that Jews discover after living in Israel a while is a parallel perspective that Muslim also develop after living a while in any of the other Middle Eastern countries.
Try, for a few moments of reading, to comprehend the perspective of walking in the following sandals.
When American Jews or Muslims live for a while (as part of citizenry, not vacationing seeing sites but buffered from the citizenry and way of life) in the Middle East, we experience something American Christians cannot conceive and you remain in absolute denial: we find, for the first time, what life is when our religion is the way of life all around us; and, for the first time, not bullied by well-intentioned, “loving,” overbearing Christians who cannot comprehend how we could possibly be offended by Christian insistence that we “be part of the company team” by participating in your Christian activities — especially Christmas — being forced down everyone’s throats in America. You cannot conceive that we — Orthodox Jews as well as Muslims — regard Christianity as idolatry, worshiping a man-god on a stick.
Now the difference between Muslims and Jews is that (Ultra-Orthodox aside) Orthodox Jews don’t react violently. (That doesn’t mean we’re any happier with this problem.) But when Orthodox Jews and Muslims return to Christian America it as traumatizing as being thrown into ice-water. We never realized before how the Christian way of life and culture — keeping our jobs, where we live (no mezuzot allowed?) and so many other aspects of our lives are tied to our willingness to accede to Christian insistence on our participation in your idolatry.
I know. You insist Christianity is not idolatry, and you’re welcome to your opinion. That doesn’t make it so and, you should be able to grasp, that doesn’t alter how Orthodox Jews and Muslims view Christianity.
Christianity, like other religions, must enjoy freedom in America — in the private domain, NOT in the public domain.
What I’m hoping you’ll be able to learn from this is that shoving Christianity down the public’s throat, particularly Christmas, will never cease to be defined as idolatry in legitimate Torah nor in legitimate Islam. And that means that when some non-Christians are pressured to participate in Christian practices you see as benign, there will be many — and the number will continue to increase with education — who realize that they cannot live with being required to accept idolatry. It is for them, no less than for you, life or death that each religion be willing to restrain their insistence to Christianize (or Judaize or Islamize) the public domain in America.
That is the immovable motive that will continue inciting violent refusal to accede to insistence to Christian practices that Torah and Islam define as idolatry.
The solution to at least this aspect of motive is then conspicuous: keep Christianity in the private domain.