December 6 marked the beginning of the Jewish holiday, Chanukah. Obama gave a statement and as usual, missed the real story of Chanukah. In light of recent events over the last year, the real story is especially relevant to all Americans.
Besides being a holiday with countless amounts of spellings, Hanukkah celebrates the occasion of people of faith resisting a government and population seeking to enforce its religious views on them.
Obama’s short statement reads:
Tonight, Jews in America, Israel, and around the world come together to light the first candle of the Festival of Lights. At its heart, Hanukkah is about the struggle for justice in the face of overwhelming obstacles. It’s a chance to reflect on the triumph of liberty over tyranny, the rejection of persecution, and on the miracles that can happen even in our darkest hours. It renews our commitment as Americans – as people who live by faith and conscience – to lead the way and act as unyielding advocates for the fundamental dignity of every human being.
During these eight days, let us be inspired by the light that can overcome darkness. As we recall the Maccabees’ struggle to free a people from oppression, let us rededicate ourselves to being the engine of the miracles we seek. May the lights of the menorah brighten your home and warm your heart, and from my family to yours, Chag Sameach.
The Chanukkah story is primarily about a civil war between the Jews. Judea (what the Jewish State was called back then) at that time had been affected by the Hellenization begun by Alexander. Some Jews, mainly those of the urban upper class, wished to dispense with Jewish law and to adopt a Greek lifestyle. They claimed the people who clung to Jewish law were on the wrong side of history.
When Antiochus IV Epiphanes, King of the Seleucid Empire based in present-day Syria, which controlled Judea, witnessed factions among two Jewish groups, he unwisely chose a side. Antiochus pursued a zealous Hellenizing policy, put a statue of Zeus in the holy temple, made possession of the Torah a capital offense, burned every copy of the Torah he could find, and banned many traditional Jewish practices. Circumcision was outlawed, and much more.
A rural Jewish priest from Modiin and Judah the Maccabee’s father, Mattathias the Hasmonean (their last name was not Maccabee), sparked the revolt against the Hellenization by refusing to worship any Greek god. He then killed a Hellenistic Jew who stepped forward to offer an idol sacrifice– in Mattathias’ place.
The real Hanukkah Story is about a civil war against a government and population determined to prevent the Jews from observing their faith.
The struggle of the Maccabees was very similar to the struggle of Hobby Lobby, or the Little Sisters of the Poor, where government and public opinion (through Astroturft manipulation) are attempting to force people of faith to no longer practice their faith. (Although I do not expect the Little Sisters to take up arms).
The owners of Liberty Ridge Farm in Upstate New York, who agreed to host a reception but not a 2013 wedding ceremony of a lesbian couple because it violated their religious beliefs are today’s Maccabees. New York State fined them– and– ordered them to take re-education training classes to learn how their religious beliefs are wrong.
The Maccabee weren’t fighting against people who had changed their own religion and practice, they were fighting against people who were trying to force people who believed in the Jewish faith like Mattathias and his boys, to change their religious beliefs. Yet, the Liberty Ridge Farm owners weren’t trying to force their beliefs on others. They were only seeking to observe their faith and what they believe.
At the rate of the federal governments overreach and power grab to force people of faith to change their beliefs, it won’t be long before the government bans certain parts of the Bible, as “hate speech.” If Americans continue to allow such a rogue government to ignore the 1st Amendment, they should realize it won’t be long before a modern equivalent of a giant Zeus statue is erected in all of our houses of worship.