Rabbi's Refreshing Frankness: Raising Kids in Two Religions "Insane"

What the Today show probably intended as an ecumenical, warm-'n-fuzzy holiday segment just veered wildly off course when a rabbi spoke some unvarnished truth.

The topic was "December Dilemma: Interfaith Holidays," and dealt with the issue of celebrating the holidays in families with children where the parents are of different religions.

Footage was played of a family with a Jewish wife, a Christian husband and a couple of very cute daughters. They were predictably shown admiring both a Chanukah menorah and a Christmas tree.

Back in the studio, David Gregory interviewed "The God Squad" - Rabbi Marc Gellman and Monsignor Thomas Hartman - who for years have made joint appearances to discuss religious matters.

When Gregory asked the rabbi if there was anything wrong with bringing the children of mixed marriages up in some kind of combo religion, I had the feeling he was anticipating [as was I], a PC response. Instead, he got a shot of candor right between the eyes:

"[Kids] have to know how to answer when asked [as to their religion]'what are you?' If they answer 'both,' that's answering that Jesus is and isn't the Messiah, that Christmas is and isn't the birth of the Savior. That's insane. That's crazy. And it shouldn't be put on a child to have to make those kinds of decisions."

Bravo, Rabbi!

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.