A group of reputed Jewish leaders met in New York last week to devise a strategy to deal with what kosher Chicken Littles like the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman see as the emerging threat of the Religious Right.
If Christian conservatives are the menace Foxman and Friends believe, the problem is much worse than they imagine.
According to a late November FOX News poll, most Americans are what Foxman and Reform Jewish leader Eric Yoffie would call a clear and present danger to democracy and pluralism.
59 percent of Americans think Christianity is under attack here;
81 percent disagree with the statement that religion should be “excluded from public life”;
93 percent want “in God we trust” to remain on our currency and coinage;
90 percent are for keeping “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Alliance;
76 percent say public display of the Ten Commandments should be legal;
82 percent favor voluntary school prayer; and
77 percent believe “the courts have gone too far in taking religion out of public life.”
As for opposition to same-sex marriage, which Rabbi Yoffie considers the hallmark of irrationality and bigotry, more than two dozen states have passed constitutional amendments defining marriage a la Genesis, and always by lopsided margins. These amendments have passed everywhere they’ve appeared on the ballot – including in such un-Bible Belt states as Oregon and Ohio.
Prior to his December 5th meeting, Foxman said the ADL needed “to come together with other Jewish organizations…and to find allies beyond our community.” And find them they will – in the Democratic National Committee, the ACLU, People for the American Way, and MoveOn.org, but hardly anywhere else.
If the FOX polling is accurate, there are few Americans who share Foxman’s perspective. He has met the dreaded Christianizers, and they are…Middle America.
Foxman launched his latest crusade in a November 3rd speech to the ADL leadership, wherein he warned: “We face a better-financed, more sophisticated, coordinated, unified, energized and organized coalition of groups in opposition to our policy positions on church-state separation than ever before. Their goal is to implement their Christian worldview. To Christianize America. To save us.”
Holy Torquemada! Is the auto-da-fe about to make a comeback? Apparently, Foxman does expect the Spanish Inquisition – but one run by evangelicals, who will make us all sit in the comfy chair and view the Ten Commandment monument while listening to the Regent University choir sing “Silent Night.”
In a November 25th Wall Street Journal article (“Biting the Hand: Why is the ADL going after evangelical Christians?”), David Brog, former chief of staff to Senator Arlen Specter, comments: “Just because Christian activists are motivated by their Christian faith does not mean that they are seeking to ‘Christianize” America…Christian churches have been the driving force behind some of the most important social movements in America, from the abolition of slavery to the civil-rights movement.”
Still, the “Christianizing” drumbeat continues. Rabbi Yoffie has the distinction of making Foxman look rational by comparison.
In a November 19th speech in Houston, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism declared: “We understand those who believe that the Bible opposes gay marriage, even though we read that text in a very different way.” However, “We can not forget that when Hitler came to power in 1933, one of the first things he did was ban gay organizations.” And one of the second things he did was ban Communist organizations. So what?
How the Left loves to play the you’re-just-like-the-Nazis game. Yoffie may be unaware of the fact that Ernst Rohm and the leadership of the storm troopers were homosexuals, as was Nazi Party Secretary Rudolf Hess. In his book The Hidden Hitler, German historian Lothar Machtan offers convincing evidence that the fuhrer himself was a closet gay.
Most of the Jews murdered by the Nazis were Orthodox from Eastern Europe. Being Torah-observant, they were more likely to share Dr. Dobson’s perspective on homosexuality than Yoffie’s. There aren’t different ways to read the Bible’s prohibition on homosexual acts. The problem is that while conservative Christians take Jewish scriptures seriously, modernist Jews like Yoffie interpret it metaphorically. “Rabbi” Yoffie reads the Torah the way Justice David Souter reads the Constitution.
And that’s the bottom line: Christians like Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and Jerry Falwell embrace Jewish values. Jews like Foxman and Yofie spurn them.
What Foxman calls a campaign to Christianize America is actually an effort to return Judeo-Christian morality – the Biblical code on which this nation was founded and through which it grew to greatness – to the councils of government. The ethical code conservative Christians are fighting for comes from a Jewish book that’s topped the best-sellers’ list since Sinai.
