Rod Dreher’s post on “Jews, Godlessness and Politics” quotes David Goldman extensively, but doesn’t make it clear whether he agrees with Goldman’s assessment of the differences between the invocations. Allow me to forcefully disagree.
Rabbi Soloveichik’s invocation begins with the quote from Leviticus that adorns the Liberty Bell: “proclaim liberty throughout the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.” As Rabbi Soloveichik surely knows, the original context of that quote has nothing to do with the conception of liberty articulated by the GOP convention, or by the high priests of Fusionism. Here’s the complete verse:
And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof; it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Lev 25:10)
The context is the jubilee year, the fiftieth year when all mortgages are canceled, and all those subject to enslavement for debt are freed.
If thy brother be waxen poor, and sell some of his possession, then shall his kinsman that is next unto him come, and shall redeem that which his brother hath sold.
And if a man have no one to redeem it, and he be waxen rich and find sufficient means to redeem it;
then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; and he shall return unto his possession.
But if he have not sufficient means to get it back for himself, then that which he hath sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubilee; and in the jubilee it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession.
And Leviticus 25:39-43:
And if thy brother be waxen poor with thee, and sell himself unto thee, thou shalt not make him to serve as a bondservant.
As a hired servant, and as a settler, he shall be with thee; he shall serve with thee unto the year of jubilee.
Then shall he go out from thee, he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.
For they are My servants, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as bondmen.
Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God.
That is the liberty that is to be proclaimed throughout the land. That the shackles of debt – legitimate, legal shackles, accepted freely as a contract between the shackler and shacklee – shall not be permanent, but shall, at the jubilee, be canceled.
Goldman is right that the GOP faithfully attended Rabbi Soloveichik’s invocation, and he is right that his invocation bore more similarity to the Catholic prelate’s prayer than the prayer of Rabbi Wolpe. That’s because both Rabbi Soloveichik and Cardinal Dolan were reading from the same hymnal, the Book of Fusion. And that is neither an authentic Catholic nor an authentic Jewish prayerbook.
Dreher, of all people, should call this stuff out. I worry more about the corruption of authentic belief than about the blathering of spiritual drifters. Because drifters will drift. But when they come to shore, what will they find there?