The Christian Jewish Question

Several days ago I addressed the Jewish Christmas Question. Today is about the Christian Jewish question.

I speak before many Republican audiences. The bulk of the attendees are Christians.

My impression is that while these Christians have an overwhelming respect and admiration for the Jewish people, they do not know much about my religion.

I have no problem with this. I know very little about Christianity. It is not my faith. I know what Christmas and Easter are, but certainly not much more. They have heard about Hanukkah but probably could not tell me the ins and outs of the holiday.

Yet there is a difference between a religious organization and a political one containing religious people.

Various Republican organizations are having a raging internal debate about how to do the invocation at the beginning of their meetings and conventions. I know that the Republican Women’s Federated has wrestled with this issue.

I occasionally speak to socially conservative Christian groups in their Church. Since this is an official Christian group meeting at an official Christian place of worship, I find it completely reasonable that they would have a Christian invocation at their meeting.

Yet Republican groups are not Christian, despite a majority of Christin members.

In fact, one criticism of the Republican Party is that it is seen as a Christian party. This is not true. I as a Jewish person feel completely comfortable in the Republican Party.

While every GOP organization is different, I will stick with the Republican women since they are the bulk of my speeches. While they are a top down organization with clear rules on many issues, individual chapters gave their own policies regarding invocations.

The debate among some chapters is whether to pray to “God” or “Jesus.”

This is a serious issue.

Many of the chapters have actually asked me my opinion before I speak to them.

The notion that these Christian women are zealots is nonsense. If they were zealots, they would not bother to ask me my opinion.

Some chapters, mainly the very small ones, decide to stick with the mention of Jesus. The larger chapters prefer a more non-denominational prayer.

Even the prayer mentioning Jesus is not a sermon. The prayer usually involves praying for everybody, especially our troops. The last line of the prayer says, in (insert) name.

Sometimes they say, “in his name.” Sometimes they mention the lord, or God. Yet others do mention Christ.

The ones that mention Jesus do not force me to do so. I just say a different silent prayer.

Yet the issue that other non-Christians in the room may feel uneasy is an important one.

One chapter was serving ham because it was their Christmas party. They did not call it a holiday party. Yet when the food came out, I was given a turkey plate instead of ham. I never said anything, and had no idea what the menu was. When one of the ladies asked how she could get a turkey plate, the President explained, “He gets a special plate. He is Jewish. He cannot eat ham so we made him turkey. We have done that before.”

This was such a beautiful gesture. I was genuinely touched. It showed a knowledge of Judaism that many Christians do not possess, that Jews should not eat pork products.

(I heard something about Meat and Fridays, but I would be lying if I said I knew exactly what that was or how it related to Christianity.)

Some people will say that every chapter should refuse to mention Jesus. If 100% of their members are Christian, and believe, why should anybody else care? Who are they hurting?

Would I prefer a non-denominational prayer? Sure.

Yet I am also aware that this is a Christian nation. I am a minority.

I also have to explain to people that I am only one individual. I do not represent an entire religious faith. For one thing, most Jews do not share my politics.

The best thing the Christian community can do is what all people should do. Just ask questions and get educated. I can tell you now that the day before my next Church speech, I will research rituals to make sure I do not make any blunders while in their place of worship.

As long as nobody forces me to engage in Christian worship, I am fine. Such coercion has neve roccurred to me, not one single time.

When the ladies ask my opinion, I will tell them. After all, I have the right to refuse to speak to their group.

They are such wonderful people that I do not anticipate that happening one single time either.

I am a proud Jew not threatened by Christians who respect and admire my faith and spend time debating how to strike the correct balance.

Proof of their thoughtfulness is that the internal debate is even taking place.


4 Responses to “The Christian Jewish Question”

  1. Dav Lev says:

    A friend and his wife regularly attend meetings abroad ( where they
    now reside temporarily), of former Americans.

    Before the meetings, (since this is a Catholic nation), wafers are
    handed out.

    They are not Christians, yet choose to partake.

    I have indicated my bias against this practice.

    If Eric Golub attended a meeting of Islamic Republicans,
    and they had some sort of prayer to Allah or Mohammad
    or whomever, would he be posting the same? I wonder?

    If the meeting started off with a tirade against Israel, ( but
    not the “Jews”), how would we non Muslims and pro-Israel
    supporters react?

    If someone wants to attend a chapel prior to, during, or after
    a meeting of Republicans, Democrats, independents or others,
    I say, go for it. If they want to pray to their God, that’s fine with me.

    But the Republican Party, as with the Democratic Party, should
    not include a prayer, or any other type of religious observance,
    including Christmas or Chanukah. or Yom Kippur or The Feast
    of Ramadan.

    If a Republican went to a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting
    and sat there while blessings were made, for example, on
    wine, bread, etc,, and the name “Hashem” mentioned….well,
    you get the point.

    Anyone interested, can go to thousands of websites to learn about
    virtually any religion. I have. Frankly, I didn’t know the difference
    between the Reform Jewish branch and the Conservative (not to
    forget the Orthodox). Now I do.

    When I wanted to know about all the days in Easter week, I simply
    perused the web. Now I know.

    BTW, turkey is not necessarily kosher., guys. I mean
    eating turkey with a glass of milk on a dish used for ham.
    Just don’t mix.

    I will admit one thing, I have heard anti-Christian statements
    from Jews, anti-Jewish statements from Christians and Muslims,
    anti-Jewish statements from other Jews, and anti Catholic
    statements from Protestants. So go figure.

