TIME movies

Fifty Shades of Grey Is a ‘Direct Assault’ on Marriage, Archbishop Says

Fifty Shades of Gray
Chuck Zlotnick—Universal Pictures Dakota Johnson and James Dornan star in Fifty Shades of Grey

But religious protests aren't stopping skyrocketing ticket sales

Cincinnati’s archbishop does not approve of Fifty Shades of Grey.

“The story line is presented as a romance; however, the underlying theme is that bondage, dominance, and sadomasochism are normal and pleasurable,” Archbishop Dennis Schnurr wrote of the erotic book-turned movie on the archdiocese’s Facebook page. “The movie is in direct contrast to the Christian message of God’s design for self-giving and self-sacrificing love, marriage and sexual intimacy.”

“The movie is a direct assault on Christian marriage and on the moral and spiritual strength of God’s people,” he added.

Several religious groups have cautioned against seeing the film before its release Friday. But their protests seem to be falling on deaf ears: Ticketing website Fandango has sold more advance tickets for Fifty Shades than for any other R-rated film in the site’s history.

And the book series upon which the film is based has already earned a devoted following among many Christian women. A survey of 1,075 adults by the Barna Group, a faith-focused polling firm, found that 9% of practicing Christian women in America have read at least the first book, The Atlantic reports. That’s roughly consistent with the percentage of total U.S. women who have read Fifty Shades.


Alabama’s ‘Ten Commandments Judge’ Defies the Feds Over Gay Marriage

Roy Moore
Rogelio V. Solis—AP Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court addresses a Pro-Life Mississippi and a Pastors for Life pastors luncheon in Jackson, Miss., Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. Moore told the attendees that he cannot separate his faith from his job as chief justice and continues to oppose abortion and same-sex marriage.

Roy Moore has a history of defying federal orders

On Sunday, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore told the state’s probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, an order defying a ruling last month by a federal judge that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

A state judge refusing to follow federal orders is rare. But for Moore, it would’ve been more unusual if he went along with the decision quietly.

Judge Moore is often known as the “Ten Commandments Judge.” When Moore, a devout Christian who often relies on Biblical scripture in his rulings, began his judicial career as an Alabama circuit court judge in the 1990s, he placed a Ten Commandments tablet he had carved himself behind his courtroom bench and began instituting prayer before jury selection.

Soon enough, the American Civil Liberties Union sued Moore for violating the Constitution’s Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. In 1996, a Montgomery County circuit judge ruled that prayer in the courtroom was unconstitutional and later ordered that the Ten Commandments display either be removed or placed alongside secular documents like the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. To that, Moore responded: “I will not surround the Ten Commandments with other items to secularize them. That’s putting man above God.”

But Moore eventually won out. In 1998, the Alabama Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuits, and the commandments stayed. And Moore’s popularity, thanks to his conservative defiance, skyrocketed. Two years later, he was elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

In 2001, Moore again made national news when he issued an opinion in the case D.H. vs. H.H., a custody battle between a lesbian and her ex-husband who she said was abusive. In his concurring opinion, Judge Moore ruled for the ex-husband, saying that the woman’s sexual orientation was grounds enough to prevent her from taking custody of the children.

A year later, Moore resurrected the Ten Commandments debate when he had a 5,200-lb. granite Ten Commandments monument commissioned and placed inside the Alabama State Judicial Building. Two lawsuits were filed, and by August 2003, a federal judge ordered the monument removed. Again, Moore refused, forcing his fellow justices to remove it instead and sparking thousands of protesters to rally in support of Moore outside the state judicial building. But they weren’t able to save his job. Later that year, a state judicial panel removed Moore from his post as chief justice.

In the years following, Moore unsuccessfully ran for Alabama governor twice and in 2012 was re-elected chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court. “I have no doubt this is a vindication,” Moore said after his election. “Go home with the knowledge that we are going to stand for the acknowledgment of God.”

