Posts tagged " American Alliance of Jews and Christians "

Is Evangelical Support Good for the Jews?

September 6th, 2018 Posted by AAJC Happenings, On Our Mind 4 comments

The following appeared in Jewish in Seattle magazine, the August/September 2018, edition. The question posed to Rabbi Daniel Lapin was, “Is Evangelical support good for the Jews?”

Forgive me for conforming to the rabbinic stereotype of answering a question with a question but when you ask “…good for the Jews?”  which Jews do you mean?  I often tell my audiences that if you gathered together, into a colossal stadium, every self-identifying American Jew, the only thing you could get us all to agree on is that Hitler was a very bad man.

Evangelical support is good for those Jews who see modern day Israel as a fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.  The nexus of American support for Israel is not Foggy Bottom. The State Department has long leaned Arab.  The United States was not the first country to recognize Israel in May 1948; the Soviet Union was.  But since 1948, Christian Evangelical strength in America has skyrocketed and paralleling it, so has American support for the Jewish state.  America’s Bible belt has become Israel’s safety belt.

For Jews who would rather see slightly less whole-hearted support for Israel and who would prefer a nuanced vision for the Middle East in which Jew and Arab are seen as equivalent partners with congruent understandings of peace, well, Evangelical support is not so good.

Should we criticize Evangelical support for being self-serving?  Though most Evangelicals dispute this, undoubtedly some Christians support Israel to accelerate messianic days.  Jewish law mandates that we owe a debt of gratitude even to someone wishing us harm but who unintentionally does us good.  At the very least we ought to gratefully welcome the support of those who wish us only good.

In today’s post-Christian Europe, Jewish men can no longer walk the streets of Paris, Manchester, Cologne, or Stockholm while wearing a kippah on their heads.  Evangelical philo-Semitism indirectly helps protect kippah-wearing men in America.  I for one, welcome their support and express a heartfelt thank you.

Don’t Disturb Me Now

July 24th, 2018 Posted by Thought Tools 15 comments

“Don’t disturb me now!”  How often have we used that phrase?  Looking back, whenever we’ve muttered, “Don’t disturb me now,” hasn’t it usually been said to a child?   The years inevitably go by and eventually you wish that your child would disturb you now.

Occasionally, we might say it to a spouse.  Then the years go by and you realize how much you’d give if only your spouse was there to disturb you now. Or any time.  Sometimes a customer walks into your store just as you’re getting ready to close up for the day.  You may not say it, but you’re thinking, “Don’t disturb me now!”  It’s good to remember those early days when you prayed for a customer to walk through the door.

It can happen that one is overtaken by an urgent call of nature at an inconvenient time, say, in the middle of an important meeting.  It would be perfectly normal to silently beseech one’s body, “Don’t disturb me now!”  A better response is to take care of bathroom business and then thank God for one’s body and its multiple complex orifices all of which open and close at the appropriate times.  Being able to relieve oneself regularly is a big blessing.

Blessings of all kinds come but we often miss them because they don’t necessarily come on our schedule.  “Don’t disturb me now” is just one way of banishing blessing.  Being so inwardly focused is another way of remaining oblivious to a blessing in the shape of an opportunity.  A business professional seeking to hire an associate can sometimes have such an overly defined candidate in mind that he ignores someone who’d be a spectacular employee.  A single man assuring all his married friends about how eager he is to find a spouse but with such a fixed picture in mind of the woman he imagines marrying that he all but eliminates the possibility of blessing finding him.

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A Rabbi’s Warning to Christians

December 28th, 2017 Posted by AAJC Happenings 128 comments

I am certainly not a Winston Churchill. I am not even a Jean Francois Revel. I am having enough trouble just trying to be a Lapin. But I am issuing a very serious warning about a problem with deep consequences, just as they did. It is a warning about the earliest stages of what could become a cataract of disasters if not resisted now.

During the 1930s, Winston Churchill desperately tried to persuade the English people and their government to see that Hitler meant to end their way of life. The British ignored Churchill, which gave Hitler nearly 10 years to build up his military forces. It wasn’t until Hitler actually drew blood that the British realized they had a war on their hands. It turned out to be a far longer and more destructive war than it needed to be had Churchill’s early warning been heeded.

