The trouble with “Judeo-Christian morality” is that it is meant to be the counterpart/opponent of secular morality, but on every issue that divides Christians from atheists, Jews overwhelmingly side with the latter. A 2012 poll found that 93% of American Jews supported legalized abortion in most cases, 80% supported gay marriage, and they are more favorably disposed to Muslims than to conservative Christians. Thus, it is a pretty valid generalization that Jews support Leftism, especially in its most immoral and anti-Christian aspects. To claim that our side is “Judeo-Christian” is to employ a dishonest marketing ploy, a despised minority (Christians) attempting to get credibility for its beliefs by associating it with a revered minority (Jews) who in fact despise those beliefs. In fact, most Jews find claims that they have some deep commonality with Christianity deeply insulting. Given their opinions of us, our civilization, and our sexual mores, this is understandable, and I don’t understand why my philosemitic brethren insist on needlessly antagonizing the Jewish people with such claims.
Of course, being a mere Christian, I realize I am unworthy to comment on my Church’s relationship with our exalted Elder Brothers. Fortunately, an actual Jew has laid it out at length and clarity, so that even readers with the thickest goyeshe kop will get the message. (My thanks to Steve Sailer and his always excellent blog for pointing this out.)
Klinghoffer should read Arthur Allen Cohen’s The Myth of the Judeo-Christian Tradition (Harper & Row, 1969), which questions the appropriateness of the term, theologically and historically, suggesting instead that it is an invention of American politics.
Cohen thinks that there is simply no such thing as Judeo-Christian tradition. He points to the fact that the two religions have had separate theological agendas for the last two thousand years.
Or, if Klinghoffer prefers a gentile’s opinion:
The label “Judeo-Christian” tends to assume, at the expense of Judaism, that Christians and Jews believe essentially the same things. Besides glossing over the very real and important theological and liturgical differences, it tends to subsume Jewish traditions within an umbrella that is dominated by Christian ideas and practices. (Religion and the Workplace: Pluralism, Spirituality, Leadership, by Douglas A. Hicks; Cambridge University Press, 2003)
Let’s be clear: Far from “sharing” one tradition, Orthodox Jews are prohibited from marrying Christians, setting foot inside a Christian church—and we can’t even drink from an open bottle of kosher wine that has been used by a Christian. We reject the Christian idea of salvation, we abhor Christian divine teachings on every subject, and we are repulsed and outraged by incessant attempts by Christian missionaries to bring us into their fold.
It is particularly disturbing when Klinghoffer makes statements which reveal his complete assumption of elements of New Testament Pauline ideology, for instance, the requirement that wives submit to their husband’s authority. There is no mandate on precisely how a woman should behave with her husband—Jews expect the happy couple to work it out for themselves. Also, while divorce may be a tragedy, and God cries, it is in no way banned—in Judaism, that is. The story in Christianity, and Klinghoffer’s “Judeo-Christian Biblical America,” is different.
Incidentally, we have more in common with Muslims than we do with Christians; Jewish law permits Jews to enter a mosque… but not a church.
To insist that we have some kind of bond with religious Christians because of similar core values, is to propagate a terrible lie…
Jews and Christians differ on every single fundamental principle—even on the meaning of core Scriptural texts. More crucially, Christians rely on the Old Testament for legal delineation; whereas Jews rely solely upon our rabbinic tradition. We never, ever turn to our Bible for legal guidance, only to our rabbinic literature. To suggest that our Sages had anything at all in common with the likes of Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Carter or Pat Robertson is a slap in the face of 2500 years of scholarship.
“Judeo-Christian” is as valid a concept as happy-joylessness, or tall dwarves. Klinghoffer’s yearnings for this repugnant “ideal” is a deviant phenomenon without a trace of commonality in traditional Jewish thought, ancient or modern.
I have deep respect for religious leaders active in the interfaith arena, who seek to communicate and cooperate with Christians on political and social issues. But I resent Klinghoffer’s attempt to erect an ideological partnership between Christianity and its blameless victims.
There you have it.
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