Rabbi debunks left’s claim conservatives want to force ‘Christian values’ on Americans

By Around the Web

(Photo by Joe Kovacs)
(Photo by Joe Kovacs)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

By Tyler O’Neil
The Daily Signal

OXON HILL, Md.—Rabbi Yaakov Menken, whose organization represents more than 2,000 Orthodox Jewish rabbis on public policy, told The Daily Signal that his group constitutes living proof that social conservatives aren’t trying to force “Christian values” down Americans’ throats, as many on the Left claim.

When conservatives speak up, “the Left will immediately claim that only Christians believe this; therefore, you’re trying to shove Christian values down America’s throat; therefore, it’s a violation of [the separation of] church and state to be pro-life, or to be pro-family, or any of these things,” Menken, managing director of the Baltimore-based Coalition for Jewish Values, said in an interview at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC.

He recalled that “the Jewish Left” attacked his organization early on by describing it as “espousing positions more often associated with evangelical Christians. To which our unwritten response was, ‘Well, yeah, where do you think the evangelicals got them from?’”

Menken noted that conservative values “need a Jewish voice,” and his organization emerged because a group of Orthodox rabbis realized that “there was nobody speaking out on behalf of Jewish tradition.”

“All you were hearing was partisan leftism disguised as if it were Jewish values,” he recalled. The rabbi noted that many on the Jewish Left cite the notion of Tikkun Olam, or “Repairing the World,” as an excuse to advocate for whatever political goals they espouse and claim it is a part of their faith.

“Anything I want to do is ‘repairing the world’; so, my own personal ideology is therefore Judaism, which means you can be on two sides of an issue and both claim to be representing Jewish values,” Menken said. “It doesn’t work that way, obviously, and the whole point of the Bible is there is a moral standard that everybody’s supposed to follow, and you don’t get to remake it on the fly.”

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The rabbi noted that on “certain issues,” in order to be “a traditional rabbi, you have to come out a certain way, and people don’t realize that the overwhelming majority of rabbis in America are on the right wing, very conservative in their values, as compared to the average Jew.”

Menken explained that, while Christians who reject Christianity are no longer referred to as Christian, but make up the atheist Left, “you could be a Jew and not believe in Judaism.” This leads to the phenomenon where “you have this image of the Jews as being all on the Left, whereas the involved Jews and the rabbis, those who actually know Judaism and those who let Judaism drive their values, are on the Right, and they needed to have a voice.”

The rabbi also countered what he called the “asinine” idea that abortion is a religious freedom issue for Jews.

“The idea that an elective abortion is a religious obligation is obviously asinine,” Menken said. “It doesn’t begin to make logical sense.”

He mocked the idea of “Jews for feticide” and warned that weaponizing religious liberty in this way is “profoundly dangerous” because “if everything becomes a religious liberty issue, then nothing is a religious liberty issue.”

The Coalition for Jewish Values claimed credit when House Republicans, led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., booted Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this year.

The coalition had sent letters to then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., but she never acted on them. “This is tolerating antisemitism in Congress,” Menken argued. He recalled that when he sent a similar letter to McCarthy, “the [House majority] whip’s office sent it out to every legislative director on the Republican side, who had a copy of our letter.”

“It looked like Speaker McCarthy did not have the votes, and then it turned out that he did, after our letter,” Menken said. “So, at least according to others, we were somehow responsible, or partially responsible, for that happening.”

The Coalition for Jewish Values also sent a letter to Amazon, urging the Big Tech company to stop relying on the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center for its Amazon Smile program. The SPLC routinely brands mainstream conservative and Christian organizations “hate groups,” putting them on a map alongside chapters of the Ku Klux Klan. A terrorist used the SPLC map to target the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian nonprofit, in 2012.

Menken recalled that someone referred to him as the “Jewish Tony Perkins,” referring to the Family Research Council’s president.

“Well, I take that as a compliment,” Menken said. “I mean, he’s out there fearlessly espousing basic traditional values, and he does it on the Christian side, and I’m doing it on the Jewish side.”

We are Orthodox Jews. Anything the woke left calls ‘hateful,’ ‘bigoted’ and ‘racist,’ we do,” he added.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

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