Moore’s latest tenure has been relatively quiet until this week. His latest attempts to ignore federal orders and block the state from handing out marriage licenses to gay couples, while extraordinary for other justices, is natural for a judge with a history of judicial defiance. But this time, Moore appears to be experiencing the kind of resistance he’s sown for years.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would allow same-sex marriages to move forward, and most judges appeared to be following suit — defying a state judge who has made judicial disobedience his defining characteristic.


MONEY Religion

Investing Options Grow for Muslims

Stuart Dee/Getty Images

U.S. Muslims who don't want to profit from interest or invest in certain types of businesses have an increased number of choices.

A growing number of options address the special investing needs of Muslims.

The U.S. Muslim population is expected to reach 6.2 million by 2030, almost three times the nation’s 2.6 million Muslims in 2010, the Pew Research Center estimates.

Muslim-Americans are younger and better educated than the average U.S. citizen, according to Gallup data. Moreover, they want to see a greater number of appropriate financial products, according to market research firm DinarStandard.

Their investing needs are similar to those of people who want socially responsible investments, but it requires additional expertise on the part of their adviser.

Under Islamic, or Shariah law, investors must shun companies involved in, for example, alcohol, tobacco, gambling or weapons — restrictions common to many religious groups. Shariah law also prohibits interest, because loans should be charitable acts. This makes buying fixed-income securities problematic, and purchasing banking company stocks impossible.

Companies must also have little debt: about 30% interest-bearing debt to trailing 12-month average market capitalization, according to organizations that set Islamic investing standards.

More investment products are becoming available. They include sukuk, the Islamic alternative to bonds, where returns are based on profits from an underlying asset. One fund, Azzad Wise Capital Fund, is available to U.S. retail investors. More choices will likely emerge, advisers say.

Morgan Stanley adviser Mark Rogers in Farmington Hills, Mich., helped his first Muslim-American client about 10 years ago and now serves more. He does not view them differently from clients who want socially responsible investments, he said.

“Once you understand how to apply the filter, it’s just business as usual,” Rogers said.

Naushad Virji, chief executive officer of Sharia Portfolio, launched his investment advisory firm in Lake Mary, Fla., 10 years ago and now serves clients in 21 states, he said.

Virji generally sticks to individual large-cap stocks — names with low debt such as Apple and Walgreens Boots Alliance — but said he is excited about developments in Islamic finance.

Amana Mutual Funds Trust, for example, and a new ETF from Falah Capital, Falah Russell-IdealRatings U.S. Large Cap ETF , are helping meet investors’ needs. But there is more to be done, Virji said. “We are in the infancy of Shariah-compliant investing in this country,” he said.

Advisers should go through each holding with clients to make sure they are happy with the choices, said Frank Marcoux, a partner at Wells Fargo’s Nelson Capital Management, a Wells Fargo & Co. unit. Some clients are even more strict than even the standard-setters, Marcoux said.

Clients also should understand they cannot expect to beat a benchmark, when chunks of companies are missing, Marcoux said.

But the main point is that advisers can help Muslims get in the market, Marcoux said. “People are surprised that this type of product and strategy even exists, and very appreciative.”

TIME Religion

Pope Francis Says Smacking Kids Is Ok As Long As Their ‘Dignity Is Maintained’

The Pope even acted out the movement of smacking a child on the bottom

Pope Francis faced criticism from child protection groups this week when he told parents that it is fine to spank their children as punishment for bad behavior.

Speaking in front of thousands of people on Wednesday at his weekly general audience, Francis described the responsibilities of fatherhood and the qualities of a good father. According to The Associated Press, he recalled a conversation he had with a father who had told him: “At times I have to smack my children a bit, but never in the face so as not to humiliate them.”

“How beautiful,” said Francis. “He had a sense of dignity. He has to punish them but does it justly and then moves on.”

Many have condemned this apparent endorsement of corporal punishment. “It is disappointing that anyone with that sort of influence would make such a comment,” Peter Newell from the Global Alliance to end Corporal Punishment of Children told The Telegraph.

But the Rev Thomas Rosica, who collaborates with the Vatican press office, told AP that the Pope was not speaking about committing violence against a child but rather “helping someone to grow and mature.”

