Original article posted at Dissident Mama, November 21, 2018.
“Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it.”
— G.K. Chesteron
Just as the “tree of guilt” obstructs our view of the forest (as discussed in Part 1), its roots run deep, establishing a wild entanglement, strong and tall in its unyielding efforts to block truth. My contention here is that not only is American Jewish identity overwhelmingly secular-progressive, but that its foundation is steeped in anti-Christian bias and is often abetted by Christians themselves. So let’s keep digging.
Before the 1960s, the Holocaust “was blamed not even on all the Germans, as is often the case today, but on the Nazis, who were seen as neo-pagans,” explains author and professor Paul Gottfried. “Pius XII is transformed from friend of the Jews to a villain … who conspired to wipe out European Jewry.”
“The ‘good people’ become those who suffer with the Jews,” Gottfried continues. It’s a post-modern “faith” based upon the self-imposed moral superiority of the “oppressed,” and the empathy and submission of the “oppressors.” And according to Tel Aviv University history professor Shlomo Sand, the “Holocaust industry” is booming.
That’s why many American cities have Holocaust museums but no Great Leap Forward museums, even though Mao Zedong killed 39 million more humans than did Hitler. Emphasizing the crimes of a duly elected “right wing” national-socialist and ignoring the atrocities of a communist dictator propels the cultural-Marxist narrative.
This ideology is extended to “preferred victims,” specifically black people, women, Hispanics, LGBT, and Muslims, who “become allies and come to see themselves in a common struggle against Nazism, which is linked to fascism, which is linked to the ‘right,’ and which is finally linked to white Christian society,” Gottfried asserts.
No matter the issue, leftist Christians always serve up the sacred cow of the Holocaust, usually adding in slavery for additional potency and flavor. It’s the double whammy of moral preening veiled as salt and righteousness (see image at left, which comes from the comment section of this guilt-inducing article about an open-borders pastor).
It was during the transformative ’60s that synagogues began to change. Images of concentration camps replaced ancient symbols. Many of the sacred aspects of American Judaism were pushed to the back seat, while the new political religion of leftism took the wheel. And at its core wasn’t God, but the false deity of victimhood.
It’s a dogma, which is predominantly socialist economically and liberal culturally. This is how the oddly named Tree of Life came to be doing a bris (the Jewish rite of male circumcision) for the adopted twins of a gay couple (the progressive rite of a “rainbow family”).
It’s similar to the the cultural-Marxist creep within Christianity and why the Evangeleftist and Ameridox foot-soldiers incessantly focus on slavery and the revenge-veiled-as-love movement known as “racial reconciliation.” The modern contextualization of history portrayed as biblical teaching becomes fodder for the necessary social change the activists seek, both within and outside of the church.
Other left-wing secular “reforms” pushed as biblical truths include rallying for women in the clergy to end misogyny, refugee rights to confront white supremacy, gay marriage to prove Jesus’ love, extreme environmentalism to exhibit green stewardship, and high taxes and welfare programs to fight poverty. Typical platitudes with predictable liberal solutions, but they are enemies of the good when portrayed as gospel issues.
Similar to the progressive sell-out within American Judaism, what commonly defined American Protestant worship even just a few decades ago has vanished in many congregations. Saccharine pop songs have replaced hymns, and historic rituals are lost to feel-good “community groups.”
Skinny-jean-wearing male pastors are more Oprah than John Calvin, and rainbow-scarved female bishops are more Betty Friedan than John Wesley. Jesus is often an after-thought. He’s more “friend” than all-powerful, earth-trembling, life-giving Lord and Savior – that is, if He’s mentioned at all.
Thus, modern Western Christianity becomes a self-help program and twists the faith to meet immediate emotional wants and carnal perversions, as opposed to radically transforming you by virtue of putting your desires and your whole life at the foot of the Cross. You become a slave to sin, and then wonder why your fruits aren’t flourishing.
“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”
― Gustav Mahler
It’s individualist libertinism, not Christian liberty. It’s a religious devotion to moral relativism, not moral truth. It is cosmic lawlessness, not natural law. And the devaluing of liturgy, canon law, and the rites of apostolic history opened this Pandora’s Box.
Ever since Vatican II, the lunatic-fringe floodgates within Roman Catholicism ripped opened, allowing Pope Francis to claim “social justice” as the banner for his church, not theology, which he allegedly said was “boring.” (American Orthodoxy also has its share of leftist pet issues, but with traditions and time-honored mores still central to sacred worship, much of this nonsense is kept at bay, thankfully.)
