A rabbi’s warning to U.S. Christians
by RABBI DANIEL LAPIN
I am certainly not a Churchill. I am not even a Revel. I am having enough trouble just trying to be a Lapin. But I am issuing a very serious warning about 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 recent months. Here are just a few samples of more than 30 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 Westerners considered Churchill a bigger threat than Hitler.
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 Westerners considered Churchill a bigger threat 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 Jewish? Just try changing the titles in some of the books I mention above to reflect 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 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 recent hit 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.
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.
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.
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.
Published by permission of Rabbi Daniel Lapin.
Prior to his immigration to the United States from South Africa in 1973 Rabbi Daniel Lapin studied theology, physics, economics, and mathematics in London and Jerusalem . He is the founding Rabbi of the Pacific Jewish Center, a now legendary Orthodox synagogue in Venice, California. He and his family relocated to Washington State in 1991 to develop Toward Tradition and host a nationally syndicated weekly radio show. Rabbi Lapin has written for the Wall Street Journal, National Review, Commentary, the American Enterprise, and the Washington Times, and has taught at the Christian Coalition, U.S. Army, Harvard Law School, and the Family Research Council. He also serves on the board of the Jewish Policy Center in Washington, DC, and was recently appointed to a U.S. presidential commission. He is the author of America’s Real War, Buried Treasure and most recently Thou Shall Prosper. Rabbi Lapin is the author of Buried Treasure: Hidden Wisdom from the Hebrew Language, Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money, and Americas Real War. Rabbi Daniel Lapin is a member of the Advisory Board of the Catholic Education Resource Center.
Copyright © 2007 Rabbi Daniel Lapin