Navy Chaplain Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff:Â A Trumpet for Justice
There is a synchronicity to the rhythm of life when justice finally arrives. And so it was that my favorite rabbi in the world, and dear friend, Arnie Resnicoff, would deliver the invocation at the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal bill signing, marking the beginning of the end of DADT–a “beshert” moment–the Hebrew word meaning destiny in all its perfection, and a story come full circle.
One week after Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd President of the United States in 1992, in the absence of less developed policies, Clinton’s campaign pledge to allow gays to serve openly in the military dominated all news headlines and broadcasts–the news media had gone into a berserk frenzy about homosexuals in the ranks.
Less than two weeks later, by the time I took my seat as a discussant on a panel about diversity in the military at the Naval War College, (in my debut representing the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force,) Clinton’s proposed policy to reverse the ban on gays and lesbians serving in the military transcended all other issues to be discussed — including racism in the ranks and the controversial topic of women in combat — with an audience of several hundred senior Navy leaders in attendance.
On this auspicious occasion I met Navy Chaplain Rabbi Arnie Resnicoff, whom I would come to know as a strong supporter and advocate for gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. He has been morally brave over the course of many years by directly confronting the opinions of many of his peers and superiors and by challenging the military’s chaplain corps to always serve the troops first, without regard to a service member’s sexual orientation.
During the nearly three hours of “discussion,” I was personally attacked and relentlessly harangued by the Navy’s finest senior leaders, until its conclusion, when I mustered enough strength to push myself away from the table and walk to the back of the stage where I cried my heart out. Rabbi Resnicoff comforted me, as he put his arms around me and said, “You were so brave. I am so sorry this happened to you.”
In this awful moment, Rabbi Resnicoff, Arnie by this point, conveyed the compassion and generosity of a stranger, and affirmed the dignity of my personhood during an experience of profound cruelty and humiliation. It was a connection of a lifetime.
Arnie has always felt guilty about the way his fellow Naval officers treated me that day. On the eve of this week’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal act signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., which we would both attend, he wrote to me once more about this incident 18 years ago:
“I have been thinking about the conference at the the Naval War College where I first met you: the shabby way you were personally treated, and the way the ugly face of discrimination and prejudice showed itself in the words and actions of so many people around me…
“And, just as I believe that changes in the military had an impact on the larger issues of race relations in our nation, I feel that same can happen now…I think back at how hard it must have been for you to participate in that conference. There are combat zones away from the battlegrounds overseas, and that was one of them, back then.”
As I said, there is a synchronicity to the rhythm of life when justice finally arrives. In his beautiful prayer, Rabbi Resnicoff applies a healing salve to the psychic wounds we have sustained as second-class citizens, and reminds us of the greatness of America in believing that life can improve, as he calls upon divine wisdom to lead us into an unknown future of change.
“O Lord who made a world of change, You challenged us to mend, repair and change the world.
“Some lose faith and think that things will never change, But we Americans–of every faith–religious faith or not–Refuse to give up hope or abandon that most American of dreams: That we can make a difference, and that the future can be better than the past.
“Today we make a change as President Obama signs this bill into law, Today we recall that unity, not uniformity, is our goal, That we need not fear differences, Among those united to defend our nation’s freedoms and its dreams.
“Today we honor ALL brave men and women, Including those who served so long without the honor they deserved.
“O Lord our God, and God of generations past, Help us move forward, Toward a nation a little more united, more indivisible, A union a bit more perfect, founded on a great deal more respect.
“Let us pray that if the day has not yet dawned, When we can see the face of God in others, Then we see, at least, a face as human as our own.
“Lord, help us keep faith the day will dawn, When justice flows–for ALL–like mighty waters, When liberty will be proclaimed throughout the land, When every man and woman can stand tall, And none shall be afraid.
“And may we say, Amen.”