Likewise, American Judaism is not immune to this progressive poison. And with the chipping away of venerable customs, the continual secularization and post-modern co-opting of the ancient faith has had dire effects in synagogues.
“Many of the ritual practices, the observances of Jews within a typical Jewish community are no longer kept,” Gottfried explains. “What binds them together is the sense of an enemy: white Christian society. [It’s] a lie on the scale with Nazi lies.”
According to Gottfried, Abe Foxman, 28-year national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), once remarked, “In 50 years, we can feel safe when American is no longer a white Christian country.” And the Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote of Foxman’s foreboding warnings of conservative efforts to “Christianize America.” Perhaps his cautionary counsel has already taken hold in our post-Christian society.
If this all sounds outlandish, just peruse Foxman’s book Never Again?: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism. (And don’t buy it, for goodness sake. Just thumb through it at your local bookstore, where it will most likely be in the “religion” section, even though it’s a secular screed.)
In it, Foxman indicts the New Testament as the leading cause of pogroms and the mass murder of Jews, and asserts that scholars “have traced a direct line from ancient Christian teachings on Jews and Judaism to the death camps of Hitler.” He even attacks St. John Chrysostom, who authored the Divine Liturgy we Orthodox Christians celebrate most Sundays.
Chrysostom “ordered Christians to launch violent attacks against the Jews, which many soon did,” claims Foxman. Nope, Chrysostom fervently spoke out against the heresy of Judaizing Christians, Jews’ blaspheming of Christ, and Jewish persecution of Christians, all of which were common in the 4th century.
Hey, but I thought Christians were always the oppressors? Hmm. That’s what the media, academia, and Foxman tell me. Damn facts. But more importantly, Chrysostom’s criticisms were based purely on theology, not on race or ethnicity. That’s fair game, people.
Foxman’s anti-Christian beliefs are mirrored in the Jerusalem Post by American-Jewish blogger David Turner. Anti-Semitism is founded upon “the canon of universal Christianity … while the epistles of Paul provide the inspiration for anti-Judaism, two gospels in particular, Matthew and John … provide the inspiration for anti-Judaism … from Augustine in the 4th century to Martin Luther eleven hundred years later” to today.
“The gospel story, which has generated more anti-Semitism than the sum of all the other anti-Semitic writings ever written, created the climate in Christian Europe that led to the Holocaust,” writes author Charles Patterson. “Long before the rise of Adolf Hitler, the gospel story about the life and death of Jesus had poisoned the bloodstream of European civilization.”
“It was in [the] Pauline Church, from which later Christianity derives, that anti-Semitism arose,” alleges Jewish and Talmudic scholar Hyam Maccoby in Antisemitism and Modernity. Sure, Jews can say the Trinity is mythical, if they want, because that’s a religious difference. Hell, even American saint MLK didn’t even believe in a triune God. But slandering the Holy Bible in this invective manner is outrageous.
“Hitler’s intention was to achieve a final solution to a Jewish Problem born two millennia before with the first century Pauline and gospel texts.”
— David Turner
Shockingly, Christian dispensationalist scholars make similar claims. The New Testament is anti-Semitic due to its “strong polemic against Israel,” remarks David K. Lowery, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, in Navigating the Book of Revelation.
Dispensationalism was developed in Ireland by Plymouth Brethren teacher John Nelson Darby. It’s a puritanical movement that spread throughout the U.K. and finally arrived in New England by the mid-1800s and then spread like a cancer throughout America.
It purports that after “the rapture,” godly appointed Jews will become intercessors to Christians – kind of a go-between between gentiles and Heaven, since the dispensational view is that the Christian Church is “an interruption in God’s divine contract with the Jewish people.”
The Jews will then accept Christ as Messiah and be restored to the Promised Land. This “remnant” will work to convert unbelievers and thusly serve as God’s agent for the salvation of non-Jews.
“The American confusion on eschatology is so tied to confusion over Israel,” explains author Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., a former dispensationalist and retired Presbyterian minister. And by that he means the dispensationalists’ belief that the political State of Israel is considered by many Fundamentalist Christians as the same Israel of the Bible. They see the modern political entity as necessary for the salvation of gentiles.
You may hear them saying, “The Jews are God’s Chosen People,” or “Israel must be occupied in order to be in conformity with God’s will.” This is why so many “conservative” Evangelicals are passionately pro-Israel and fanatically Zionist, and why they see no conflict of interest when people who wield considerable power within the federal government have U.S.-Israeli dual citizenship.