In 1983, a brave French writer, Jean-Francois Revel, wrote a book called How Democracies Perish. In this remarkable volume, he described how communism’s aim is world conquest. For decades he had been trying to warn of communism’s very real threat. Yet in January 1982, a high State Department official said: “We Americans are not solving problems, we are the problem.” (Some things never change.) A good portion of the planet fell to communism, which brought misery and death to millions because we failed to recognize in time that others meant to harm us.

Heaven knows there was enough warning during the 1980s of the intention of part of the Islamic world to take yet another crack at world domination. Yet instead of seeing each deadly assault on our interests around the world as a test of our resolve, we ignored it. We failed the test and lost 3,000 Americans in two unforgettable hours.

I am not going to argue that what is happening now is on the same scale as the examples I cite above, but a serious war is being waged against a group of Americans. I am certain that if we lose this war, the consequences for American civilization will be dire.

Phase one of this war I describe is a propaganda blitzkrieg that is eerily reminiscent of how effectively the Goebbels propaganda machine softened up the German people for what was to come.

There is no better term than propaganda blitzkrieg to describe what has been unleashed against Christian conservatives recently.

Consider the long list of anti-Christian books that have been published in the past few years. Here are just a few samples of more than 50 similar titles, all from mainstream publishers:

American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America

The Baptizing of America: The Religious Right’s Plans for the Rest of Us

The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

Piety & Politics: The Right-wing Assault on Religious Freedom

Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism

Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America

Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right

What is truly alarming is that there are more of these books for sale at your local large book store warning against the perils of fervent Christianity than those warning against the perils of fervent Islam. Does anyone seriously think America is more seriously jeopardized by Christian conservatives than by Islamic zealots? I fear that many Americans believe just that in the same way that many pre-World War II Western intellectuals considered Churchill a bigger threat to peace than Hitler.

Some may say that today’s proliferation of anti-Christian print propaganda is nothing to become worried about. To them I ask two questions:

First, would you be so sanguine if the target of this loathsome library were Blacks or Jews? Just try changing the titles in some of the books I mention above to reflect racism or anti-Semitism instead of rampant anti-Christianism and you’ll see what I mean.

Second, major movements that changed the way Americans felt and acted came about through books, often only one book. Think of Rachel Carson’s 1962 error-filled Silent Spring that resulted in the pointless banning of the insecticide DDT and many unnecessary deaths. Other books that caused upheavals in our nation were Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, many of Ayn Rand’s books and of course Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

No, I would advise you not to underestimate the power of books to alter the behavior of the American public, and I fear for an America that has been influenced to detest Christianity by this hate-filled catalog.

It is not just books but popular entertainment also that beams the most lurid anti-Christian propaganda into the hearts and minds of viewers. One need only think of who the real targets of the comedic movie Borat are. The brilliant Jewish moviemaker Sacha Baron Cohen, as his title character, using borderline dishonest wiles, lures some innocent but unsophisticated country folk, obviously Christians, to join him in his outrageously anti-Semitic antics.  Cohen then triumphantly claims to have exposed anti-Semitism. In fact, he has revealed nothing other than the latent anti-Christianism of America’s social, economic and academic secular elites.  Many other movies and television productions echo this shameless anti-Christian bigotry in the name of entertainment.  Interestingly enough, their courage attacking Christian beliefs is never displayed by similarly irreverent and insulting assaults on Islam.

Even the recent PBS documentary, “Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence,” managed to do more attacking Christianity than defending Judaism.

Richard Dawkins, an Oxford University professor, is one of the generals in the anti-Christian army of the secular left. American academia treats him with reverence and hangs on his every word when he insists that “religious myths ought not to be tolerated.”

For those with a slightly more tolerant outlook, he asks, “It’s one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children?” He suggests that the state should intervene to protect children from their parents’ religious beliefs. Needless to say, he means Christian beliefs, of course. Muslim beliefs add to England’s charmingly diverse cultural landscape.

The war is against those who regard the Bible to be God’s revelation to humanity and the Ten Commandments to be His set of rules for all time. Phase one in this war is to make Christianity, well, sort of socially unacceptable. Something only foolish, poor and ugly people could turn to.

We have seen how a carefully constructed campaign pretty much made it socially unacceptable to drink and drive. For years, there had been stringent laws against drunk driving. They achieved little. In the end, the practice was all but eliminated by groups allied with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and their effective ways of changing the way Americans thought about it.