And so it is today, as we stand on transformed ground of our own making: Having realized the first dream of justice in America for gay and lesbian people–by the sheer dint of our effort, ingenuity and intelligence; by our anger and rage and by revealing our true hearts and dreams, others can and do see who we are–many, like Rabbi Arnie Resnicoff, are with us on this journey.Â I celebrate him today and share the wisdom and compassion of a true friend in our struggle.
May we always be so generously blessed.
Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs atColumbia University, who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is aÂ Harriman Instituteaffiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.
(photo by SammieÂ Moshenberg: Rabbi Resnicoff and Tanya Domi at the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal bill signing.)
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
‘Making Up Numbers Now?’: Grassley Scorched for Saying Moving All-Star Game Out of Atlanta Cost ‘100 Million Jobs’
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is claiming Major League Baseball‘s decision to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta will cost the city “100 million jobs.” There are just over 150 million Americans who are currently employed, so the Iowa Republicans Senator is claiming that effectively, two-thirds of working Americans will lose their jobs because of the move, which is false.
Major League Baseball pulled the game out of Atlanta in response to Republican Governor Brian Kemp signing what has been called “one of the most restrictive and dangerous anti-voter bills in the country.”
But the game is moving to Colorado, so there would be no jobs lost.
Senator Grassley is wrong. He might have been listening to an April 5 Fox News report, which claimed pulling out of Atlanta cost the city $100 million, but actual experts disagree, with one saying the amount is “a whole lot closer to zero than the $100m number Atlanta was throwing.”
The Guardian reports “Georgia’s $100m figure surely makes for a juicy cable-news chyron, the consensus among sports economists is these estimates are routinely exaggerated.”
“The rule of thumb that I always tell everyone,” economics professor Victor Matheson told The Guardian, “is just take whatever number the boosters are telling you, move the decimal one place to the left and you’ve probably got a pretty good guess.”
Chuck Grassley claims MLB moving the All-Star Game from Georgia cost the state “100 million jobs” pic.twitter.com/bEHQvTEK25
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) April 20, 2021
Grassley is getting scorched.
Gaffe aside couldn’t the state have gotten the All-Star Game back by – just spitballing here – repealing the law MLB complained about https://t.co/gXxz3JfQUc
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) April 20, 2021
The concession employees if someone asked for a soda at the Atlanta MLB All-Star Game pic.twitter.com/kz3GeHZhbm
— Ryan (@ryanhide) April 20, 2021
The year is 2050. Everyone in the US works for either Major League Baseball, the National Football League, or SBNation. https://t.co/JcD4X2wbb7
— Eshaan Vakil 🌹 (@hornetvtol) April 20, 2021
That’s 9.5 times the total population of Georgia https://t.co/6yPfjF4gf0
— *you’re (@RKJ65) April 20, 2021
What cost “100 million jobs” was not moving the game, it was implementing stupid and racist voting restrictions.
— Fritznkappler (@Fritznkappler1) April 20, 2021
To this day, Toronto’s largest employer remains the 1991 All-Star Game. https://t.co/akCKZHYRrK
— Mike Beauvais (@MikeBeauvais) April 20, 2021
If this were true, it would mean that one person buying one ticket to the Major League Baseball ASG would have created 2,439 jobs.
Call me crazy, but I don’t think that’s how the economy works? https://t.co/Xvyz2NLcEK
— J.D. Smith⭐⭐ (@DegenerateTBone) April 20, 2021
One-third of the United States will be employed by the MLB All-Star Game. Guess my offer letter just got lost in the mail. https://t.co/hzBFj102LU
— Pat_Garofalo (@Pat_Garofalo) April 20, 2021
Big if true (it’s not) https://t.co/mwXa3UMpLq
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) April 20, 2021
im gonna have to assume that Chuck Grassley has not watched a baseball game in a while.