Interestingly, Fundamentalists embraced the “Jewish homeland” position in the 19th century as a defense against liberal theology and modernism, yet they now ally unquestionably with the present-day Israel – an earthly, socialist, non-Christian ethnostate. A shocking 82% of white American Evangelicals think Israel is land bestowed by God unto the Jews, in contrast with only 19% of Israel-born-and-raised Christians.
Yet, most other Christians around the world don’t literally interpret the biblical Israel with the current ethnic state. Rather, we understand “Israel” to be the universal Christian Church, which is based upon Jesus as the New Covenant and the fulfillment of the Law. It’s a Holy nation for Jew and Gentile, both of whom can attain the gift of salvation, but only through belief in Him: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Even though “Zion” appears more 150 times in the Bible as a geographic locale, we Orthodox consider Zion as referencing of the Lord’s coming spiritual kingdom, of which Jesus is the cornerstone. It’s the heavenly city of God, and it will be restored through Christ as the new Jerusalem.
So, when Foxman and other secular-progressive Jews, ill-informed Christians, and neoconservatives equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, what are on God’s green earth are they talking about? What is this Zionism of which they speak?
Here is a succinct explanation of Zionism by the Torah Jews, an organization of Jewish people who think the State of Israel “denies the very essence of our Diaspora existence.” Further, they say Zionism has “created a pseudo-Judaism which views the essence of our identity to be a secular nationalism” and seeks “to replace a Divine and Torah-centered understanding of our peoplehood with an armed materialism.” Well said.
It’s a long and complicated history, but many honest Jews and non-Jews alike define the leftist movement as purely political and don’t even consider its roots Judaic. Although you’d never know that by consuming corporate media or attending most American churches.
“No, Zionism is not Jewish in origin,” remarks Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro. “Early Zionists, such as Israel Zangwill, said that Jews could be Christians or Muslims by religion, since Jewishness would be a national, not religious identity.”
“Centuries before [Moses] Hess or [Theodor] Herzl were born, the Evangelicals already created and pursued Zionist ideology,” he adds. (I wrote about the Puritans’ vision of a “Hebrew Republic” in New England Pharisees.) “Incredibly, Jewish Zionists have adopted Christian interpretation of the scriptures, abandoning Jewish ones, to garner support from Christian Evangelicals, Zionism’s strongest supporters.”
When Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at Auschwitz, continues Shapiro, he “publicly repeated an interpretation of Ezekiel 37 – the prophecy of the ‘Dry Bones,’ applying it to the State of Israel, an interpretation found in no Jewish source – indeed, it contradicts Judaic doctrine – and was invented by the Reverend Charles Haddon Spurgeon in 1864! And repeated by Evangelicals such as John Hagee.”
In fact, a 2013 Pew survey resulted in this surprising data (see graphic at right). “Some of the discrepancy is attributable to Jews’ lower levels of belief in God overall; virtually all Evangelicals say they believe in God, compared with 72% of Jews,” Pew’s Michael Lipka explains. “White Evangelical Protestants also are more likely than Jews to favor stronger U.S. support of Israel.” Now ain’t that a bitch.
Many Orthodox Jews are concerned that Zionism inspires people to care more about the political “religion” of Zionism than they do the Torah. Of note, conservative rabbi David Lau, Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief, would not even refer to the leftist Tree of Life as a “synagogue,” instead calling it “a place of clear Jewish character.” Interestingly, in Israel today, Jews consider both culture and ancestry as vital to their people, but religion, eh, not so much.
Because of the collectivist-segregationist ideology of being a “Jewish state,” Israel endangers Jews all over the world, claims rabbis Shapiro, Lau, and other anti-Zionist Jews. But it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If they can just keep Jewish people thinking they’re perpetual victims, this fosters guilt among gentiles, and in turn serves the aims of the secular-progressives. Easy peezy.
“Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center has the largest database of anti-Semitic data in the world – and they’re scientists, not activists with an agenda like the ADL,” Shapiro remarks. “And every report that they release says the same story: because people conflate Israel with Jews, when people are upset with Israel, Jews all over the world get hurt.”
“I do believe Zionists and Israelis have committed injustices and even heinous crimes against the Palestinians,” remarks economist Gene Epstein. “But my pride in being Jewish is not diminished by this knowledge any more than knowing about the even greater crimes of the U.S. government diminishes my pride in being American.”
Truth warrior, Jesus follower, wife, and boymom. Apologetics practitioner for Orthodox Christianity, the Southern tradition, homeschooling, and freedom. Recovering feminist-socialist-atheist, graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and retired mainstream journalist turned domesticated belle and rabble-rousing rhetorician. Read more at Dissident Mama.