Dr. David Samadi, a contributor to the far-right media outlet Newsmax, is the latest conservative to criticize state governments for taking necessary precautions to slow the spread of COVID:
Our churches must reopen. We need to pray at this time of the year. It is the holiest time in the Judeo-Christian calendar.
If we can have Walmart, Cotsco, liquor stores, strip clubs and supermarkets we can have churches.
— Dr. David Samadi, MD (@drdavidsamadi) November 29, 2020
There’s nothing inherently unique about this tweet, compared to others we’ve seen from Republicans who refuse to acknowledge the coronavirus as the threat it actually is. Retail stores and grocery stores are not like churches. You’re not speaking to other people, singing in close proximity, or staying for very long. (Like bars, any strip clubs that are open are subject to similar restrictions and low attendance limits.)
But let’s call attention to Samadi’s use of the term “Judeo-Christian calendar.”
It’s telling how he went to the extra trouble to add those unnecessary words and letters. True, there are other non-Christian holidays that take place in December. But the “Judeo” one — referring to Hanukkah — isn’t one in which Jews flock to synagogue dressed in their finest. That happened early in the fall, during the High Holy Days.
In other words, Samadi is pretending that this is the holiest time for everyone. It’s not. It’s holy for him. He’s speaking for himself and other Christians. No need to drag Jews into his irresponsible tweet.
Samadi is hardly the only conservative Christian to show this level of ignorance about Jewish holidays. Because Hanukkah is the most popular, people tend to assume it’s one of the most important, but Jews wouldn’t even rank it in their top five. (It’s likely that many people wouldn’t even know about Hanukkah if not for its proximity to Christmas.)
Since Samadi obviously isn’t reading up on COVID precautions, maybe he can take a minute or two to read up on Judaism.