According to The Jewish Week, at the Foxman-Yoffie summit, the way Christians mobilized to save Terri Schiavo was seen as another ominous portent.
But when exactly did starving to death a brain-damaged woman become a Jewish value? Eric Yoffie, that student of history, may recall that one of the other first-things the Nazis did on assuming power was to murder the severely disabled and mentally ill through euthanasia.
A deep reverence for human life is authentically Jewish – particularly in light of the wanton destruction of Jewish life, from the Pharaoh in the Exodus, to the Holocaust, to jihadist suicide-bombers.
The Talmud tells us that whoever saves a human life saves the entire world. But Foxman and Yoffie view the efforts of religious conservatives to place limits on abortion and stop medical murder as fateful steps on the road to “Christian America.”
Was America a theocracy prior to 1962, when we had prayer (and in some cases Bible reading) in the schools, abortion was illegal, Nativity scenes were displayed in parks, and the idea of the state sanctioning homosexual “marriage” was too funny for words?
What Christian conservatives seek is a return to the moral status quo of 40 years ago. I was alive in America then, and don’t recall forced-baptisms, inquisitions, or a state church.
I do recall that this blessed land – which took in my immigrant, Jewish grandparents – was founded by Christians on a Christian worldview.
As I recall, it was young Christians (some only teenagers) who went to Europe in 1944-45, liberated the death camps, and plunged a bayonet into the evil heart of Hitlerism, thus saving world Jewry from the ovens.
I also recollect that it was a Christian, from the Bible-belt no less – Harry S. Truman – whose diplomatic support at a crucial time helped create the state of Israel.
And, today, those evangelicals Foxman calls Christianizers are the backbone of American support for the Jewish state. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein is the founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Last year, his group raised almost $45 million to help Israel, almost all of it from evangelical Christians. In a 2002 IFCJ poll, “conservative, church-going Christians” had the highest level of support for the Jewish state (62 percent) among non-Jewish religious groups.
My grandparents pondered the question often asked during 2,000 years of exile: Is it good for the Jews? Apparently, Foxman and Yoffie believe that a secular America, severed from 3,300 years of Judo-Christian tradition, is just ducky for the Jewish people.
Charges of “Christianizing” are red herrings. Foxman’s real issue with Christian conservatives is his opposition to their moral/political agenda. The ADL is a leftist group masquerading as a Jewish group. (The same could be said of much of Yoffie’s Reform movement.)
If they have a problem with Christian America, they should try a Muslim America.
Nature abhors a vacuum. Europe is decades ahead of us in the business of secularization. The proposed constitution for the European Union can’t even acknowledge the religious roots of what used to be called Christendom.
Europeans stopped going to church. Then they stopped having children, having lost the spiritual impetus for procreation.
Demographic winter set in. Then the Muslims moved in. They’re the ones having large families, supported by Europe’s very generous welfare benefits. It’s said there are now more mosques than churches in southern France.
A glimpse of Europe’s future may be seen in the recent Muslim riots around Paris. Besides burning cars, the rioters firebombed churches and synagogues.
For the past five years, Europe has experienced a wave of anti-Semitism not seen since the Second World War. It’s not evangelicals beating Jews in the streets of Paris, attacking Jewish day schools and kosher restaurants, and vandalizing Jewish cemeteries. (Christian conservatives like Gary Bauer are among the loudest voices speaking out against Kristallnacht, Part II.)
Twenty years ago, Joshua O. Haberman, a reform rabbi, wrote an article entitled, “The Bible Belt Is America’s Safety Belt.” It’s what keeps us from careening into a moral abyss of death-on-demand, sex divorced from values, a Roman orgy and demolition derby passing as entertainment, drugs used to fill lives devoid of meaning, and a generation of strutting savages in Calvin Kleins.
While Foxman is busy looking for allies outside of what he calls our “community” (by which, I assume, he means those who read The New York Times religiously and support Public Television), America is caught in a pincer move – the moral decadence of the Left on one hand, and militant Islam on the other.
But, not to worry, Foxman and Yoffie know where the threat to America (and American Jews) lies, and are here to fight the Judeo-Christianizers.
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