Monday, March 20, 2006

The Jewish Republican Crisis

In America, Orthodox Jews, especially right-wing Orthodox Jews, are all too often aligned with the American GOP (Grand 'Ole Republican Party). Quite frankly, that position makes no sense.

As Jews, we have two major political goals:

1) To ensure our own survival and the right of Jews to worship without interference from the state. How ironic is it that American Jews, in defense of the virulently Christian-dominated GOP, echo the claims of Pat Robertson in saying that the United States is a Christian country. As Jews, we should support a strict firewall between Church and State. A rock-solid one. Because allowing the whims of the majority to control the practice of religion in our country has never turned out well for us.

How many of us would support a Pledge of Allegiance with the words "One Nation Under Jesus." Most importantly, the Jewish religion does not endorse proselytism. If we do not seek to get others to convert to our values through gentle persuasion, certainly we should not support forcing those values on others through the legal system.

2) To support Jewish values where they are compatible with the notion that we should not impose our values on others. Attempting to impose Jewish values on others will lead to others imposing their values on Jews. To put it plainly, we don't have a majority in this country, and supporting simple majoritarian rule when traditional Jewish values happen to be in the majority (homosexuality, God) will lead to others using that majority against us. That said, we should support the enactment of laws that support Judeo-Christian values with more universal consensus.

Some examples: helping the poor, orphans, and the sick, loving thy neighbor as thyself, prohibitions against killing. Unfortunately, the United States GOP actually opposes the enactment of laws that would help the poor, sick, and infirm and support a roll-back of laws that already exist.

Look at the following notion:
And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger.
A classic Jewish law that would be opposed by the modern day Republicans. "What do you mean, you're forcing me to contribute part of my field to the poor. Let them get their own field. If they're too lazy to get their own field, they deserve to be poor." I can hear it already.

As Jews, we should be extremely scared at the ideas promoted by the Christian right: that the United States is a Christian country that needs to be taken back from those who believe in the separation of Church and State. It never worked out before, and we're fooling ourselves if we believe it'll work now.


Blogger Charlie Hall said...

Great blog! Great post!

This admiration of supposedly Christian values by too many Orthodox Jews is an example of people who have forgotten they are in galut.

I say "supposedly" because most of what you describe here is actually a matter of controversy within Christianity and the folks who take sides here are forgetting Rov Soloveitchik's admonitions in his famous essay, "Confrontation". It will not be long before Christians return the favor and start telling us which halachic opinions to accept.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck you all. Go back to your fucking kibbutz in Israel if you don't wanna live in the Christian United States. You all are some fucking Zionists, trying to control our Christian United States. That's why they made fucking goddamn Israel, so that way you fucking Jews can go back to where you all came from. I sure ain't gonna let fucking Jews control the United States. Good thing my Roman Catholic Church has a better monopoly on the United States than you fuckheads.

12:09 PM  

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