We have seen how a carefully constructed campaign has pretty much made it socially unacceptable to smoke. In the face of a relentless campaign (dare one call it propaganda?), Americans became docile and forfeited the right to make their own decisions. Nobody was willing to stand up to the no-smoking tyrants. Nobody even asked whether health was sufficient grounds for freedom to be reduced. Now, entire cities and even states have banned smoking, not only in public places but even in privately owned restaurants.

Tyranny comes when citizens are seduced into trading freedom for the promise of safety and security.

Considerably more intellectual energy is being pumped into the propaganda campaign against Christianity than was ever delivered to the anti-smoking or anti-drunk-driving campaigns. Fervent zealots of secularism are flinging themselves into this anti-Christian war with enormous fanaticism.

If they succeed, Christianity will be driven underground, and its benign influence on the character of America will be lost. In its place we shall see a sinister secularism that menaces Bible believers of all faiths. Once the voice of the Bible has been silenced, the war on Western Civilization can begin and we shall see a long night of barbarism descend on the West.

Without a vibrant and vital Christianity, America is doomed, and without America, the West is doomed.

Which is why I, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, devoted to Jewish survival, the Torah and Israel am so terrified of American Christianity caving in.

Many of us Jews are ready to stand with you. But you must lead. You must replace your timidity with nerve and your diffidence with daring and determination. You are under attack. Now is the time to resist it.  Defense will be far harder down the road if we ignore the danger signals now.

If your heart leads you to support our work at the American Alliance of Jews and Christians, there are three more days left in 2017!  We feel that it is important to have prominent Jewish voices on the right side in the struggle for America’s future and your gift helps us recruit and train those voices.

Whatever support you can give to our work will be very much appreciated. American Alliance of Jews and Christians (AAJC) is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization (EIN 26-07642520). You can make your tax-deductible gift by clicking HERE, or by mailing in your gift to AAJC, P.O. Box 58, Mercer Island, WA 98040 or by calling (888) 722-2441 and saying that you want to support AAJC.

Donate to AAJC today!

We at AAJC are thankful for…you

November 21st, 2017 Posted by AAJC Happenings 8 comments

Dear Friend—

With our uniquely American celebration—Thanksgiving—fast approaching, I want to thank you for your consistent and generous support of my work here at the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.  This year we have been focusing our efforts on these four challenges:

  • Teaching Jews what Christians do for Israel and the fight against anti-Semitism.
  • Fighting anti-Bible bigotry in education, entertainment, and politics.
  • Defending the dignity and morality of the profession of business.
  • Building Jewish support for Christian leaders attacked by militant secularists.

We are grateful for the many successes we have enjoyed and thank you for your participation without which, little could have been accomplished.

It’s already a year since I last fulfilled one of my responsibilities as president of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians, namely reminding you of our need and asking for your support.  It’s time for me to do it again but first, just a few paragraphs on our history:

I first began building bridges between Jews and Christians twenty-six years ago.  I was still serving as a congregational rabbi in Los Angeles when I realized that Jews lived more benignly, more tranquilly and more prosperously today in the United States than anywhere else in the world during the past two thousand years.  It was clear to me that this was precisely because America is a Christian country.

Yet it was also clear to me that Bible-believing Christians in America are vilified, insulted, and denied respect by many in media, entertainment, education, and government.  I thought then, and I still do today, that it’s crazy that more Jews are not defending Christians who are being attacked for holding those very values that we all, Jew and Christian, share.  After all, these values were not only the values of the forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but they were also the values of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America!   They need to be defended, not just by courageous Christians but also by Jews.

There are those in this country who try to discourage meaningful communication between Jews and Christians, because united we would present an almost irresistible force for spiritual renewal.  AAJC is determined to bring about communication and alliance.

I was blessed with some wonderful Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me as we began building the bridges that would one day become the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.

We felt bonded by the Bible.  We recognized that the central core of our culture was a majestic and mysterious book that has never been out of print since Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the middle of the 15th century.

Out of this came the American Alliance of Jews and Christians. 

I am asking for your help and support today.  I value your time and I appreciate you and the many other ways you help defend all that is good.  I know you support many worthy causes.

But if you’re still reading my words, you might like to know more about our work and perhaps help our work continue by means of an appropriate gesture of financial support.  Let me tell you a little more about the idea behind the AAJC and its goals and dreams.

