I know lots of First Things readers are following the shocking case in Germany of a rabbi who is under the cloud of a criminal investigation for practicing circumcision – in effect, for being Jewish. In case you missed it over the long weekend, a local source tells Ed Whelan the case has been somewhat misreported in English-language media. Apparently, the rabbi has not actually been charged. Another citizen has filed a complaint against him, and under German law prosecutors must investigate such complaints when they come in. The prosecutors in this case appear to be slow-walking the investigation (“thank God,” comments Whelan’s source) toward what we can all hope is a quiet end where the charges are dropped.
It’s still a shocking story, of course. Religious liberty remains in peril wherever it depends upon the discretion of prosecutors rather than the solid protection of the rule of law. I offer four lessons that I think we Americans can learn from this case as we wrestle with our own struggles on religious liberty here.
In the meantime, let’s continue to pray and stand with our Jewish friends facing a renewal of the ancient threat of persecution – and in Germany, of all places.