Michael Medved, in Commentary, says Jews have more in common with conservative Evangelicals than they think — and not just on the subject of Israel. Excerpt:

The much larger problem with this line of thought is that the supposedly fundamental splits on basic core values between Jews and Christians do not actually exist. In which areas, exactly, can committed Jews identify irreconcilable differences with serious Christians when it comes to most significant questions of morals, ethics, and righteous behavior? Does anyone suppose that our Baptist neighbors cherish the centrality of the family less passionately than we do, or display a weaker commitment to acts of compassion for the poor, or express a more feeble determination to repair a broken world in the tradition of tikkun olam? Anyone who honestly believes that born-again believers neglect their obligation to “love your neighbor as yourself” hasn’t visited their churches and schools and service organizations to witness the prodigious acts of loving kindness that sometimes put our communal efforts to shame. Aside from such impressionistic evidence, there’s a wealth of data in Arthur C. Brooks’s indispensable 2006 book, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, which shows that evangelicals honor the great Jewish tradition of tzedakah at least as well as we do.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Christian conservatives share the common attitudes of the Upper West Side on explosive social issues such as abortion, gay marriage, or gun control, but it would be difficult to claim that those purportedly enlightened approaches are somehow inherently and authentically Jewish. Talmudic law may take a slightly less restrictive view of abortion (particularly when preserving the life of the mother) than do some of the more unbending Christian interpretations, but long-standing Jewish religious tradition still lines up with National Right to Life far more closely than it does with Planned Parenthood.

When it comes to same-sex marriage, leaders of Reform Judaism (and, increasingly, Conservative Judaism as well) may insist that conscience impels their support, but this ethical position derives from a contemporary liberal worldview more than any scriptural outlook that counts as Biblical or Rabbinic.

 

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