100 million jobs????? how big does he think the All-Star game is? theres like maybe 100 kids catches balls in the Outfield during the HR Derby https://t.co/1KuJI16qMT
— Gibby (@bgilbertson10) April 20, 2021
‘Riding Bikes While Black’: New Jersey Cops Under Fire for Confiscating Bike and Arresting Teen
Police officers in Perth Amboy, New Jersey are under fire after video clips of them appearing to harass a small group of Black teens who were riding their bikes through town went viral. Perth Amboy has a law requiring a bicycle “license tag” but the teens say they live in Edison, and were just riding home.
At one point six police cars were involved. The officers ordered the teens off the bikes, confiscated at least one, and arrested one teen who was arguing they shouldn’t have to give up their bikes.
We can’t even ride bikes now… I’m not surprised. I’m just angry. pic.twitter.com/xcAR8zmnuP
— ⁶Kid (@deep_dab) April 19, 2021
Later, at the police station, one officer told the teen he was lucky to get his bike back, asking if he had the purchase receipt for the bike, and if it is registered with them. The officer also says the teens were told “to stay on the sidewalk,” but they were also told to stay on the road and ride with traffic. She says they did all this for their safety.
Here’s the explanation from a Perth Amboy police officer: pic.twitter.com/8T48DMEgoA
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 20, 2021
Part of Perth Amboy’s extensive bicycle law reads: “An application for a license to own and operate a bicycle shall be made to the Chief of Police in writing upon a form approved by the City Council. Upon approval of an application, the Chief of Police shall provide, at the expense of the city, a proper license tag which shall be attached to the frame of the bicycle in a substantial manner. The removal of such tag, except by proper authority, shall be a violation of this chapter. A license fee of fifty cents ($0.50) shall be charged per year for each bicycle. Such license shall be issued as of the calendar year and shall be effective for such period.”
It also bans “fancy riding”:
“The rider of a bicycle shall not allow it to proceed in a street by inertia momentum, with his feet removed from the pedals, nor remove both hands from the handlebars while riding the bicycle, nor practice any trick or fancy riding in a street or carry another person upon the bicycle.”
Many are outraged:
Riding bikes while black is a crime in Perth Amboy https://t.co/0v6znJ4SkO
— Duty To Warn 🔉 (@duty2warn) April 20, 2021
This is Perth Amboy, NJ. Are the police really arresting kids over bike registrations? Does it really require this many officers to address whatever situation this is? Police CANNOT continue to be our response to EVERYTHING. https://t.co/fcrPfJNKBI
— Amol Sinha (@AmolSinha) April 20, 2021
I rode my bike through Perth Amboy, NJ last year. No one asked me for my bike license. I wonder why. pic.twitter.com/VRsHggDxbv
— Charlie O’Donnell (@ceonyc) April 20, 2021
Municipal bicycle licenses are just registration stickers. And they can be an effective tool to arrest wheelie kids.
— BCGP Biking The Region (@BikingTheRegion) April 20, 2021
Cops in Perth Amboy, NJ arrest a Black teenager for no reason. They let him go later in the day and gave all the bikes back because they knew how this would look. pic.twitter.com/AQ8FXgCjs4
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) April 20, 2021
Now, let’s take a quick second, These guys state they are from Edison, NJ. There is no requirement for a license/registration for a bike. But in Perth Amboy, NJ there is… So this is just profiling by police with classic failure to communicate or listen. #ACAB #BIKE #Cycles https://t.co/x7bGP3UR1P
— Serotonless Graves (@Nopeamine) April 20, 2021
Then she says she could be a real asshole and confiscate the other youths’ bikes that are not registered. Perth Amboy requires they be registered. But, contrary to her first charge, they also prohibit riding on sidewalks in many places around town so… https://t.co/SJohgEibZx pic.twitter.com/FCWphZgR7d
