I can tell them that I was in the middle of my usual morning routine, drinking coffee while reading a book to wake up. My phone buzzed with a text from my husband about remembering to drive him to Honda to pick up the car after having fog lights installed. And since I lack self-control, after answering that text, I meandered on to my Facebook app.
My newsfeed was an explosion of pictures: rainbow flags, couples crying, banners of joy…along with public lament for America once again testing God’s patience. The positive posts were more or less the same: “About time, America!” “Freedom for all!” “#LoveWins!” But among them were links to articles by popular (and in my opinion, misguided) conservative bloggers who truly believe this is the beginning of the end of modern society; that the fires of persecution will heat back up again, just as they did in ancient Rome.
I will tell my children that I remember thinking, Excuse me? Ancient Rome?!
Most poignantly, I will tell my hypothetical children how, in that moment, the only fire I felt was something like Jewish vindication. Holocaust education is now an essential aspect of Jewish learning. The point is to never forget, and frankly, some US citizens could use a reminder. Any rational person should agree that systematic murder and ethnic cleansing is the prime definition of real persecution. The American Supreme Court is no Nazi regime. The Constitution was written to prevent the people being ruled under an iron thumb.
I will tell my children that I feared what my attitude about this ruling would be if I were raised evangelical instead. It was Judaism that saved me – saved me from buying into the harmful persecution myth that is so prevalent among the privileged, for reasons I will never understand.
I will tell my kids that a legacy of discrimination, expulsion, and attempts at extinction are not to be envied, mocked, or discussed lightly. When it is your God’s name printed on currency, your holy book’s verses posted outside of courthouses, and your holidays assumed to be practiced by the majority of your country, you are not at risk of persecution – not now, anyway. And God forbid there is ever a holocaust to wipe out Christians in the United States, many will regret ever discussing it using extreme hyperbole. Many will regret ever using that threat as a means to advance their political agendas.
I will tell my children that I was once again grateful for my upbringing, and my ancestors who passed Judaism along to me, on the day that gay marriage was nationally legalized.
It was Judaism that kept my head on straight and forbid me to look for conspiracies that are as real as the boogeyman under a child’s bed.