September 10, 2004

IT'S NOT A DONKEY, IT'S A GOLDEN CALF:

Bush has opportunity to unite two groups (Ken Kurson, September 10, 2004, Newsday)

This year, President George W. Bush can do something that no other Republican candidate has had the opportunity to do in a long time. He may be able to bridge two historically divergent groups: American Jews and American evangelical Christians.

In the past, American Jews and American evangelists have not enjoyed a cozy relationship. Jews tend to have liberal social beliefs, being uncomfortable with restrictions on abortion and stem-cell research, for example, and have rewarded Democrats by robotically pulling the lever for them at election time.

But concerns among those who are uneasy with picayune details such as the president's alleged shrinking of the church-state wall should understand that wall doesn't mean anything when a synagogue is on fire. The evangelical Christians around the president should not only cease being a source of discomfort to American Jews, they should be embraced - they are the best friends Israel ever had.

Take, for example, well- known and outspoken supporters of Israel, such as Pat Robertson on the national level and, locally, the Rev. A.R. Bernard. Bernard, pastor of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, speaks of his belief that "Israel is not just necessary to the return of Christ, it is essential to it."

More and more, evangelical Christians are adopting a tone of inclusion and gratitude toward Jews. Many Christian leaders not only give thanks to Jews for the Holy Scriptures - for receiving, protecting, preserving and carrying forth the word of God - but they routinely pray for the well- being of the Jewish people and Israel.

In contrast, Democrats are catastrophically weak on their support of Israel.


It's always so peculiar to read that Jews vote Democratic because the GOP's social beliefs are too Old Testament.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 10, 2004 8:30 PM
Comments

Bernard, pastor of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, speaks of his belief that "Israel is not just necessary to the return of Christ, it is essential to it."

I'm sure the Rev. Bernard is a fine human being but I'd be lying if I told you this doesn't make my skin crawl.

Posted by: Eugene S. at September 10, 2004 8:44 PM

Eugene:

If He does return presumably everyone will be impressed enough not to deny Him again, no? :)

Posted by: oj at September 10, 2004 8:50 PM

Considering the circumstances in which He's said to be coming back, I imagine that denying Him will be the least of their problems.

Posted by: Joe at September 10, 2004 10:06 PM

I thought Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was supposed to make all the Christians start persecuting the Jews.

Posted by: MB at September 10, 2004 10:16 PM

The objection of Jews is not to GOP social beliefs, but to the willingness of the GOP to use government to impose those on others. There are currently 5 European nations which have illegalized kosher slaughtering and it is to import kosher meat into Switzerland. Norway bars people from wearing a yarmulke in its Parliament building and is considering a law to illegalize male circumcision.

Posted by: Bart at September 11, 2004 7:41 AM

Bart:

Would that were true, but it's simply not. Most American Jews don't believe in Judeo-Christian morality anymore and are anti-Christian, or at least anti-evangelical.

Posted by: oj at September 11, 2004 7:59 AM

OJ,

If you were to look at the statistics concerning abortion, divorce, illegitimacy, violent crime, etc among Jews, you would think that we were Mormons. Jews do not need government to dictate to them about private morality. Jews are also capable of distinguishing between reality and the fiction that appears on movie and TV screens, and don't take their behavior patterns from them.

The debate is entirely about the role of government in imposing a sectarian agenda. This has worked to the detriment of Jews for the last two millenia. Separation of religion and state has worked well for us, as it has for pretty much every other American.

It is no more anti-Christian than eating a pork chop makes one anti-Jewish, or drinking a beer makes one anti-Muslim. That is a calumny worthy of an Ayatollah.

Posted by: Bart at September 11, 2004 9:05 AM

Bart:

There is no such thing as separation of church and state except when imposed by courts. Jews are a wealthy cohort with fewer pathologies than poorer groups, for whom they support modern evils like abortion. There are 40 million dead thanks to such amorality. And Jewish anti-Christianism is real whether you like to think about it or not.

Posted by: oj at September 11, 2004 11:09 AM

OJ,

Where to begin?

That whole 'there shall be no religious test for office' thingy just blew by you, eh?

Abortion is a serious matter and it is outrageous in a nation where the mainline Protestant denominations support its legality, that you blame Jews for it. We don't have fewer pathologies, we have different ones. For one thing we aren't sex-obsessed. Porn isn't sinful nor is it art, it is a business.

You are going to have to explain your neologism 'Anti-Christianism.' It makes no sense. How can taking the same positions on social matters as the United Church of Christ be anti-Christian? It can be immoral, it can be stupid, it can be wrongful. But anti-Christian?

Are you referring to nonsense like opposition to Bible readings and prayer in schools and public places? If so, I would say that the position of the ADL is an intolerant and stupid one. I live in a country that is 95%+ Christian and don't live in fear that the Black Hundreds are on the horizon. In addition, I think the culture of that 95% is entitled to respect and that a few cultural manifestations of common Christian heritage in the public square is not such a bad thing. If it floats your boat, fine.

What do you mean?

Posted by: Bart at September 11, 2004 11:49 AM

As you say, other than religious tests--and no Establishment by the feds--there is no separation in the Constitution. The argument then that the law should not impose Judeo-Christian morality is nonsensical.

Posted by: oj at September 11, 2004 12:03 PM

Again, you have to define your terms. What is 'Judeo-Christian morality?' I dare say that a Mormon, an Episcopalian and a Hasid would have dramatically different ones.

Has the pendulum swung unfairly and too far against Christianity in the public square? Probably. The purpose of the language was to keep us from having established churches and all that entanglement that has served to strangle real faith all over the Western World. It was intended to prevent the kind of dopey wars of religion that rent Europe for centuries and were in living memory for Englishmen(the '14 and the '45). It was certainly not intended to force Americans to throw their KJV Bibles away when they went to school or into public service, and it was not meant to prevent Christians from manifesting their faith in the public square.

Posted by: Bart at September 11, 2004 12:15 PM

Bart:

No it wasn't. It established established churches. It meant to keepo the national government from interfering with them.

Posted by: oj at September 11, 2004 12:20 PM

An established church is one that gets government bucks like the Church of England in England, or the Lutheran, Catholic, Reformed Protestant denominations in Germany today. Very often the head of the established church was the head of state, as in Tsarist Russia or Ottoman Turkey.

Of course, the FFs intended for Americans to form religious denominations. A bunch of them were clergy.

Posted by: Bart at September 11, 2004 12:32 PM

Yes, several early states had established churches which the constitution protected from Federal interference.

Posted by: oj at September 11, 2004 12:40 PM

Why would there be anything sectarian about support for fetal rights?

On the other hand, we'll believe that American Protestants are serious about following the Only Testament when you convert to Judaism.

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at September 12, 2004 2:25 AM
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