Read next: See Every Country Where Spanking Is Still Legal in One Chart

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Religion

Dalai Lama: ‘Muslim Practitioners Must Extend Love Towards Entire Creation of Allah’

Dalai Lama, Valerie Jarrett
Evan Vucci—AP Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, talks with the Dalai Lama during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., on Feb. 5, 2015

Hours after Thursday’s annual National Prayer Breakfast, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with a much smaller, and far less publicized, religious gathering in Washington, D.C.

Around a hundred American Muslims and American Buddhists gathered in the lower level of Park Hyatt Washington to hear His Holiness speak about the concept of service with Sheikh Fadhil al-Sahlani, representative of His Eminence the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Sistani. Richard Gere, of Pretty Woman fame and a practicing Buddhist, showed up and sat in the front row.

His Holiness began by discussing the challenges that many Muslims have faced since the Sept. 11 attacks. A few individuals’ behavior he said, should not generalize the entire religious tradition — “It’s not fair, not right” — and added that he was concerned about the bad image Islam was getting. It is a service, he explained, for Muslims to stand up and not be complacent or indifferent in this environment, especially when Islam has such global significance. Muslim faith is about loving everyone, he said. “Muslim practitioners must extend love toward entire creation of Allah,” he said. The audience interrupted in applause.

The Dalai Lama also shared an interaction he once had with President George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks. On a human level, His Holiness said, Bush was a very nice person. “‘I love you,’” the Dalai Lama recalled saying to Bush, “‘but some of your policies, I have great reservation [about].’”

The event was hosted by the Development Organization for Societies in Transition (DOST), a Washington, D.C., secular nonprofit started by Muslims that does civic programming in northern Pakistan, and sponsored by the Universal Muslim Association of America. The panel, moderated by DOST executive director John Pinna, was the second in the group’s ongoing series of conversations between the Muslim community and His Holiness. The first was an informal gathering with two dozen American Muslim leaders and the Dalai Lama two years ago. American Muslim leaders, including Islamic Relief USA CEO Anwar Khan, U.S. Institute for Peace vice president Manal Omar and Muflehun executive director Humera Khan, joined His Holiness and His Eminence for a panel conversation on the idea of service.

Al-Sahlani added, “The greatest victim of the terror of the last 20 years was the religion of Islam.” It is time, he said, for Muslims to fix their own house. The Dalai Lama nodded.

His Holiness made two practical suggestions about action steps moving forward. He suggested that a similar meeting take place in an Arab country, perhaps Jordan, for Muslims to talk about practical ways of making this happen. It is difficult, he explained, for the perspective of American Muslims to reach Muslims in other parts of the world where extremism is more of a daily reality. He also floated the idea of one day holding a demonstration in front of a major media organization to ask them to report positive events and not just negative ones, especially about Islam.

Neither his Holiness nor His Eminence addressed the recent attacks in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters. The Dalai Lama closed the event by contracting violence and truth. The power of violence, he explained is immediately clear and decisive. The power of truth, however, becomes more obvious as time passes.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the sponsor of the meeting.

TIME Religion

Pope Orders Bishops to Comply With Sex Abuse Commission

"Everything possible must be done to rid the Church of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors"

Pope Francis has ordered bishops worldwide to cooperate with a commission he set up to protect children from sexual abuse by clerics.

“Families need to know that the Church is making every effort to protect their children … priority must not be given to any other kind of concern, whatever its nature, such as the desire to avoid scandal, since there is absolutely no place in ministry for those who abuse minors,” he said in a letter to bishops and heads of religious institutions, according to Reuters.

Pope Francis met with victims of abuse last year. The new commission is made up of 17 people, clerics and citizens alike, who will work to prevent abuse and to help victims. Two members of the commission were themselves sexually assaulted by clergy.

“Everything possible must be done to rid the Church of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors and to open pathways of reconciliation and healing for those who were abused,” Pope Francis said in the letter.

The Pope is hosting his second Google hangout Thursday morning to talk to kids with special needs.


TIME Religion

Pope Francis Just Showed He’s Not Afraid to Part With the American Right

<> on February 4, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican.
Franco Origlia—Getty Images Pope Francis attends his weekly public audience at the Paul VI Hall on February 4, 2015 in Vatican City.

