USA, Arizona: Amazing Letter from A Scottsdale Rabbi to Governor Brewer

Written by scott on February 24th, 2014

Just got this from my Aunt in Tucson who is following the whole Right to Discriminate law with great interest and disgust. It was written by Rabbi Stephen Kahn, of Scottsdale’s Congregation Beth Israel.


Rabbi Stephen KahnFebruary 21, 2014

The Honorable Janice K. Brewer
Arizona Governor
Executive Tower
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Dear Governor Brewer:

I am the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel, founded in 1920. I write this with a heavy heart on behalf of our 750 families (roughly 2,000 members). Today, I respectfully implore you to act with bold and courageous leadership by vetoing House Bill 2153 and Senate Bill 1062 without delay.

Simply put, these bills are beyond “controversial”. Among many things, the final version of the legislation enables a business owner to refuse services to any patron based on their own personal religious proclivities, or even worse, a very loose definition of religious freedom. I cannot help but recall the spirit of the Third Reich’s laws established in 1935 at Nuremberg which legally permitted discrimination and anti-Semitism under the same implicit legislative construct as the bills passed earlier this week. As a Jew, I cannot help but feel that if a business owner, who is “informed” by their interpretation of “scripture” that a Jewish person cannot eat at their restaurant because I do not accept Christ as “Savior” that they would indeed have the legally supported permission to deny me service in their place of business.

As an American, I will always fully support the constitutionally protected rights of every citizen; the right of free expression of their own religious beliefs and convictions whether or not I personally/theologically agree with their beliefs or practices. However, as an American, a Jew and a Rabbi, I know that religious freedom does not permit me the right to oppress or discriminate against others because I think their theology or way of life is wrong. This is the antithesis of constitutional freedoms and the foundation of our country. The potential – both implicitly and explicitly – of legalizing a person or person’s right to persecute and discriminate against others under the guise of religious freedom is both intellectually objectionable and theologically corrupt of any scriptural justification I know of, especially in a free society.

Please do no sign this legislation which – based on historic precedent for our people in 1930’s Nazi Germany – could become THE seminal moment which will lead to horrifying consequences for the People of Arizona.


Rabbi Stephen Kahn


Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arizona.


8 Comments so far ↓

  1. Arnold Lewis says:

    Thank you so very much for speaking out about the ill effects and long term hate generated by this bill. It is all encompassing, and if there is a US, then there should be a “us.”
    Arnold Lewis

  2. Lee says:

    Hmm, so the rabbi supports slavery. Interesting. What’s next, forcing me to buy my groceries at the government assigned store? How about assigning the job I am to do for people who ‘claim’ me? What if I don’t want to buy from a store because the owner is a jerk, or wears shirts I don’t like or any thing that happens to annoy me? Maybe I don’t like the shape and log on the store advertising…. Is there no respect for personal choice anymore?

  3. Joseph says:

    Lee, stop trolling. Go be a retarded infant somewhere else.

  4. Alana says:

    Yeah, Lee, what Joseph said.

  5. Jay says:

    Lee, are you an ass or what?

  6. Amachii says:

    Thank you, Rabbi Khan.
    I really wish our Arizona governors could understand that discrimination knows no boundaries. . . I wish that they could only see that this isn’t just a “gay” thing, or a “Muslim” or even a “Jewish” thing. . . this is our humanity on the line.

  7. john Tozer says:

    Joseph, name-calling doesn’t solve any issue but to solidify people like Lee’s resistance to raise their level of thinking. Lee, please share how you feel the rabbi’s letter supports slavery. Most business owner’s I have known understand that if you restrict your customers to only those who think and believe like them, they would soon be out of business. Personal choice is a great freedom, but is not unlimited or unrestricted. This law isn’t providing any kind if freedom of choice. The business community in Arizona should be crying the loudest over the foolishness of this proposed law.

  8. Brooke Feingold says:

    What a well written article! More people need to speak up on issues like this to ensure that these awful events of history are not repeated. Thank you.

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