Friday, July 07, 2006

Kabdehu v'hashdehu

Emes ve'Emuna reports that Evangelical Christian Pastor Hagee is organizing a 2000-man lobbying effort in Washington on behalf of Israel. Israel needs all the friends it can get and I welcome support from wherever it comes, but now might be a good time to take a look at another letter I wrote in the Jewish Press (Nov. 25, 2005). This was written before I started the blog and before I became aware of Slifkingate.

Wary Of Christian "Allies"
Re Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s op-ed article in the November 11 issue, “My Way or Foxman’s Way”:
Our Christian friends’ motives should be questioned and their friendship not taken at face value. They do seek to convert us to Christianity, and their support of Israel is rooted in their belief that their savior will reappear only when Jewish sovereignty in Israel is restored and the Jews converted. They do have a domestic agenda that bodes ill for us, and Mr. Foxman’s assertion that they aim to Christianize America is not far off the mark.Rabbi Lapin’s analysis of the economic and social changes in this country over the last 40 years is astoundingly simplistic. To cite just one example, our women do not work outside of home because of high taxes, regulatory pressures or feminist propaganda, but to afford exorbitant yeshiva tuition, for which their children all too often receive an inferior education.
If present trends continue, even two incomes will not be sufficient. I give it one generation until Orthodox couples send their children to public school simply because they cannot afford yeshiva. I already hear Hebrew in the halls of the public high school in Brooklyn where I teach biology. (Rabbi Lapin might find the article by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz that appeared on the page facing his own an interesting read.)
Our conservative Christian friends must be given to understand that while we appreciate their support for Israel, there will be no domestic quid pro quo. We stand with them on issues of national security and a strong defense (corollary A: If the draft is reinstated our sons must serve along with everybody else’s — no hiding out in yeshiva), but we are firmly committed to keeping the wall between church and state strong. That means, inter alia, no prayer in the public schools; America is more diverse today than it was at its founding and, if we are to have any security as a religious minority, it must be home to those who believe in any god or no god, who practice any religion or none at all.
It also means that science will be taught in the science classroom and religion will not be, which brings me to my final point. Rabbi Lapin cannot seem to write a column without a gratuitous attack on the theory of evolution. I which that he and his ilk would, just once, leave us biologists alone and attack quantum theory or the theory of relativity. If Rabbi Lapin would examine the work of Rav Kook and others he might find that the theory of evolution is no more incompatible with our faith than are the theories of chemistry and physics, but of course Rav Kook is treif in certain circles that, 60 years after the Holocaust, are still ideologically mired in the ghettos of Europe to which Christian believers had consigned us for so long.
Zev Stern, Ph.D.
Brooklyn, NY


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zev -

I just opened your earthlink message this AM, and I'm replying at the same sitting. I entirely agree with you about the danger of our historic "detente" with the evangelical movement, and wish I heard more voices on this view.
(I also see this note on the bottom of the comment screen, about "Comment moderation" being enabled. Does that mean others can censor this? Let's see.)
Take care, Alan

Sun Jul 09, 11:10:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a great letter. I really enjoyed reading it in the JPress, way back when.

Mon Jul 10, 10:01:00 PM EDT  
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