Christopher Hale is executive director at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and the co-founder of Millennial.

In naming Oscar Romero a martyr, he took a strong stand against those who would call the Salvadorean a communist

On Tuesday, Pope Francis declared that Salvadorean Archbishop Oscar Romero was martyred “in hatred of the faith” and not killed for simply political reasons. Francis’s decision came nearly 35 years after Romero was assassinated by a right-wing death squad while celebrating Mass on March 24, 1980. His announcement opens the door for Romero’s beatification, the final stop on the road to sainthood in the Catholic Church.

But the decision is not without controversy. Though the Vatican formally began the process to canonize Romero in 1997, it was blocked for years as Rome navigated a wider debate across the United States and global Catholic community about whether Romero was killed for defending the faith or for taking strong political stances against the Salvadorean government.

During his pastoral ministry in San Salvador, Romero preached strongly against the violence that the military government committed against its political enemies—particularly against the nation’s poor and excluded. In a passionate homily the Sunday before his death, Romero called on the military to end the violence:

No one has to obey an immoral law. It is high time you recovered your consciences and obeyed your consciences rather than a sinful order. The church, the defender of the rights of God, of the law of God, of human dignity, of the person, cannot remain silent before such an abomination … In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression.

Many fault Catholic prelates for getting too involved in politics. But it’s important to note that when the Church engages in politics, it isn’t to pursue a political end, but rather to defend the dignity and the well being of God’s people. So Francis’s decision to honor Romero confirms what so many Catholics know to be true: to defend the poor is to defend the faith. Francis himself has made this clear: “We have to state, without mincing words, that there is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor.”

Sadly, many within the Church and throughout society have tried to suggest that Romero’s consistent defense of the poor was somehow motivated by communist sentiments. Perhaps Romero could share the words of his contemporary, Brazilian Archbishop Hélder Câmara, who said, “When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.”

But as Vatican reporter Inés San Martín rightly notes, Romero “condemned capitalism [while] at the same time he was fighting communism. In his sermons, he cautioned against the dangers of atheistic, materialistic Marxism and chastised leftists for criticizing American imperialism while turning a blind eye to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.”

Many Americans are also uncomfortable that Romero stood up to a military government largely supported and subsidized by the United States. Romero himself took note of this situation and wrote to President Jimmy Carter, “The contribution of your government instead of promoting greater justice and peace in El Salvador will without doubt sharpen the injustice and repression against the organizations of the people which repeatedly have been struggling to gain respect for their most fundamental human rights.”

In light of Francis’s September trip to the United States, Romero’s beatification will likely only increase the discomfort of those Americans who presuppose that the pope and Catholic Church will rubber-stamp the current political and economic status quo of the United States, including potential 2016 presidential candidate Marco Rubio, who seemed dismayed at Francis’s latest intervention in American foreign diplomacy.

This is clearly a man (and a Church) who isn’t afraid to challenge the most powerful nation in the world. As is becoming more and more clear every day, Francis’s apostolic voyage across the Atlantic will be a chance for our nation to re-examine itself and its activities against the highest of moral standards.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to people of faith, however. After all, it was Jesus himself who told us that the nations will be judged at the end of time by a single criterion alone: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Religion

It’s Time to Stop Ignoring the New Wave of Anti-Semitism

Valery Hache—AFP/Getty Images Soldiers stand guard outside a Jewish Community Center where three soldiers, patrolling outside the center as part of the country's Vigipirate security measures, were attacked by a man with a bladed weapon, on Feb. 3, 2015 in Nice, France.

Rabbi Miller is a popular speaker and writer on technology and its effect on the Jewish world.

I won't be like the rabbis of the 1930s

I was shaken Tuesday after hearing about another attack in France. This time it occurred in the resort city of Nice rather than in Paris. A man with a knife attacked three French military personnel who were on an anti-terror patrol near a Jewish community center. While the attacker’s motive is not yet known, can I be blamed if I look at the recent rise in European anti-Semitism and wonder how far we are from another Holocaust?

