Judaism Archives

Can a Person of Faith Be a Democrat?

Given the events of the past 24 hours at the Democratic National Convention, this suddenly becomes a fair question. Yesterday, delegates went ballistic when party officials tried to reinsert previously omitted language about God and Israel into their platform. Needless to say this created some bad optics for the Democrats as well as creating news at their convention. This was such a grave unforced error it’s not clear yet how much damage has been done.

But taking this in conjunction with the party’s full fledged endorsement of abortion on demand (“The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”) as well as the ongoing controversy over the HHS mandate regarding conception and suddenly you get the feeling that there is outright animus towards people of faith.

This is not necessarily new but never has it been more obvious. As John Hinderaker points outs, “The Democrats, bluntly put, have become the party of those who don’t go to church.” Although I would disagree with him over whether religious beliefs informs ones view of the issues of the day (it does) he is absolutely correct to suggest that the Democratic platform is in direct opposition to the values that Jews, Christians, and Catholics in particular hold.

This point is further illustrated in Al Mohler’s excellent essay on the stark worldview choices we are facing in this election.

All of this begs the question whether a devout Jew, Christian or Catholic can sincerely also identify themselves as a Democrat. I frankly can’t see how anyone can.

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    Religious Rituals out of Thin Air

    Apparently, that’s where the Norwegian government thinks they come from.

    Now comes a suggestion from a Norwegian official called the “Ombudsman for Children in Norway” proposing that the ancient procedure be replaced by a “symbolic, nonsurgical ritual.” Apparently in Norway it is possible to create religiously meaningful rituals overnight, which is an insight into the understanding of religion in Norwegian public life. And Norway’s “Centre Party,” which is a member of the governing coalition, has just proposed that circumcision be outlawed entirely.

    Something similar is happening in the US as well. Do governments not have enough to do, that they must bother Jews about a religious tradition handed down by God thousands of years ago?

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      Friday Link Wrap-up

      [FYI, Part 2 of my "after-birth abortion" article will appear Monday, for both of you waiting for it. Smile ]

      Obama: ‘Drill Drill Drill won’t work. And you can thank Me that it did.’

      America’s per capita debt is worse than Greece. And Greece’s credit rating is in the basement.

      BBC: We’ll Mock Jesus But Never Mohammed. (Because Christians won’t cut off their head or burn things.)

      For all the talk about crude names called at Sandra Fluke, the war on conservative women goes merrily unreported. Meryl Yourish refers to this as the new Exception Clause.

      No wonder liberals think their unconstitutional ideas are constitutional. They don’t understand the document’s intent.

      Like all generalizations, it’s not true of every single case, but James Q. Wilson asks an interesting question: Why Don’t Jews Like the Christians Who Like Them?

      Just as Jews were once expelled from Arab lands, Christians are now being forced from countries they have long inhabited.

      And finally, the return of the political cartoon to Friday Link Wrap-ups.

      Posted Image

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        Friday Link Wrap-up

        Post-war (i.e. WWII) marginal tax rates (the top individual tax bracket) have fluctuated from above 90% to below 30%, but W. Kurt Hauser noted that, in 1993, the total tax revenue, as a percentage of GDP, stayed virtually constant. Really. The data has been updated to 2007 and the observation holds. You can’t soak the rich. Raise their rates, and GDP goes down to match, in addition to the tax shelters that suddenly become very popular. Social engineers who want to use the tax code to implement what they want ought to be very disturbed, if they even know about this.

        In terms of absolute dollars, federal revenues have tripled in the last 50 years (quadrupled if you consider the amount just before the recession). The problem is, federal spending has outpaced even that. Ed Morrissey has the charts to show that we don’t have a revenue problem.

        Homeschooling is such a success that liberals at the NEA, in the Dept. of Education and in Congress are "troubled" and "concerned" by it, and of course consider it racist. Yes, really.

        The pro-life cause continues to advance, recently in Ohio. And Americans United for Life has put out a scathing 181-page report on abuses and law-breaking at Planned Parenthood, and is taking it to Congress.

        Global warming seems to have stopped. Well, Scientific American says, "Blame Asia!"

        Obama, in prosecuting war, embraces his inner Dubya.

        Just like the press (and the anti-war movement) has gone very quiet about wars, old and new, being prosecuted by this President, the NY Time even notices that the press has been ignoring the poor during this recession. And they’re part of the press to blame for it! What a difference a Democratic President makes!

        Andres Oppenheimer says it best. "What Chavez has done in Venezuela over the last 12 years is nothing short of an economic miracle: Despite benefiting from the biggest oil boom in Venezuela’s history, he has somehow managed to turn the country into a shambles." Read the whole thing. It’s amazing to see truly how much money socialism can spend on people, only to make their lives worse.

        Comparing and contrasting the economic stimulus under Clinton (that got rejected) to the economic stimulus under Obama (which passed) and which was actually better for unemployment.

        If the debt ceiling is not raised by August, we would still have enough money coming in to not default on interest payments on the debt, and cover Social Security, Medicare, and "essential" defense. Don’t let Obama’s threat about withholding Grandma’s check scare you.

        The ban on circumcision that will be on the San Francisco ballot in November is rife with anti-Semitism. That’s just about all you need to know about it, but here’s more.

        And some more slipper slope for you. (Click for a larger image.)

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          Poll: Christian Seders

          Duane Shank, a senior policy advisor for the Sojourners has this to say about bringing Christian meaning to the Jewish Seder supper.

          This week I saw an article written last spring on Jews’ concerns over Christians celebrating Passover.  It seems that more Christian churches are using “Christianized” versions of the seder, reinterpreting the meal’s symbols to reflect Christian beliefs.  Said one rabbi, “They take our symbols, our holiday, our ritual and start investing them in Christian meaning.”

