Over at the Huffington Post’s Religion section – which rivals Fundies Say the Darndest Things! as the most consistent stream of ROFL-inducing religious babble on the whole internet – one Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, of Rabbis for Human Rights North America, posted a piece entitled “Building Bridges of Freedom: The Interfaith Movement to End Slavery”.
After describing her organization’s efforts to combat slavery and human trafficking – without question a noble and laudable endeavor – she proclaims its impetus:
Jewish values demand that we protect the most vulnerable members of our society. We’re just past Passover, when we celebrate the story of the Exodus from Egypt, and the Jewish experience of having been slaves becomes the basis for the Jewish moral code. Because we were slaves, we are expected to protect the stranger in our midst — to know their heart. So important is the commandment to protect the stranger that the Torah mentions it more than the laws of keeping kosher or observing Shabbat. Victims of human trafficking are today’s stranger.
Oy vey! Didn’t I tell you this is some funny stuff?
If the Jewish experience is the basis for anything (assuming, for the sake of argument, that there really was an Exodus, which most archaeologists and anthropologists strenuously doubt), it’s the notion that it’s better to own slaves than to be one, particularly if you can nab them from foreign nations:
Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly. (Leviticus 25:44-46)
It takes a lot of chutzpah to claim as a source of your crusade against slavery and human trafficking the very tradition that so obviously and explicitly condones them. It’s as if the Rabbi is completely ignorant of her own scriptures—or hopes the rest of us are.