A friend of mine from our synagogue brought to my attention a wonderful article that serves as an essay prompt. This article is about Trump (heh heh, I first typed Tramp) attending the Voters Values conference — an evangelical voting group — and wading into the culture wars. Some relevant quotes from the article:
“We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values,” Trump said to applause, before slamming people who don’t say “Merry Christmas.”
“They don’t use the word Christmas because it is not politically correct,” Trump said, complaining that department stores will use red and Christmas decorations but say “Happy New Year.” “We’re saying Merry Christmas again.”
I’m sorry, but what Trump is promoting is NOT Judeo-Christian values. If it was, it wouldn’t be shaming Jews who say “Happy Chanukkah” or “Happy Holidays”. In fact, it isn’t even Christian values, which are much more accepting of people and socially forward. It is specifically Evangelical Christian values, which promote the idea that you are not saved by Jesus unless you have accepted him and all the tenets of their version of Christianity — and to many extents, it goes beyond that to White Evangelical values, which view Jesus as a white man, and view every other religion and skin color as not worthy of being saved, and hence inferior and of no value.
This is a view that was related last night on the new Fox series The Orville, with a storyline about an alien race who believed that its religious doctrine gave it the right of superiority of other races and species. It was the only species with a soul, and that gave it the right to destroy anything it deemed inferior, and to devalue anything developed by a soul-less people. The skin of these people was pale white, and what destroys them is transparency.
I’m sorry, Mr. Trump, but the values you and your core followers are trying to protect are not Judeo-Christian, and are barely even Christian, based on my understanding of Christianity.
- Judaism teaches the value of human life, and putting the life of the mother (who can go on to have more children) over the life of an unborn child. Abortion is permitted, and birth control is permitted. Your actions to limit both are against Jewish thought.
- Judaism teaches the value of human life, and thus, the value of healthcare. If it is within your power to provide such care, you do. Your policies are actually making health care less available and of lower quality, injuring life.
- Judaism constantly reminds us that we should always remember that we were once slaves, and watch out for the poor among us. It also teaches that the greatest charity is that which comes when you don’t know the giver. Thus, Judaism supports all the social programs that provide safety nets without guilt or shaming. You want to dismantle those programs.
- Judaism emphasizes the importance of Justice. You work against that when you mistreat minorities and others with pre-existing conditions (race, sex, orientation, religion, gender).
- Judaism understand the importance of the separation of Church and State, and that the State should not be imposing any particular set of religious values. Whenever that has happened, it has been bad for the Jews. Yet what you have been proposing and encouraging is just that: enforcing values that are not Judaism on Jews.
Further, your administration has been tacitly encouraging white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and antisemites. Instead of harshly condemning them, you equivocate and indicate that both sides are at fault. Since when are Jews worshipping at a synagogue in Charlottesville at fault for their worship, worthy of having antisemites with swastikas pointing weaponry at them. Is that a Judeo-Christian value that you uphold?
Would you stand against mistreatment of Jews by law enforcement — if it came to that — just as we’ve seen you standing up against law enforcement’s mistreatment of blacks and hispanics and people from the Middle East? Oh, right, you haven’t done that.
Would we see you speaking out against any double standard for serial sexual abuse and harassment? You’re quick to condemn Harvey Weinstein — a white Jew and a liberal. But where is the acceptance of your own sordid history of equivalent or worse behavior? If it disqualifies men like Weinstein and Weiner, why isn’t it disqualifying people like Newt Gingrich and you? It is acceptable if it is done by a White Christian, because we know they are superior and thus have the right to do so? Is that the Judeo-Christian value that you defend?
You constantly speak out wanting to muzzle the media, but what media do you want to muzzle, and what is that code for? It is a coincidence that the organizations you want to muzzle are the ones not espousing a strictly evangelical-supportive view? When you listen to the hateful rhetoric of antisemites, who are they saying controls the media organizations you hate, vs. the media organizations they love. Is that a Judeo-Christian value?
In truth, Mr. Trump, the only value you respect is the value that lines your pocket or massages your ego. But the gospel of prosperity — and especially Trump prosperity — is not a Judeo-Christian value. It is worship of the self, without any regard for your place in the Kingdom to Come. It is living for what you can get now, not the value you would have in the afterlife by living as Jesus taught, caring about others and going out of your way to life up the whores in the street. For someone who purports to be a Christian, where is your demonstration of Christian values (as opposed to your pandering for Christian votes).
Mr. Trump, there is no “war on Christmas” (except by those commercial entities who have made the focus profit, instead of the birth of Jesus). I won’t get upset if you wish me a Merry Christmas. But I’ll get really upset if you shame me for wishing you a Happy Chanukkah back. I’ll get really upset if you push your evangelical values on me claiming they are Jewish or even real Christian values.
In the episode of The Orville last night, the Krill were destroyed by sunlight. In political parlance, sunlight laws open up what is being done for all to see — no secret meetings, no secret agendas, no countries behind the scenes working on other agendas. Mr. Trump — you are Krill — and continued sunlight by the media and investigations will be your downfall, especially as people learn the truth about what you are doing.