At the end of last month, survivors of Auschwitz returned to those haunted killing grounds to mark the 70th anniversary of the death camp’s liberation, while a few weeks earlier Jewish people were murdered in a kosher grocery in Paris. And these violent attacks against Jewish people are not limited to Europe. We are seeing a significant rise in violence against Jewish people all over the globe. In a lengthy article published over the weekend in the Wall Street Journal by the Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks titled “The Return of Anti-Semitism,” he demonstrates that we’re witnessing precisely what we were warned about by our elders; namely, that the potential for a return to the horrors of the Holocaust is a real threat. For us Jews, as Rabbi Sacks eerily declared, “never again” has become “ever again.” The article is a jarring reminder of what will happen if this rampant anti-Semitism is allowed to fester.

My grandparents’ generation alerted us that without living out the mantra of “Zachor” (remember), we could face yet another Holocaust. Dozens of museums around the world, memorial services, art installations, books, classes, documentaries, personal video testimonials or Steven Spielberg movies will not protect the Jewish community from further atrocities. George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Our problem is not that we cannot remember the tragedies of the Holocaust; rather, the Jewish community hasn’t taken seriously the threats that can lead to its sequel. We tend to shrug off the latest anti-Semitism statistics from the Anti-Defamation League as just another well intentioned fundraising strategy. The threat is palpable and it’s here now.

Which brings me to an important question that has been weighing very heavily on my mind. What will my role be as a rabbi in the second decade of the 21st century as I am a bystander to the rise of anti-Semitism and acts of terror committed against my people throughout the world? From Paris to Argentina to Brussels to Mumbai and even to our nation’s capital, there have been tragic murders of Jewish people at the hands of vicious anti-Semites. Much of this anti-Semitic violence comes under the veil of anti-Zionism.

As a Jewish leader, I’m haunted by the inactions of a previous generation of leaders. American rabbis of the 1930s, with the exception of a noted few, kept quiet about the tragedy befalling their European brothers and sisters. It was much too late by the time a delegation led by Rabbi Stephen Wise approached FDR urging him to intervene and bomb the train tracks leading to Auschwitz-Birkenau. While Holocaust historian Lucy Dawidowicz’s claims of complete inaction by American Jewish leaders have been challenged, I still feel haunted wondering if the rabbis of the WWII generation could have done more. Could they have spoken out louder and assembled stronger to push the American government to intervene sooner?

I’m reminded of the biblical dubbing of Moses as leader of the Israelites. Commentators have noted that what convinced God that Moses was ready to assume the leadership was not his verbal acceptance at the Burning Bush. Rather it was that Moses sprung into action when he saw his own people as victims of oppression. He turned his head away from the bush and recognized the cruelty being inflicted on others. Real leaders act; they do not remain silent when they witness injustice.

Today, like many other Jewish community leaders, I’m armed with the tools of modern communication: a widely read blog and a Twitter account. I certainly have the capacity and amplification to voice my concerns about the threat of anti-Semitism, this time around emanating not from Nazism, but from Islamism. The rabbis of the 1930s did not have those powerful social media tools at their disposal when they heard the rumors of their people being sent to slaughter. I have no excuse not to speak out when I hear the cries coming from Paris or Argentina.

As Rabbi Sacks makes perfectly clear, the rise of anti-Semitism in the 21st century is not about anti-Israel sentiment. It is not a political dissent toward the building of Israeli neighborhoods in the Palestinian territories. It is not about corporations that do business with Israel. It is not about universities teaching Israeli history or culture courses. Plain and simple, 21st-century anti-Semitism is the continuation of the same Jewish hatred that has raised its ugly head for centuries. It is the same anti-Semitism that we saw 70 years ago in Europe as 6 million Jewish men, women and children were exterminated.