          This is a concern that I share. Infusing the traditional text with Christian meaning is both dishonest and disrespectful.

          Um, didn’t the writers of the Gospels infuse the traditional text of the Old Testament with Christian meaning?

          How about you? We have a new poll up today; do you agree or disagree with the use of "Christianized" versions of the seder?

          For myself, I’ve participated in many Christian seders, and it is truly amazing to see how, in this celebration of the escape from Egypt by the Israelites, how much New Testament symbolism is actually in there. We see it in the Bible, of course, but also in the traditional remembrance of it that the Jews have written. Remarkable.

          If you have had any experiences with Christian Seders you’d like to share, or if you feel they cheapen the actual Jewish tradition, let’s hear in the comments.

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            Book review: America Alone, by Mark Steyn

            Cross-posted at New Covenant

            My cousin asked me, a while back, if I could post some reviews of the various books I’ve read. I’ve wanted to do that for some time, but the task has always seemed a bit daunting (okay… I’ll admit it, I have always thought that it would take too long to write book reviews). After reading Greg Koukl’s Solid Ground article on How to Read Less More (PDF), though, I think I’ve come across a method to both read a book, provide a review, and give my humble opinion about it.

            That said, here is my review of Mark Steyn’s America Alone.

            america_alone.jpgThe subtitle of Steyn’s book is The end of the world as we know it. On the cover we see a globe, dotted with flags of Islam, and one lonely American flag. The front cover recommendation quote is, “The arrogance of Mark Steyn knows no bounds.” – Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Ambassador to the United States.

            Those three items alone should give a clear indication of the direction that Steyn is heading: America (as he will define it), alone, stands in opposition to the rest of the world (again, as defined by him). And, the rest of the world is, by all accounts, looking decidedly Islamic.

            From Steyn, “Let me put it in a slightly bigger nutshell: much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive the twenty-first century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most European countries.”

            Read the rest of this entry

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              Celebrating a massacre

              A gunman walks into a seminary library and murders 8 people.

              The act is celebrated (photo per FoxNews).

              gaza_cheer

              The victims were Jewish. The gunman is claimed by Hamas. And the celebrants are Palestinians.

              You do the math.

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                High, on Mount Sinai

                An Israeli researcher, Benny Shanon, claims that Moses was doing drugs on Mount Sinai when he heard God tell him the Ten Commandments.  We find the crux of the matter in paragraph 3.

                "As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don’t believe, or a legend, which I don’t believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics," Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.

                Essentially, this "research" started from a conclusion and worked its way back to the explanation.  It’s "very probable" because the researcher dismisses everything else out of hand.  No evidence, just inference based on his own presuppositions.

                Oh, and there’s also a bit of projection going on there, too.

                He mentioned his own experience when he used ayahuasca, a powerful psychotropic plant, during a religious ceremony in Brazil’s Amazon forest in 1991. "I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations," Shanon said.

                He did drugs, so Moses must have.  There’s "research" for you.

                [tags]Moses,Mount Sinai,drugs,Benny Shanon,Hebrew University of Jerusalem,Judaism,Christianity[/tags]

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                  Nehemiah’s Wall Found?

                  Could be, though that is still disputed. New evidence suggests that it is. Details here.

                  [tags]Nehemiah,Bible,Jerusalem,Eilat Mazar[/tags]

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                    Ed Morrissey Interviews Dinesh D’Souza

                    One of the podcasts I listen to is Heading Right Radio with Ed Morrissey of “Captain’s Quarters”. He gets some great interviews, and last week (I’m behind in my podcast listening) he got Dinesh D’Souza and they talked about D’Souza’s book “What’s So Great About Christianity”. Fresh from his debate at King’s College with Christopher Hitchens, D’Souza covers a number of interesting topics from his book, including the truth about the Gallileo’s persecution, the limits of reason, why the recent increase in atheist apologetics, the supposed “war” between science and religion, thank-you letters to Portugese inquisitors, and other light topics. >grin<

                    Click here to listen to any of Captain Ed’s shows, and stick it in your podcatcher.

                    [tags]Ed Morrissey,Dinesh D’Souza,Christianity,Christopher Hitchens,Richard Dawkins,atheism[/tags]

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                      Charity and the “Abrahamic” Religions

                      Maimon Schwarzschild put up a thought-provoking post last week about charity in the world. It starts thusly:

                      The New York Times ran a front-page story recently about an elderly man who starved to death in Japan, having been denied help by the welfare bureaucracy. The man kept a diary as he died: heartbreaking to read. The Japanese welfare bureaucracy seems to have been notably heartless, and not only in this case. There are other, similar cases of starvation in the past year or two in Japan, according to the Times.

                      There is this brief throwaway in the lengthy Times story:

                      With no religious tradition of charity, Japan has few soup kitchens or other places for the indigent. Those that exist — run frequently by Christian missionaries from South Korea or Japan’s tiny Christian population — cater mostly to the homeless.

                      Say what you will about the “Abrahamic” religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – can there be any doubt that they have brought an ethic of charity into a world that would otherwise be a crueler place?

                      The ancient, pagan world, for all its brilliance, was coldly cruel. The Hebrew Bible put enormous emphasis on charity, which was something radically new.

                      Some of the commenters have their own issues with Muslim charity (little at all, or only to other Muslims).

                      Maimon winds up with this thought to chew on.

                      If the Christian world is on its way to being post-Christian, will the tradition of Christian charity persist?

                      Or is the ethic of charity liable to go down with the faith that inspired it?

                      [tags]Maimon Schwarzschild,Abrahamic religions,Christianity,Judaism,Islam,paganism,charity[/tags]

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