Kerry on Religion: ‘Not the Way I Think Most People Want to Live’


john-kerryDuring a talk to the U.S. embassy staff in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the first stop on his trip to Africa, Secretary of State John Kerry remarked about what he called the “different cross-currents of modernity” and the challenges they present on the African continent. The comments contain a veiled reference to religion, and the part that religion might be playing in some of the current conflicts in Africa:

This is a time here in Africa where there are a number of different cross-currents of modernity that are coming together to make things even more challenging. Some people believe that people ought to be able to only do what they say they ought to do, or to believe what they say they ought to believe, or live by their interpretation of something that was written down a thousand plus, two thousand years ago. That’s not the way I think most people want to live.

The words “something that was written down a thousand plus, two thousand years ago” appear to refer to the Bible, or the Koran, or perhaps both. More than one conflict in Africa today has either implicit or explicit religious connections:

The press office of the State Department declined to parse Kerry’s remarks, instead referring questions to the traveling party accompanying the secretary on his Africa trip. An attempt to contact State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, who was with Kerry in Africa, to clarify the remarks has so far been unsuccessful.

The Weekly Standard

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  1. He was saying most people don’t want to have someone else’s interpretation of the Bible or Koran forced on them by the government. Which is true. I for one certainly don’t.

  2. He was clearly saying what No.1. above said. Stop skewering his words and making headlines out of it. The fact that he’s not good for Israel is a different issue.

  3. Kerry is a Roman Catholic who attends church regularly in Boston. Like Judaism, the Catholic Church interprets its Bible in accordance with thousands of years of tradition, which is often non-literal, as is our Rabbinic tradition. While we don’t agree with his Catholic theology, his attitude is certainly one with which all Jews should agree.