I for one will not stand idly by. The world must recognize that history repeats itself. What happened seven decades ago to our great-grandparents can happen again to our children and grandchildren. I’d like to believe that the moral men and women of our global society would never allow another Holocaust to occur, but the sentiment that causes it is being allowed to brew. Let the inaction of a previous generation of leaders serve as a stark reminder of our own responsibility to speak out against hatred of any kind and ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself. The future of my people depends upon it.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Photojournalism Links

The 10 Best Photo Essays of the Month

A compilation of the 10 most interesting photo essays published online in January, as curated by Mikko Takkunen

This month’s Photojournalism Links collection highlights 10 excellent photo essays from across the world spanning five continents, including Pete Muller‘s powerful work shot in the Ebola-ridden Sierra Leone. His two sets of photographs, featured below, were made on assignment for National Geographic, and are the first two in a four-part series examining the epidemic in West Africa. Muller’s pictures document the battle fought by medical workers, body collectors, and burial teams to bring the crisis ravaging Freetown and the country, under control. The story and images from the city’s King Tom cemetery are particularly harrowing; in just a few months, it has been expanded to three times its former size and the large number of fresh burial mounds make it look more like a construction site than a typical graveyard.

Pete Muller: How Ebola Found Fertile Ground in Sierra Leone’s Chaotic Capital | How the Fight Against Ebola Tested a Culture’s Traditions (National Geographic News)

Uriel Sinai: In Africa, Mosquito Nets Are Putting Fish at Risk (The New York Times) These stunning photographs by Uriel Sinai from Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia, show how mosquito nets meant for Malaria protection have ended up being widely used in fishing, since they are cheaper than actual fishing nets and can be even more effective, especially in shallow waters.

Andy Spyra: The enemy within: Boko Haram’s reign of terror across Northern Nigeria | The enemy within: A closer look at survivors of Boko Haram attacks across Northern Nigeria (The Washington Post In Sight) The German photographer has spent more than three years documenting the northern Nigeria. His pictures provide a rare view into communities under Boko Haram’s terror.

Mosa’ab Elshamy: Exploring the Mawlids of Egypt (TIME LightBox) These excellent photographs capture spiritual celebrations within Egyptian Sufism.

Manu Brabo: In Ukraine, The Frozen Tears of Donetsk (Paris Match L’Instant) The Spanish photographer, known for his work in Syria, is now in Ukraine to document the upsurge in fighting. | See also Brabo’s work on the MSNBC and Al Jazeera America websites

Lynn Johnson: Healing Soldiers (The National Geographic) Compelling portraits of U.S. soldiers treating their war traumas by participating in art therapy, where they create painted masks to express how they feel. The images painted on them symbolize themes such as death, physical pain, and patriotism.

George Steinmetz: Treading Water (The National Geographic) These pictures from Florida’s southeastern coastline capture a region with a lot to lose as sea levels continue to rise.

Álvaro Laiz: Ninjas: Gold Rush In Mongolia (Wired Raw File) These photographs document the hard and dangerous work of amateur gold miners.

Mark Abramson: An Immigrant’s Dream for a Better Life (The New York Times Lens) Extraordinary, in-depth photo essay that follows the life of a young Mexican immigrant woman and her family in California.

Emanuele Satolli: In the Bag for North (TIME LightBox) Revealing still life images of Central American migrants’ sparse belonging on their journey toward the United States.

TIME Religion

Liberal Zionism Isn’t Over, It’s Just More Pragmatic

Pundits continue to worry about the end of Liberal Zionism. But they’ve got it wrong.

Jews are accomplished worriers, for good historical reasons. If worrying were an Olympic event, Jewish medalists would be as disproportionate in number as we are among Nobel laureates. Much Jewish worry centers on Israel, the growing dangers it faces in the world’s most volatile region, its achievements and challenges, successes and failures, problems and prospects.

Some discern a worrisome crisis among “Liberal Zionists.” In a recent essay, “The End of Liberal Zionism,” Antony Lerman, a disaffected former Zionist, declared the “demise” of the Liberal Zionist “project.” Those who believe that liberalism and Zionism can be combined, that Israel can be both Jewish and democratic, that a two-state solution is possible, are benighted romantics, in Lerman’s view.

