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2.06.2007    |    " the rest of mankind as well"
Ah, Richard Cohen. One of my favorite liberal columnists. While I usually disagree with him on political and philosophical grounds, every now and again he comes up with something right. No, not right as in conservative; but as in correct, even though it grates to admit it.

In his column today he reminds us that anti-Semitism is not a club to be used on any and everyone who criticizes Israel. As Cohen has done, on several occasions. But, for writing the following, all is forgiven:
At times, I [Cohen] have written coldly and provocatively about Israel, maybe once or twice in anger. This, in turn, has angered some readers who knew what I was thinking but not what I was feeling -- that, at bottom, I had a strong emotional attachment to Israel. It is a country whose survival is not only important for the Jewish people but for the rest of mankind as well. I can enumerate many reasons why I support Israel -- it's a legitimate state, a real democracy, etc. But it is also where Jews went to escape the killers; to ignore that is to extinguish the twin lights of morality and memory and leave the world even darker than it now is.
Anyone who opens a bible, whether a Tanach or a Christian bible, can read the story of how the Jews were chosen to keep God in the world. One may choose to believe, or not, the stories, and the history of the Jews. But there can be no mistaking that the moral grounding for our society is to be found in the pages that also tell the history of the Jews. And, that Israel today is the home for the remnant of Israel. The remnant that the rest of the world did not destroy.

Two things might be argued. First, other religions have come up with very similar rules for moral conduct. "Thou shalt not murder" comes to mind. Second, many Christians throughout history were taught by their priests and pastors that Christianity had superceded Judaism, that the Jews were no longer God's chosen people.

Neither of these things changes the essential truth that annoys many anti-Semites: for better or for worse, Western society uses the specific morality given to the Jews by God and recorded in scripture. That morality is tempered, for believing Christians, by God's son who died for all of our sins. As for those who confess neither Judaism nor Christianity, we Christians would like to invite them in. Whether they join us or not, the truth remains the truth -- it is not conditioned on time, place, or culture.

Jesus, when he walked among us, reminded us that until all passes away, until, that is, the end of the world, God's law remains in force (Matthew 5:18). And that is the law given to, and preserved by, the Jews.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.