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    Clerics who speak out – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why do some politicians criticise clergy who speak out on public issues?

    A. They presumably think clergy should stick to their pews and pulpits. They couldn’t be more wrong.

    It is not just that in a democracy anyone has the right to hold and express an opinion, but it is an inherent part of religion to be concerned with every aspect and dimension of society and its mores and operations. Working to alleviate hunger, homelessness and despair is as much part or religion as is concern for the individual’s private soul. Insisting that everyone should have a fair go, including access to every opportunity for education, health and judicial process, is as much part of religion as are fasts, feasts and festivals.

    Some people are scandalised by clergy who have the temerity to attack hypocrisy and inhumanity. They would much prefer religion to be invisible and inaudible. But a society suffers when it muzzles the voice of religious concern and compassion.

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