Are You a Hyphenated Christian?
It is not my intention to disparage or in any way offend the followers of any other religion mentioned in this article. All I am trying to do is to stand up and expose the attacks on Christianity while at the same time reaffirm the indispensable role that Christianity played in the evolution of western democracy.
That Christians are under attack right here in America is no mystery. What is less evident is that the attacks come not just from the ACLU and similar far left snakes but also from certain neo-cons on talk radio and even some on Fox News.
I am sure that by now you’ve all heard that because of an ACLU suit against the Santa Rosa County School District, and the subsequent terms of the settlement, Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman are both facing jail time. They stand accused of committing a prayer on the premises of the school.
Under the terms of the same settlement, the ACLU also prevented the senior class President and student body President from speaking to their fellow graduates during the graduation ceremony. President Mary Allen is known to her Pace High School community to be a Christian. Because of that she was therefore denied her opportunity to speak in fear that she might say something, well, Christian!
The outrage form the Christians on this issue is palpable, but what is deafening is the silence form the other major religions. Is it at all possible to understate the danger that this poses to our country? Is it at all possible to understate the danger that this poses to Jews? The answer to both questions is a resounding NO! Expounding on the clear and present danger that this presents to all other religions is the subject for another post, God willing, but let’s remember Pastor Martin Niemöller’s poem (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German elites and intellectuals as the Nazis rose to power and then purged their chosen targets, group after group. This short incredible poem shatters forever the illusion that getting in bed with the devil wil keep you warm and safe
“First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.”
That should be a clarion call to all Christians and I am sure that it will be, but as I said that is a topic for a different post.
Believing that this latest outrage is but the opportunistic skin rash that betrays a weakened immune system, this post is the first in what I hope to be a long series of articles that will treat the issue from a more fundamental perspective .
More Subtle Attacks
The reality is that as the attacks that come from outside of our conservative culture garner all the headlines, more subtle attacks happen everyday from a perverse fifth column planted firmly in the middle of the conservative movement. That many of the participants may be unwitting does in no way lessen the corrosive effects of their actions.
(Note: Here in the NYC metropolitan region I get my talk show fix from WOR and WABC. The following comments apply to those two stations.)
For example, if you are a regular listener of WABC talk shows, ask yourself when was a the last time you heard the word Christian being uttered from any of the big three or four neo-con talk show hosts on that network? (WOR is only slightly better and that’s due mostly to Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.)
Let me assure that you probably didn’t hear it in quite some time. What you’ve heard instead was the neo-con approved permanently hyphenated- at least in their minds- version of it. The only way that the neo-cons at WABC are allowed to utter the word Christians is if they hyphenated it to the word “Judeo”. Thus, currently, all that you are permitted to hear from conservative talk radio is “Judeo-Christian”. The word Christian by itself no longer exists in their vocabulary.
This type of attack is much more dangerous than the sum of all the ACLU actions put together. The effect of this repetitive denial of Christianity’s originality and exceptionality is like an infection that creeps up on you slowly until, sapped of strength and not thinking straight, you surrender to the disease.
Recently, the Christian tradition of democracy and freedom in America has been erroneously renamed the “Judeo-Christian tradition.”
Nothing could be further form the truth. Democracy, as we know it in the West is a distinctly Christian phenomena that occurred not because of any Judeo influence, but becasue of the unique exceptional characteristics of Christianity.
The seed of our modern western democracy was planted out when our Lord and Savior instructed us to ” give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s ” (Luke 20:20-26)
That simple command represented a further break and departure from Judaism and any other religion whose dogma and theology is based on a set of rules and laws which are interchangeable and perhaps seek to surpass the civil laws of a country.
The New Testament thus told us that we can live a life respectful of civil laws and at the same time live a Christian spiritual life. Hundreds of years later this separation of spiritual life and civil life allowed western Europeans to move away from a patriarchal elitist society and lay the ground work for modern democracy.
How, without Luke 20:20-26, would it be possible to deny Church leaders the right to rule nations? It wouldn’t be possible, becasue the simplest of logic would dictate that the holiest of men should also be the leader of the country.
There is no such declaration in Judaism, and if you are a devoted Jew, your hope and aspiration is that your nation will be run according to Talmudic law. Is Talmudic law predisposed to democracy? No, in fact it is the opposite. It is very much a pro-communal set of laws and very much authoritarian. Far from being something to be shunned, these laws ensured the survival of Jewish tribes throughout a long and tumultuous history that included innumerable wars and persecutions of monstrous proportions. Only with a strong set of laws that emphasize communality and sacrifice for the good of the community were the Jews able to survive as a people. However, as it happens all too often, misguided interpretation or religious teachings leads to Utopian ideals that in turn result in untold tragedy. It is not mere coincidence that the foremost communist thinkers were and are Jews.
Modern democracy was founded by Christians freed to do so by our Lord as related in Luke 20:20-26.
That most of us know little of the true Christian roots of our democracy is not accidental. The Christian tradition of modern democracy has long been thrown out of school’s curriculum and has long been denied even by so called conservative authors. One such “conservative ” is Mark Levin, the author of the current neoconservative book de jour “Liberty and Tyranny”.
Rush Limbaugh’s hyperbole aside, the book is mostly a sophomoric exercise in regurgitating certain conservative principles while at the same time giving them a dull patina of modern neo-conservatism. This is not a review of the book. I would just like to point out that while the book has nary a mention of “Christian values” it is chuck full of “Judeo-Christian” values. Surely, Mr Levin, there has to be a single solitary little ol’ Christian value that managed to work its way into a nation founded and defended with so much blood by Christians. I am wondering how is it that Mr. Levin managed to not find even one such “value”. Worse, Mark Levin advances the lie that, as he puts it “at least two Founders, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, are widely believed to have been Deists”. Of course. Mr. Levin fails to mention that the same people who “widely believe” the two Founders to be deists are the very same people who donate heavily to the ACLU, vote for the likes of Barrack Obama, Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi, and have epileptic seizures if they see a cross in the public square. In other words, atheists and assorted other leftists.
To continue to pound the drum beat of “Judeo-Christianity” is to, at best , deny the uniqueness of Christianity and at worst to be disingenuous. To what purpose is this falsehood promoted is anyone’s guess, but does anything good ever come of perpetuating lies? It makes no sense to justify denying Christianity’s originality through constant hyphenation because Judaism predates Christianity and was the religion into which our Lord and Saviour was born man. If historical precedence is your criteria why not just call it Zoroastrian-Judeo-Christiantiy? After all Zoroastrianism predates Judaism and there is very strong evidence that Judaism has borrowed much from the Zoroastrians and may have even originated among the million or so Jews that lived in Babylon and were Zoroastrians. Do you see anyone referring to Judaism as “Zoroastrian-Judaism”? Of course not. That would be silly. To say that Christianity’s unique exceptionalism is somehow Judaic in nature is akin to crediting feudalism with the creation of democracy.
We will soon see that among the Founders, Jefferson and Franklin were especially devoted Christians. But to understand how we arrived at that fateful moment when, quoting his good friend Phillip Mazzei , the great Thomas Jefferson stated that “all men are created equal” we must journey much further back in time. In our journey we will meet other devout Christians on whose shoulders our founding fathers stood to raise high the flag of democracy!
I am by no means an expert in the field, so God willing we will all learn together.
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