If you have been reading Thought Tools for a while or enjoyed any of our other ancient Jewish wisdom resources, you probably suspect, correctly, that you have a better Jewish education than most secular people of Jewish descent. You might even know that the entire Jewish nation take its name from Jacob’s fourth son, Judah. Why is this so? Because the meaning of Judah, Yehuda in Hebrew, is gratitude, and ancient Jewish wisdom identifies the trait of gratitude as one of the most important defining characteristics of Jewish identity.
Although descended from Jewish bloodlines, Bernie Sanders probably doesn’t know the above information and as a declared atheist he has chosen to reject his ancestors’ faith. Nonetheless, in the eyes of America and the world he is a Jew. For this reason, I am sharing an important column written by our friend Ben Stein, which so effectively captures the view of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians. It was just published in The Spectator (www.Spectator.org) where his work regularly appears. I am grateful for permission to share it with our Thought Tool subscribers.
Ben Stein’s Diary
I am a Jew. All of my ancestors have been Jews since Judaism was founded almost 6,000 years ago on the belief of a monotheistic God. I pray in Hebrew every morning and every night. And I am deeply, cruelly, painfully embarrassed at my fellow Jew, Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont.
Within the last few days, from his nuthouse chair in a U.S. Senate Committee Room, he blasted a fine man named Russell Vought. Mr. Vought had been nominated by another fine man, Donald Trump, President of the United States, to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. That’s an extremely hard job. I worked with those brilliant people forty some years ago, especially with the mega genius, Paul O’Neil, on a bill to provide universal health care to all Americans. I guess it would have been called Nixon-Care if it had passed.
Mr. Vought was tormented and lectured to by Bernie Sanders because he had written some time earlier that he was a Christian and he felt as if all men and women who were not Christian “stood condemned” before God. Sanders said this statement was “Islamophobic,” a favorite phrase of trouble makers. He said it also offended Jews. And as he yelled at Mr. Vought, Mr. Vought simply stood his ground and said, basically, “I am a Christian and I am not going to walk away from Christ.”
This left Bernie sputtering with impotent rage.
But I am a lot more of a Jew than Bernie Sanders (my family never changed our names and I unabashedly support Israel). And I am HUMILIATED that a fellow Jew took it on himself to mock and belittle those who trust and believe in Christ, Jesus. We live in a country that is a free country as far as the worship of God is concerned. We Jews have been taken in and loved and cared for by the great majority of Americans who are Christian. This is a free country but it is also a Christian country, to be honest. And the Christians here have been saintly to us Jews. A large example—Go to the U.S. cemetery at Normandy and look at the endless rows of gravestones for those who were killed by the tough as nails Nazis in Normandy. Those gravestones are overwhelmingly crosses.
The men under those crosses were not Jews. Yet they freely gave their lives to save the world — and Jews in particular — from the Nazis’ genocide against us Jews. I feel an on-my-knees gratitude to the men buried there and all over the world who died young to protect us from the race killers.
And now cometh Bernie Sanders, a Jew, to mock the way of the cross and say it offends Muslims. Guess what, Bernie: It wasn’t Muslims who saved America. It wasn’t Muslims who saved us Jews. It was the American Christian who believed that those who do not follow Christ will be judged harshly for it on Judgment Day.
Now, these people — and I especially include my wife’s family, from beloved Arkansas — are saints to me. If they want to believe in Christ and that no man cometh to the Father but through the Son, I’m all for it. I’m all for anything they want to believe. And a belief in a merciful, loving God, is very far from something I want to question. I need all of the loving and forgiveness I can get. So does everyone I know, Jew or Gentile. I don’t believe that American Christians are filled with Judgment and I am quite sure that it is this forbearance that I will have to thank for every day I have above ground here on earth. I would happily go back on my horse and go to work for Russell Vought at OMB if I were younger and I don’t believe he would mistreat me. If he wants to believe I stand condemned because I was not baptized, he’s welcome to it and I pray that he’s wrong. But I know that here on earth, God’s work must surely be our own (in JFK’s words). And here on earth, the people who do the work of kindness and compassion are Christians. I am not the slightest bit worried about America’s Christians. I am terrified of the Muslims — not here, but all over the world in whatever hellhole they are planning their next attack. And, yes, I do believe the great majority of American Muslims are fine people. (Although I do wonder where the million man Muslim marches condemning Islamic terror are here in America or in London or in Manchester. What are they waiting for?)
So, Senator Sanders, I am not scared to death of Christ or of your Christophobia. Christianity, here in America, which has been such a great friend of us Jews, is far too powerful to be taken down by one angry Vermonter. But I am scared that as a nation, we among the political and media self-selected elite, so strongly blast “Islamophobia” but do not hear the onrushing sounds of Christophobia throughout the world and especially here at home.
Senator Sanders. This is a free country, as I keep saying. And it is also a Christian country. And this country has been unbelievably good to us Jews. I am ashamed of you and your fear and hatred of the religion that has, here in the glorious USA, made heaven on earth for us followers of the Old Book. But I am minded of something you should hear from the lips of the Fisherman. “Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more.”
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Thank you, Ben Stein, for saying so eloquently what so badly needed to be said. We are grateful to you.