“..Are you offended when people pray out loud in public places?” I asked my interview guest.
It was 2006 and U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, a Democrat, was on his way to losing with his own party. I suspected at the time that Mr. Lieberman was in trouble with fellow Democrats because – at least in part – he was “too religious” (after all, he has been known to “give thanks to Yahweh” in public from time to time). So I asked prominent conservative Jewish commentator and columnist Rich Galen to offer his insights on my daily talk show.
“Absolutely not” Galen responded when I asked about public prayer being offensive. “And if I’m with Christian friends and they pray before a meal” he continued in his usual good-natured wit, “when they get to the part where they say ‘in Jesus’ name,’ I always shout ‘Amen!,’ because, you know, I need all the help I can get – and what the heck, you Christian folks might be right about the Messiah thing!”
I wish more Americans – Jews and Gentiles alike – had Rich Galen’s respectful, “live and let live” outlook on the expression of Judeo-Christian traditions (I wish more of us had his sense of humor, too). Unfortunately many Jews in America seem quite indifferent about their own cultural and faith heritage (whether or not they take the religion of “Judaism” seriously), while far too many Democrats have moved from being indifferent to being hostile towards traditional religious beliefs. These factors, combined with a U.S. foreign policy that is now decidedly anti-Israel, could mean serious trouble for both our own nation and our historic Middle Eastern ally.
The plight of Senator Joe Lieberman over the past decade is an important chapter in America’s “indifference- to-hostility” story. Lieberman, who is not only Jewish but an “Observant Orthodox Jew,” lost favor with his own Connecticut Democrat Party back in 2006 because he was supposedly too supportive of “Bush’s war” in Iraq. Thus, Democrats in The Constitution State ran a challenger candidate that year who was more genuinely “anti-Bush,” and who went on to win the state-wide Democrat primary race.
Of course after his primary election loss, Senator Lieberman ran as an Independent against the Democrat nominee and easily won re-election to another Senate term. Yet it was nonetheless amazing to watch Joe Lieberman – the man who Democrats celebrated in 2000 as the “first Jewish candidate for Vice President on a major party ticket” – get politically crucified by Democrats only six years later.
I sensed at the time that the “anti-Lieberman” sentiment was not just about him being “pro-Bush.” I suspected that Lieberman’s religiosity was problematic as well, given that the Senator has always spoken eloquently about the importance of “traditional religious values” in public life. This kind of “God talk,” even when it comes from Joe Lieberman, has no place in what has become an obsessively secular Democrat Party. And now, with the remaining vestiges of Judeo-Christian tradition having been swept away, and with Barack Obama as the party’s leader, American Democrats are enabling evil and undermining virtue in the Middle East.
President Obama’s “demand” that Israel reign-in its territorial borders and make way for a new Palestinian State has sent U.S.-Israeli relations to a new low point, and could potentially endanger the entire world. While the President’s proposal is being described as a “brilliant new strategy” in the never-ending quest for Middle East peace, it is born out of a very flawed, very humanistic, very secular set of assumptions.
In short, the "secular assumption process" goes something like this: A) Religious traditions, cultures, world views, and moral systems are all relative to one another; none of them are any better than the others (thus Judaism is no better than Islam, Israel is no better than the Muslim nations, etc…); B) The only reason that an adherent to a particular religion or world view, or a member of any particular culture would do harm to anybody else is because of an unjust power struggle –those who do harm to others do so simply because they haven’t been given adequate material provision and economic opportunity; and C) If government can be used to “level the playing field” – that is, if the “strong” can be made a bit weaker, and the “weak” can be made stronger -then some arbitrary definition of “fairness” will ensue and everyone will begin to peacefully coexist
These three simplistic assumptions are believed to be true among many American Democrats, including many Jews. But if these assumptions were objectively true, then Muslim nations like Iran, Syria, Libya and Pakistan would produce a track record of universal human rights that compared to that of Israel and the United States.
Yet as much as President Obama reiterates that we are “all on the same page,” the fact is that we are not. The nations that comprise the “Muslim world” have some of the worst track records on basic human rights, including concerns over the treatment of women, homosexuals, and the poor.
The "indifference-to-hostility" shift among American Democrats, including many American Jews, is politically enabling a very destructive shift in American foreign policy. Will Jewish Americans change course, before it’s "too late" for Israel?