Terrified of the Goyim
by Jonathan Rosenblum
October 25, 2004
The October 13 JTA carried three items that reveal a great deal about the state of American Jewry. The first concerns a new cartoon posted on the website of the National Jewish Democratic Council. It features a character named "Bubbie," who pounds various Republican luminaries into unconsciousness with her handbag. In one scene, Bush advisor Karl Rove is seen addressing a group of Republican faithful, all dressed in red cassocks (suggestive of the white robes worn at Ku Klux Klan meetings) from a pulpit adorned with a crucifix.
One wonders about the wisdom of Jews, who constitute 2% (and shrinking) of the American population, expressing their contempt for Christians, even devout ones, by portraying them as dangerous religious fanatics.
The cartoon, however, nicely captures the horror many American Jews feel towards Christians, particularly evangelical Christians. Ninety-five per cent of evangelicals, incidentally, say that support for Israel is the most important issue for them in the upcoming presidential election (the second JTA item), as opposed to only 15% of American Jews who list Israel as among their top three concerns. (American Jews have fewer problems with the Presbyterians, who, like them, have reduced religion to "good deeds" such as boycotting Israel.)
Eli Valley, the author of a recent Jerusalem Post piece, who works for Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, warns that President Bush’s evangelical supporters are bent on "converting the Jews and ending the Jewish religion." Given the phenomenal success of American Jews themselves in ending the Jewish religion through intermarriage and assimilation it is unclear why the evangelicals should cause shudders.
The horror of evangelicals easily morphs into contempt for religion altogether, and Christian-phobia into God-phobia. The most frightening thing about George W. Bush, in Valley’s view, is that "he has made no secret of his religious devotion." Religious people are portrayed as incapable of rational thought, and Bush’s "faith-based-reasoning" contrasted to Kerry’s "fact-based" approach. For good measure, Valley implies, that Bush may actually court nuclear disaster out of a longing for Apocalypse. (Shades of Matti Golan’s "Atom.")
Cameron Kerry, a Reform convert, recently tried to sell his brother’s candidacy to a group of Orthodox Jews on the grounds that his brother would never appoint an Attorney-General who begins his work day with prayer like John Ashcroft. That line had no doubt proven a sure winner with secular Jewish groups. How was the hapless Kerry to know that Orthodox Jews begin and end their day the same way.
Out of fear of aiding and abetting religion, major American Jewish groups, including the Reform movement, consistently adopt the most extreme positions on separation of state and religion. Noted constitutional scholar Nathan Lewin has quipped that the only Wall at which American Jewry worships is the wall of separation between state and religion. As an example (JTA item 3), the Reform movement recently advised its congregations against accepting any Homeland Security funds for guarding their temples and schools from terrorist attack, despite the obvious appeal of Jewish institutions for Islamic terrorists.
The consequence of this disdain and scoffing at people of religious faith and the determination to keep any taint of religion out of the public square is to convince Jewish kids that belief in G-d – and certainly the view that any consequences might flow from that belief – is simply not intellectually serious. And it is that attitude that has brought American Jewry to the edge of extinction.
Related Topics: American Jewry & Continuity
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