— sahra (@sahrasulaiman) April 20, 2021
Imagine being some miserable police force, like that of Perth Amboy in NJ, who’s latest claim to fame is: trending because you idiotically swarm to confiscate bikes and detain (just the black) boys for lack of a 50 cent registration that proves ownership…#HowItStarts https://t.co/sxxADzeImM
— Gerald Hampton (@VaTechPhiDelt) April 20, 2021
Perth Amboy NJ has an ordinance requiring all bicycles to be licensed. Here is what happens when you live in neighboring Edison NJ and you want to ride through Perth Amboy. This is deja vu of Robert Moses building low bridges on the highways to prevent bus traffic.#FTP #ACAB https://t.co/qbrXsow1Gd
— #DefundThePolice 🌻🌹 (@Tom4CongressNY6) April 20, 2021
Need an annual license to ride a bike in Perth Amboy, NJ AS A FUCKING KID… but, we can’t figure out how to require licensing and common sense legislation for firearms. Amerikkka! https://t.co/Kk1oDXgLKd
— Stephen G. Friend (@StephenGFriend) April 20, 2021
i looked it up, f’in wild. you gotta register your bike with the cops. they can steal your bike for ANY infraction & throw you in jail for up to TEN days. this is such a blatantly bullshit law meant to target black kidshttps://t.co/8KCuzvQmtg
— nick still wears his mask 😷 (@NickKramarev) April 20, 2021
FIFTY CENTS per year to license your bicycle in Perth Amboy, N.J. – this is nothing but a pretext to harass
(this is not an archaic law – dated 2011) pic.twitter.com/XFpMny8Tjf
— Brian (@FinallySock) April 20, 2021
I broke this law last summer when I stopped in Perth Amboy’s waterfront ice cream shop on my ride back from New Brunswick
1. Biking laws shouldn’t change from one town to the next
— Brian Hedden (@BriHedden) April 20, 2021
Ted Nugent Tests Positive for Coronavirus He Called Fake: ‘I Thought I Was Dying’
Rocker and COVID-19 denier Ted Nugent has tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Everybody told me that I should not announce this,” Nugent says in the video. “I have had flu symptoms for the last 10 days. I thought I was dying — just a clusterf*ck.”
“I was tested positive today, I got the Chinese shit,” Nugent added. “I’ve got a stuffed-up head, body aches. My God, what a pain in the ass. I literally could hardly crawl out of bed the last few days… So I was officially tested positive for COVID-19 today.”
Nugent downplayed the pandemic and various mitigation efforts as recently as last week, and even after his infection questions the safety and necessity of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Yet, even after his own infection, Nugent isn’t about to change his stance on COVID-19, especially when it comes to vaccines,” Nugent says. “Nobody knows what’s in it. If you can’t even honestly answer our questions of exactly what’s in it and why are you testing it on human beings and forcing it on people in such a short period of time.”
- YOU CAN'T DO THAT1 day ago
Bill Strips Right to Food Stamps, Unemployment, Medical Assistance if Convicted of ‘Crime’ During Political Protest
- GUNS2 days ago
3 Dead in Current Active Shooting in Austin – Outrage as Texas Lawmakers Move to Make Unlicensed Open Carry Legal
- NOT HOW THIS WORKS1 day ago
Trump-Loving God-Fearing MyPillow CEO Claims First Amendment Right to Lie About Voting Tech Companies
- News22 hours ago
Jen Psaki Schools CNN Reporter Who Wants to Know if Biden Will Be ‘Disappointed’ if Chauvin Found Not Guilty
- OPINION1 day ago
‘Completely Broken’: 5 Major Weekend Shootings Leave Many Furious That Republicans Continue to Block Gun Reform
- POT. KETTLE. BLACK.23 hours ago
‘Backlash’ Is Coming: Sen. Rick Scott Pens Op-Ed Threatening ‘Woke Corporate America’
- News19 hours ago
Chauvin Defense Falsely Claims Congresswoman Threatened ‘Violence’ and Requests ‘Mistrial’ – Judge Refuses
- News20 hours ago
Maxine Waters: Republicans Like Marjorie Taylor Greene Are Using My Words to ‘Send a Message’ to White Supremacists