Sun Jul 1, 2012, 01:02 PM
rug (54,211 posts)
A very young Judeo-Christian tradition
Our country’s religious identity is a surprisingly new -- and it hasn’t always meant what it does now.
By Andrew Preston
July 01, 2012
With the Fourth of July approaching, people across the nation are preparing to celebrate what it means to be American. Even in times of unity, this means different things to different people. Add religion, and things get trickier still. These days, one of the most politically loaded ways to describe America’s national identity is as “Judeo-Christian.”
Today, the term tends to be used by Republicans as a way to rally their supporters around a presumed set of traditional values. During the GOP primaries, Rick Santorum invoked the term in an attack on Barack Obama’s health care plan (“a president who is systematically trying to crush the traditional Judeo-Christian values of America”); more benignly, Mitt Romney credited America’s world stature to “our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life.”
Implicit in all these references is a deep sense of history, in particular a belief that the United States is, and has always been, a nation rooted in the faiths of the Old and New Testaments. Those who hold this view assume that the Founders grounded American democracy in Judeo-Christian values and ethics. Those who differ argue that the Founders took pains to separate church from state, and that the idea that the United States is historically Judeo-Christian is a conservative myth.
Yet both sides are mistaken. The Judeo-Christian “tradition” is not as old as people think. If it had a precise date of origin, we would likely be marking its 75th anniversary this year. And perhaps more surprisingly, considering how the term is used now, the notion of a “Judeo-Christian tradition” was born during the presidency of a liberal Democrat, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
To each according to his need.
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A very young Judeo-Christian tradition (Original post)
|Adsos Letter||Jul 2012||#5|
Response to pinto (Reply #3)
Sun Jul 1, 2012, 01:51 PM
immoderate (16,866 posts)
4. Yes. And there are outliers. Mainly secularists.
Most of the people who talk about Judeo-Christian beliefs want the Jews to return to Israel so as to bring on the end times.
Response to rug (Original post)
Sun Jul 1, 2012, 04:13 PM
Adsos Letter (14,494 posts)
The best three semesters of my college experience were spent in an extended course examining the evolving meanings of that very term.
Time just gets away from us.