While family is visiting this week from California I will turn to Dennis Prager, one of my favorite commentators, to share what I’ve been thinking about Jews in America.
Prager (Jewish) and Victor Davis Hanson (Christian) are my two go-to columnists. While other commentators might be as smart on culture, political commentary, and social issues, both Prager and Hanson have a 30,000 foot view of the “Big Ideas” that few possess.
Their writings are normally quite profound.
Pager says that American Jews have made a great mistake. I agree.
Here’s what it is.
The Jewish Mistake in America
The Hamas atrocities in the Holy Land and Israel’s response to end the terrorist threat have drawn the attention of the world for the past month.
But truth be told, the nation of Israel has been at the center of world history for thousands of years. That’s because God chose them to bring his words into the world (the Torah) and His final Word of salvation through Jesus the Messiah.
The forces of evil (demonic and human) hate God and his truth. That’s what the fighting is all about. It’s not just Israel or antisemitism. Deceived/evil human beings are against Israel because they are against God and what He is doing on the planet.
It’s all about God–not the Jews.
Jews have been blessed throughout history in various ways because of the wisdom of their heritage, family life, and culture–even if they have turned away from faith in God. That’s true of many American Jews who have gone secular over the last two generations or more.
Prager believes that move away from God and his wisdom is becoming costly in America. I agree with his perspective and have shared the same thoughts (and prayers) for a long time.
Prager is better at writing it down.
Here is his insightful perspective on the error of American Jews.
American Jews Who Worked for a Secular America Made a Fatal Error
Since World War II, most American Jews have believed that the more secular American society is, the more secure their status.
This has been, as I have argued all of my life, a colossal error. Indeed, it may turn out to be a fatal error.
With the outburst of unprecedented levels of antisemitism, American Jews are living the famous warning: “Beware what you wish for; you just may get it.”
The primary reason American Jews have lived in the most Jew-friendly, even Jew-honoring, country in history is that most Americans have been Christian. But we must make a key distinction here. American Christians have been not just Christian, as Europe was, but Judeo-Christian.
Nearly all the American Founders were either traditional Christians (i.e., believers in the Christian Trinity) or believers in God but not in the Christian Trinity. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin fall into this latter category.
But almost to a man, the Founders were Judeophiles. Indeed, Jefferson and Franklin wanted the seal of the new United States to depict the Jews leaving Egypt.
In an 1808 letter, John Adams wrote about the Jews:
“They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their Empire were but a Bauble in comparison of the Jews. They have given religion to three quarters of the Globe and have influenced the affairs of Mankind more, and more happily, than any other Nation ancient or modern.”
“I will insist the Hebrews have (contributed) more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations …”
It wasn’t just the Founders who appreciated the Jews’ contribution to the formation of the great concepts of Western civilization.
Mark Twain, though not a religious man, was raised in a religious Protestant home. He wrote in 1899, in an essay in Harper’s magazine titled “Concerning the Jews:”
“The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.”
“The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”
The only inscription on the Liberty Bell is from the Hebrew Bible, specifically the Book of Leviticus, the third book of the Torah: “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.”
Until 1800, you could not graduate from Harvard University without knowing Hebrew. The insignia of Yale University is in Hebrew, depicting the breastplate of the Jewish high priest.
In a famous study published in the American Political Science Review, Donald Lutz, a professor of political science at the University of Houston, surveyed the political literature of the American founding. He found that the Bible was cited more frequently than any other work or any other author. The Bible accounted for approximately one-third of the Founders’ citations. The single most frequently cited work was Deuteronomy, the fifth of the five books of the Torah.
The late great Catholic theologian Michael Novak wrote that the roots of the doctrine that “all men are created equal lie in Judaism, carried around the world by Christians.”
As American society and Americans individually become less religious, i.e., less Christian, the Jews become less significant.
Yet, many, perhaps most, American Jews, have bought—and promulgated—the idea that Jewish security in America lies in secularizing, i.e., de-Christianizing, America.
As noted above, I have warned against this dangerous foolishness all of my life.
As I said to John Anderson, the former deputy prime minister of Australia, on his podcast: “I say this as a Jew … I don’t romanticize Christianity when I say its death is the death of the West. I am rooting for Christianity’s survival as much as you, the Christian, are.”
Look around, my fellow Jews. Are you happy with the results of the secularization of America? Do you feel more secure? Or less?
I ask you: Is it not obvious that when more Americans attended church every Sunday, America’s Jews were far more secure?
I will be writing some articles in coming weeks about the new form of attack on America’s biblical faith which puts everybody at risk of poverty and tyranny. The new angle is to speak against “Christian nationalism” as if that is a problem, not a blessing around the world. Even some left-leaning Christian evangelicals describe Christian nationalism as tyranny, theocracy etc.
They are wrong–along with the unthinking Jews in the USA.
Let’s pray that the deception will be exposed for what it is, and that all the children of Abraham’s faith will “know the truth which will make (and keep) them free.”
Stay tuned, and Merry Christmas.