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Tuesday, May 4, 2004
In Defense of Kerry

By Steven Taylor @ 3:09 pm

Hugh Hewitt notes the following:

John Kerry, speaking today at an Anti-Defamation League event:
“For all of its history, ADL has been self-asked to live up to one of the oldest most fundamental principles of civilization. It is actually one of the Commandments as we know: ‘Love your neighbor.’ And all of you are yourselves showing courage, because it can be bitter, it is tough. Bigotry, hatred, fear, drive people to do things that are inexplicable, and it is hard in any community to stand up against that, but it is vital.”
John Kerry -connecting again with yet another audience. ADL is a largely Jewish organization, which is not likely to recognize John Kerry’s “commandment” as one of the big 10.

Now, to be fair, while the admonition to “love your neighbor as yourself” is associated primarily in the US with Jesus, it is an Old Testament commandment, although not one of the “Ten” (you know, the one’s made famous first by Moses, and later by Roy Moore).

Jesus discusses the two “greatest commandments” in Matthew 23:34-40, in response to the question, posed by the Pharisees, as to which was the greatest commandment.

Jesus quotes the Old Testament, including the greatest commandment, in Deuteronomy 6:5, which refers to loving God, and to Leviticus 19:18:

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.

It is hard to get more jewish than Leviticus. It is certainly a command from God to the Jews.

Now, it may well be that Kerry thought he was referencing the Ten, but it is also possible that he knew what he was doing. In short: of the many criticisms one can level at Kerry, this one won’t fly.

Hat tip: Ipse Dixit.

UPDATE: This is my entry in today’s Beltway Traffic Jam

Filed under: 2004 Campaign
  • Brain Shavings linked with Rev. Kerry's Commandments
  • Brain Shavings linked with Rev. Kerry's Commandments

Click here to go to the main page.


  1. Kerry said, “It is actually one of the Commandments as we know: ‘Love your neighbor.’” We don’t know if it was capitalized in his text, but the phraseology seems to imply he meant “one of the [Ten] Commandments.”

    Leviticus 19:18, Leviticus 19:34, Matthew 19:16, Matthew 22:35, Mark 12:28, Luke 10:25, Romans 13:8, Galatians 5:14, Ephesians 5:25, and James 2:8 all refer it as the pinnacle or crux of “the law.” Only with Jesus does “Love Thy Neighbour” get refered to in terms of it being a “commandment.” Leviticus doesn’t use that word.

    I suppose one could credit him some artistic license here, but I still say that if Bush had said the same, Weisberg would post it as a “Bushism” within days.

    Comment by Dodd — Tuesday, May 4, 2004 @ 3:16 pm

  2. That may well be true (the Bushisms issue). I just figure that there is plenty to criticize Kerry for, and this one deserves a reasonable pass.

    I wanted to find the original text of the speech, but couldn’t. The capitalization issue is of question, to be sure.

    It is possible, that as a Catholic, Kerry is at least aware of Christ calling this a “commandment” and that it is an Old Testament admonishment.

    I also agree that it is possible that Kerry, or his speechwriter, has revealed their religious ignorance.

    Comment by Steven — Tuesday, May 4, 2004 @ 3:25 pm

  3. In simple terms: since the scripture in question is from the Old Testament, it isn’t a gaffe to say that the ADL are charged to live up to it. And it is certainly a command.

    Comment by Steven — Tuesday, May 4, 2004 @ 3:30 pm

  4. Think simple. Learn different.

    Comment by Margaret — Monday, July 5, 2004 @ 5:19 pm

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