Shmuley Boteach is an American Orthodox rabbi, radio and television host, and author. He rose to prominence with the publication of his international bestseller Kosher Sex. He received his rabbinic ordination in 1988 from the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement in New York City, as a disciple of its leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. He frequently appears as a guest on television and radio discussing politics, religion, society and morality. He also now hosts a reality television program entitled Shalom in the Home which involves facilitating conflicts between family members. He has authored many books since Kosher Sex, the latest of which is The Broken American Male.
Question: What is the sate of religion today?
Shmuley Boteach: Well religion, I think, is in crisis. Not that that’s anything . . . I mean religion is probably always been in a crisis. But the crisis comes from the fact that we see extremes in religion. We don’t see that good, healthy balance where religion is nurturing. We either see extremes of terrorism and murder in the name of God. Or we see in the United States, where thank God this is a very religious country, but we see religion being politicized. I would . . . I believe that religion is unifying; that religion is supposed to bring man and God closer together, and man and his fellow man closer together ‘cause we’re all equally God’s children. I’m not sure that we’re there yet. I think religion remains divisive. That doesn’t mean religion isn’t profoundly helpful and virtuous, and so many people lead beautiful lives because they’re religious. There are so many people who are more devoted fathers, parents; they’re more charitable; they adopt orphans; they feed the hungry because of their spiritual beliefs. But they also can sometimes use their spiritual beliefs to define an outsider – you know, who’s not part of our faith; who is not going to heaven the way I am. Or those darn gays who are destroying our society.
Recorded on: 09/05/2007