  2. There’s a great deal of irony in all this. For starters, we are not a “Christian nation.” We’re just a nation that happens to have a lot of “Christians.” Among our “Christians,” their beliefs and practices are all over the place: The Founders of this nation would not recognize Christianity today. For starters, literalism was considered ignaorant radicalism 200 years ago. Back then, contextualism was the foundation of Christian theology. Literalism came later, as a defensive reaction to startling advances in science. Also, the idea that Jesus literally is God was not nearly as universal a Christian idea back in the Founder’s days. So from then to now, to saay that America is a “Christian nation” is laughable at best.

    It’s funny too to see how Republicans try to come off secular when it suits them, and then go out of their way to remind everyone themselves of their Christianity. They’re certainly not secular. The base of the Republican party is essentially a Neo-Christian, Neo-Liberal (in the classical sense) Conservative Nationalist Democratic party. That’s why most Jews avoid them. Historically speaking, Jews have learned time and time again the dangers of that particular mix of political interests.

    They’re also not really Christian, as I mentioned above and as is evidenced by their behavior. It’s hard to imagine a “Christian” party that pays more attention to abortion, war, tax cuts for the rich, “Free Trade” with despotic and totalitarian nations, and limiting the rights of the people, than paying any attention to the poor and needy. Republicans are too Christian what French Fries are to Health Food.

    It’s really funny too to see Christians banging their heads trying to figure out how to do invocations, only proving they are terribly closed-minded and fanatically religious. There’s plenty of ecumenical prayers that cover pretty much every faith and even non-faith. But that’s not good enough for them. They have to assert their particular brand of faith – screw everyone else.

    I don’t know why any self-respecting person of any other faith or non-faith would bother with these people.


  3. Dav Lev says:

    Now for all the thousands of readers who frequent this website,
    I thought it important enough to add a few more words, while
    the issue is hot. This is an important issue for all we Republicans
    who are a minority within a minority.

    A friend who I debate often has advised me that Jews share one thing
    in common, a concept (if not a belief) in God.

    He also said that Christians have a definite definition of their God, unlike
    we Jews.

    As such, while most Jews (his words) do not believe in a supreme being, their “concept” is the same, this being salient to Judaism.

    Somehow, his analysis didn’t make sense to me.

    Now, this person is very pro-Israel, and an American Zionist, though
    not religious in the organized sense.

    Sooooo, I decided to look into it further and reread What is a Jew?
    by rabbi Morris Kertzner, deceased, a former chaplain and adviser
    to interfaith married couples..and people seeking to convert, to or away.

    According to the enlightened rabbi, (not Orthodox, but a Congregationalist), a Jew is an amalgum of things..ranging from a shared
    history and future, to a love of and support of Israel as a spiritual homeland, to rituals, customs, faith, oberservance, beliefs, and
    belief in one God..also differences with Christianity (the dominent
    US religion whose adherents far exceed that of Judaism).

    The concept of God was never mentioned in the book, only the

    It is true per the author that some interpret biblical stories as fables, parables, an attempt
    by ancient writers to explain the unexplainable, and the interpretations can
    change from year to year, except for the basic belief in one God, which
    is paramount.

    Race gets little attention..not to give any credence to anti-Semites who
    group all of us into one. In fact, the people are a mixture of many people’s, but who do share the above. Israelis can be dark skinned and dark eyed, and Swedish Jews blond haired and blue eyes. Some Jews have red hair
    and are very light skinned.

    But Jews are a people, if their religious views do differ..from Reform to
    Conservative, to Orthodox to ultra-Orthodox to modern to Progressive.

    Conservative Jews for example, do not take literally every passage
    in our bible (or Torah), while Orthodox believe. For example, some believe Moses parted the sea, others that the event never happened, but was contrived to impart a principle of freedom from oppression, etc. And so on and so forth.

    Some people believe God created the heavens and the Earth in 6 days.
    Others think the six figure was used simply to explain the creation by a God, a creation which is constantly evolving.

    I find it most fascinating that the Greek Orthodox Christian faith
    differs from the Roman Catholic..just as Sunni Muslims have differing
    views than the Shia. Sometimes these differences cause friction and worse
    as we see now in Iraq.

    So, my response to my friend will be that either you do, or do not believe
    there is a supreme being, called Hashem, the Lord, the Almighty,
    or whatever.

    Now to the point of the article. In today’s LA Times, is an article about
    Sunni vs Shia friction in Iraq, and a celebration by millions of Shia
    Muslims at a holy shrine. The celebration is a very contentious issue
    among Muslims..due to it’s roots.

    I am against any display of religion by either Democrats or
    Republicans and would be very uncomfortable. Political parties
    in the USA must never be for one religion..its inherent in the separation of church and state. They must never, never, do what is in the blog.

    Also in today’s LA Times, is a one page advertisement by a certain
    reverend, who won’t be named. He says that satan’s influence
    has produced the worst in us, but that by dismissing and ridding ourselves
    of this influence, and accepting the “Word”, we can live pure lives, absent
    satans attempt to destroy us.

    He goes on to say that we Jews who do not accept the “Word” are
    filled with Satan. This floored me, I must admit.

    In fact, back to the definition of Judaism, satan has no part in our
    theology, or at least insignificant. We are judged by God for our deeds and not “faith”. God gave us Torah, and his laws. God is not interested in
    our accepting him, just how we “behave”. We have free will, and do
    have an evil inclination, which must be fought.

    I do not expect my non Jewish friends to accept this concept.

    For the above reasons, and then some, I cannot concur that
    any prayer, by any religion, should be accepted at a political party
    meeting or gathering. I mean, what if it were held by Jewish Democrats
    and a Jewish blessing, was said? Get my point.

    But remember, that turkey might just not be kosher, gobble, gobble.

  4. “He goes on to say that we Jews who do not accept the “Word” are
    filled with Satan. This floored me, I must admit.”

    That floored you, huh?

    Dan, Eric, don’t forget this: ALL rightwing Christians believe EXACTLY just that. Better watch your backs around those people.


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