The Judeo-Christian Right

How many times have we heard the left complain of the "Christian Far Right," with shadowy images of the Ku Klux Klan or Gospel-singing bumpkins in overalls in the background of that phrase? This mockable creature, this crude caricature of what is often called "social conservatism," does, indeed, have roots in Christianity. But those Christian roots of social conservatism are entirely derived from Judaism. The Christian Right is really the Judeo-Christian Right.

When the New Testament speaks of sins like adultery, drunkenness, pornography, abortion, homosexual acts, dishonesty, idolatry, and Sabbath-breaking, those are sins rooted in the Old Testament, in Jewish law, something which Jesus and the apostles never excuse or condone.  The Jewish notion of sin was unique in the pre-Christian ancient world. 

Divorce in Rome was common and easy. Incest in pre-Hellenistic and post-Hellenistic Egypt among the rulers was expected. Greeks practiced homosexuality without inhibition. Hindu temples had fantastically pornographic scenes depicted. Not only abortion, but infanticide was common among ancient civilizations. Jews, in stark contrast, held these and other practices to be unholy and sinful. Males, also, were enjoined to learn to read Hebrew specifically so that they could read the Torah and know the law. Resting and contemplating the moral purposes of God created our modern notion of holidays (Holy Days). 

One of the reasons for the relative success of Jews historically has been the prevalence of stable marriages and strong families, temperance in drink, sacred laws regarding honesty, almost universal male literacy, and the obligatory prudent foresight required to keep Shabbat. Devout Christians today support those religious values. Christianity and Judaism are in one accord on the vast range of social issues.  

Why, then, does the left focus so much on the Christianity of those Americans who seek rest on Sunday, try hard to stay married, view excess drinking and illegal drugs as dangerous, believe human life is sacred, want kids to read the Bible, and value prayer as an important part of life? What these good people are cleaving to is really Judaism in practice, albeit with the additional theological elements of Christianity.  These social conservatives are celebrating the essential goodness of Judaism, which should be a high compliment to all Jews in America.

America has been the subject of intense loyalty and affection by Jews since the foundation of our nation. The long, clear, and remarkable history of philo-Semitism among Christians in America, long acknowledged and accepted by Jews in America, is part of the tribute which Christian America paid to Jewish values. Why, then, is social conservatism today maligned and condemned as some cross between Inherit the Wind and Elmer Gantry? Why is social conservatism considered Christian?

Why? Because the agnostic and libertine left divides and conquers. Forty years ago -- ostensibly on behalf of women everywhere -- radical feminism declared jihad against men. After the noble triumphs of the early civil rights movement, the dream of Dr. King was twisted into a nightmare of racial hatred masked as the next stage of civil rights. In the rock music delirium of the 1960s, parents and patriots became jackbooted totalitarians. The middle class was the exploiter of the poor. The dreary, tired narrative of a nation composed of oppressors and enemies keeps the left in power, which is the only love the left possesses.

So, of course, the common values shared by Christians and by Jews must be slimed as foolish and phony and the putative failure of these values used as a means of making religiously serious Christians pariahs in the chic, slick universe of secular nihilism. Devout Jews could, and have, proclaimed that opposing child pornography is not a Christian concern, but a Judeo-Christian concern, yet these Jews get about as much notice as black conservatives or pro-life women. It is not just devout Christians who are herded into a social ghetto by the enemies of faith; it is also pious Jews. 

Christians hurt their cause as well by placing theological conformity over the shared social and moral values of society. So, sadly, Protestants were too often willing to let Catholics be attacked, and vice-versa. Those who were in utter accord with these shared values, like Mormons, were too often rejected as having the wrong religious ideas.   

Insincere nominal members of a faith, CINOs (Christians In Name Only) like Jeremiah Wright and JINOs (Jews In Name Only) like Barney Frank, are all too happy to fan flames of distrust between Christians and Jews. So Wright presents a form of anti-Christianity in which contempt for Jews is proper, and Barney Frank pretends that "Christians," rather than "Jews and Christians," view his open homosexuality as a sin. CINOs and JINOs have no true faith. They use the façade of a religious affiliation to prevent Jews and Christians from linking arms in their countless common areas of interest. 

The Judeo-Christian value system is the most powerful agent for good that mere mortals have. As a political and social policy, it has no equal. As an agency for creating a civil and peaceful society, it works in Israel, it works in America, and it has worked for centuries in ways that make socialism or its siblings blush with shame. Anyone who really wanted humanity to rise into happier, nobler life would see and rejoice that this system, the Judeo-Christian Right, works wonders and also draws us all together. But that is not the mission of the venomous left.

Bruce Walker is the author of a new book: Poor Lenin's Almanac: Perverse Leftists Proverbs for Modern Life.