Echoes of the Exodus

On this week’s Interfaith Voices, Rabbi Capers C. Funnye (one of the few black rabbis in the United States) and Diann Neu, a co-director of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), reflect on the role of the Exodus motif in freedom struggles through the ages. These include the journeys of African Americans, women and people in the Middle East today.

It is worth noting, as we watch what some have dubbed the “Arab spring,” that the Exodus story is found in the Qur’an as well as the Jewish Torah and the Christian Old Testament. Moses is, in fact, a revered figure in Islam.

My guests named the “pharaohs” and “plagues” of the present time, from war and violence to sexism in religious institutions to a lack of immigration reform to rampant Islamophobia. At one point, Neu said, “And this is how we respond” and she burst into song with ‘We Shall Overcome.’

Moses and Miriam would have loved it.

When I asked if my guests saw any “Moses” or “Miriam” figures on the horizon today, Diann said simply, “they are us.” We need to be the liberators of our time.

But then, following the lead interview, I have an interview with a contemporary Exodus figure: Rev. Roy Bourgeois.

At one point, I asked Bourgeois what effect his likely ouster from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers (because of his support for women priests) would have on his financial circumstances. He replied that he had not talked to his Maryknoll superiors about finances. But, he said, “even if I wind up living under a bridge, it will be worth it. I will be free!”

Now, that’s an Exodus story!

Here is the link to this week’s show.


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