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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

More On American Christians

Skip March joins in one the issue of the Judeo-Christian discussion in the post below: "What Are American Christians?"

He wrote:

I am jumping in late here, but better late than never I suppose. I have had a number of conversations with Christians and Jews about the relationship of the 2 faiths. To me it is clear that without the Jewish faith there would be no Christianity. Without going too deeply into theological discussion, Jesus never considered himself to be anything other than a Jew. His issue was with the religious hierarchy at the time which he felt was corrupting the faith. This is not unlike Martin Luther who considered himself a Catholic, but objected to what he viewed as various corruptions by the hierarchy, as in the Pope. Secondly Jesus also wanted to take the relationship with God to the level the Jewish scriptures articulated, not what was being articulated by the hierarchy.

As for the more open acceptance in the US of the closeness of the 2 faiths, there is little doubt that Europe has had centuries of anti-semitism, institutionalized by the Catholic Church, which took on cultural and political implications, too many to enumerate here. Those who came to the US from Europe were not without their biases for sure, but they understood the more destructive elements of European religion, politics, culture....things they were attempting to escape themselves. These were also people who held very closely their relationship to God, a one God that is the center of both the Jewish and Christian faiths

These things being said, it is the challenge of all individuals and then in turn the political, cultural and political institutions that they populate to ensure they abide by the values that they claim to embrace. Yes, you can be a Christian or a Jew and not embrace/live by Judeo-Christian values. Just as we can be American citizens, but not embrace American values as articulated by our founding fathers and documents.

I had a conversation once with a fellow worker, who claimed to be an American and a communist. I suggested that one could not embrace American values and communist values and went on to provided specifics examples, too many to enumerate here. In the end she seemed to agree with me that embracing American values means embracing the dignity and the worth of the individual while communism does not. I don't know that she completely agreed with me that communism actually destroys the worth and the dignity of the individual, but some progress made.

Whew..a lot of territory covered here. Hopefully I did not do an injustice to such an important and often emotional subject.


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