The American Alliance of Jews and Christians grew from my deep conviction that despite theological differences, millions of Jews and Christians share a common vision of civilization and furthermore, definitely prefer civilization to its alternative—barbarism.

Civilization prefers tranquility to violence; it prefers men to treat women with respect and deference; it prefers freedom to centrally planned tyranny; it prefers people enjoying economic independence through their own efforts to socialism; it believes in charity by choice rather than in government redistribution by force; it believes that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman devoted to one another and to their children, and it believes that both the beginning and end of life should be in God’s hands alone.  Civilization engenders friendship, beauty, compassion, and courtesy rather than brutishness, filth, and vulgarity.  Like the American Founders, we prefer a Biblically inspired culture to the sordid stain of secularism and the socialistic society it tends to inspire.

I believe that America’s great blessings as well as the tranquil haven of prosperity she has provided for members of so many religious groups and nations are a result of these Biblically-inspired principles.

The ideas and systematic spiritual strategies of ancient Jewish wisdom were well known to and appreciated by most Christian leaders of colonial America.

This is why Mayflower Pilgrim, William Bradford, wrote the first few pages of his book of the history of the Plymouth Plantation in the Hebrew language.  This is why great spiritual leaders like Ezra Styles, later to become president of Yale University and pastors like Cotton Mather all knew the Lord’s language, Hebrew.

One New England pastor, Abiel Abbot wrote in 1799 these words, “The people of the United States come nearer to a parallel with Ancient Israel, than any other nation upon the globe.”  By the way his parents named him Abiel because in Hebrew the name means God is my father.

The eminent 19th century Irish historian, William Lecky wrote:  Hebraic mortar cemented the foundations of American democracy.  Here at the American Alliance of Jews and Christians we work on supplying that mortar.

Just as ancient Israel arrived in the Promised Land with nothing but a set of Biblically-based ideas and proceeded to carve a civilization out of a wilderness, those great early Americans did the same thing.  They crossed an ocean bearing little more than those timeless truths of the Bible and they too carved a great civilization out of a great wilderness.

Now plucking a flower from its roots and bringing it indoors to enjoy might seem like a good idea but pretty soon we discover that anything severed from its roots dies mighty quickly.  Similarly, the great ideas of western civilization have roots too.  Those roots are enshrined in the page of Scripture. And trying to disconnect civilization from its roots assures it of a rapid demise.

Therein lays the sacred mission of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.  Keeping civilization attached to its Judeo-Christian spiritual roots to maintain it as a fresh, strong, and influential force.

Our weekly Thought Tools as well as the books and audio CDs we help make available, our daily TV show on TCT Television Network, and our podcast are part of how we provide the intellectual ammunition for good men and women all over the world to deploy in the struggle to defend civilization and protect all we hold dear.

Today, steadfast vision and calm courage is needed to defend that civilization, the culmination of two millennia of Judeo-Christian achievement.  Helping it remain attached to its roots, able to draw nourishment and endurance from those roots is our task.

Your generosity has enabled the AAJC to bring the tools and the inspiration to millions of people via radio, television, personal appearances, and our books and audio CDs that today are found on every continent.  You enabled us to bring aboard the well-known Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt of Dallas as director and you helped make it possible for me to address audiences in over forty synagogues, churches, and business organizations during 2017. 

This coming year, 2018, we hope to do even more.  We would like to expand the scope of AAJC’s activities reaching many more.  We hope to increase the opportunities for injecting the civilization-protecting principles into all corners of the culture.

With your help this can be done.  I am not going to suggest how much you should or can give. This is an intensely personal decision; however I will tell you that for our programmed activities in 2018, we have planned a program requiring a budget of $1,400,000.

This is a lot of money but I have prayed about this and know that with our large body of active supporters it can happen.  It is up to you and up to me.  If you give us the tools, I can assure you that we will do the job.

Whatever support you can give to our work will be very much appreciated. American Alliance of Jews and Christians (AAJC) is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization (EIN 26-07642520). You can make your tax-deductible gift by clicking HERE, or by mailing in your gift to AAJC, P.O. Box 58, Mercer Island, WA 98040 or by calling (888) 722-2441 and saying that you want to support AAJC.

May God bless you and protect you and may we all be privileged to do our part in protecting the legacy He entrusted to humanity on Mount Sinai over three thousand years ago.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin

President

American Alliance of Jews and Christians

 

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