In a similar, but less apocalyptic vein, Jason Horowitz, a Washington-based New York Times correspondent, asks “Can Liberal Zionists Count on Hillary Clinton?” Horowitz separates Zionists into opposing camps. “Liberal Zionists” are reflective, thoughtful holders of nuanced views; they believe in a two-state solution, agonize about Israel’s perceived errors and, though they love the Jewish State, readily criticize it. To their left is an extremist Jewish anti-Zionist fringe. To the right is “a wealthy and influential sliver of more moderate Democratic Jews for whom Israel is a priority.” Then we have “right wing” Zionists, absolutists who do not agonize about Israel and are impervious to nuance, “unwavering” supporters of Likud, “unquestioning” supporters of Israel with a reflexive “Israel can do no wrong mentality.”

Can Liberal Zionists count on Hillary Clinton? Horowitz is unsure. Most, he says, will vote for her if she’s the Democratic presidential candidate, because they have nowhere else to go. But they will do so holding their noses, hoping that her private views differ from her public statements, which Horowitz characterizes as “firmly hawkish” and pro-Israel on Gaza and Israeli security, and devoid of empathy for Palestinians, views purportedly identical with those of the hard core right. In other words, “Liberal Zionists” hope that Clinton is a cynical, calculating, disingenuous, hypocritical opportunist who will show her true colors once in the oval office. Karl Rove could not have put it better.

I am a Zionist. I am also a political liberal, a lifelong Democrat, the Senior Rabbi of an historic Reform congregation once led by Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, and President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the world’s oldest and largest rabbinical body, the rabbinic leadership organization of Reform Judaism. Our 2,000 members hold a range of views on every subject, including Israel, but the CCAR’s Platform on Zionism, our official statement of policy, affirms that promoting Israel’s security and ensuring the welfare of its citizens are primary obligations.

Like many rabbis, I spoke about Israel on the high holy days. I discussed the implications of the recent conflict and called upon fellow Jewish liberals to recognize what Avi Shavit calls “The New Middle East,” which is “raising penetrating questions that must generate an upheaval in liberal thought.” I cited the 2003 essay by Ellen Willis, a leftist critic, “Is There Still a Jewish Question? Why I’m an Anti-Anti-Zionist,” which revealed that “accusations of blind loyalty to Israel [and] intolerance of debate…are routinely used to stifle discussion of how anti-Semitism influences the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the world’s reaction to it or the public conversation about it.”

I referred to the widely lauded article by Matti Friedman, former AP reporter and editor in Jerusalem, who declared, “Most reporters in Gaza believe their job is to document violence directed by Israel at Palestinian civilians. The story mandates that they exist as passive victims of [Israel].” And I shared the view of Professor Carlo Strenger, Israeli psychologist and self-proclaimed leftist: “[T]he time has come to stop mourning Israel’s idealized image…Israel is an impressive achievement in many ways, but it was never an ideal society…Israel certainly needs to mature, but so do we.”

I have a number of quibbles with Horowitz’s essay, but its greatest analytical flaw is treating Liberal Zionism as a monolith. Horowitz fails to distinguish between what are best called “Utopian Liberal Zionists” and “Pragmatic Liberal Zionists.” The former cling to an idealized image of a Jewish State that is inspiring, but not fully attainable. Utopians believe they know better than Israel itself what risks it must accept and seek to prescribe or have the U.S. impose on Israel the compromises they think it must make. Pragmatists cherish a lofty vision, but temper their hopes with realism, recognizing that human progress is not linear and unreasonable expectations are self-defeating. They respect Israel’s right, as a sovereign democracy, to make decisions that will determine the ultimate fate of the Jewish State and its citizens.

I am a Pragmatic Liberal Zionist. And I believe most American Jews are, too.

I believe in an Israel that is both Jewish and democratic. I support a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but I worry whether it is presently attainable, given Hamas’ fanaticism and Abbas’ weakness and indecision. I hold that Israel’s security is sacrosanct and that an agreement must be enforceable and truly end the conflict forever. I regard an ironclad strategic alliance between the U.S. and Israel as essential to the national security of both countries, the region, and the world. I am convinced that these are Hillary Clinton’s genuine convictions, too. Utopian Liberal Zionists may vote for her despite them. Many Pragmatic Liberal Zionists will support her because of them.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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