Republican Party

Religious Right’s Pet Rabbi Calls Liberty Twisted and Diseased


David Duke’s pal Rabbi Daniel Lapin, whom we might do well to think of as the Religious Right’s pet rabbi, appeared on Glenn Beck’s television show Thursday to call liberalism a “twisted and diseased pathology.” Since liberalism is all about liberty, this statement alone tells you what modern-day conservatism thinks about liberty.

Lapin, whom Glenn Beck has called “David Barton on steroids,” laments that we are not “one nation under God” and thinks we’d all be better “behaved” (translate: do what conservatives want us to do) if we all worried about God looking over our shoulders.

Watch courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

It’s pretty easy to see here with what conservatives want to replace liberty. If you’re wondering what I mean, consider that Lapin once told the Washington Post, “Republican principles are more closely parallel the moral vision of the God of Abraham than those of anyone else.”

And according to Lapin if we continue down the path sown by liberalism and secular humanism, we will somehow end up like Christian and archly conservative Nazi Germany, as though liberty is the road to totalitarianism. Fortunately, our Founding Fathers were better at this than Lapin and Beck.

I think you begin to see the problem here with Lapin. Back in 2006 BlatherWatch called Daniel Lapin the “show rabbi of racists” and opined that “If you’re right-wing and you need a Jew to make you look tolerant- who do you call? Why ‘Everybody’s Rabbi,’ Daniel Lapin.”

That’s pretty much what Glenn Beck did Thursday. And let’s face it: if anybody needs to look tolerant, its Glenn Beck, who apparently (you can never be sure with Beck’s incoherent ramblings) said Friday on his radio show that God trusts the tea party and that everything will be right in the world once we “rid ourselves of those progressive ideas.”

Lapin, like Beck, is a strange fellow: an orthodox Jewish rabbi who seems more pro-Christian than pro-Jewish, particularly in that he speaks of a shared “Judeo-Christian” heritage that is itself the figment of the Christian mind. The two religions have little in common after all. Judaism has the Law of Moses; Christianity has Jesus. Jesus is a huge non-starter for a number of reasons, as is the trinity, because in Judaism God cannot be divided.

And from his utterances Lapin does seem to identify more strongly with right-wing Christian ideology than with his own religion. As his Wikipedia entry puts it, “He argues that it is better for Jews to promote shared Judeo-Christian values with the majority than promote solely Jewish values.” Considering the values espoused by Lapin’s Religious Right buddies, that doesn’t leave much room for Judaism.

If Lapin doesn’t sound much like a Jew, he also does not sound much like a follower of Jesus (of course, which Religious Right figures does?). Jesus famously said it is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get to heaven. The reason is that from Jesus’ perspective, wealth was a sign that a person had made an alliance with the dark powers (Satan) that controlled this “age.”

But Lapin is all about the Religious Right’s wealth obsession, saying, “Does God want people to be rich?” …”Yes!” he says. “Wealth is a consequence of doing the right thing,”

That thinking is about as far from the teachings of Jesus as you can get. Gone is the pretense that the Religious Right is in any sense a Jesus movement and gone also is the idea that by buying into the Religious Right’s ideology that Lapin is in any way serving a certain Galilean rabbi’s teachings.

What is the point, after all, of championing public celebrations of Christmas, as Lapin does, and deploring its secularization if you really don’t give a shit what Jesus actually said?

Is it hardly a surprise that Lapin was linked to the Jack Abramoff scandal?

Lapin the wealth-seeking culture warrior also seems to have a very low opinion of his own religion and we would do well to wonder how a Jew can be an anti-Semite. Lapin agrees with Hitler about what the Jews have supposedly done to Western civilization. Like Hitler, he even uses the word “parasite” to refer to his enemies, though to Lapin it is atheists who are parasites, and David Duke has said “…there are so few honest voices like that of Rabbi Lapin.”

Lapin told Morning Joe a few years ago,

I do believe that we in the Jewish community need to stop being so prickly about [the Holocaust]…Right now, serious Catholicism and serious Judaism faces secularism, rampant secular fundamentalism. And so, it’s enough looking backwards. It’s enough already with the apologies and the Holocaust and the past.

Lapin’s own rhetoric identifies him as a perfect tool for the Religious Right and tea party extremists like Glenn Beck, not to mention Hitler, who also spoke like this:

I am absolutely convinced that God is far from finished with the story of the United States of America,” he said by way of summation. “First of all, [there’s] the matter of the little battle that must be fought, just as it was in the 19th century.” There were, and are, “two incompatible moral visions for this country. We had to settle it then. We’re going to have to settle it now. I hope not with blood, not with guns, but we’re going to have to settle it nonetheless. The good news is that I think our side is finally ready to settle it. Roll up its sleeves, take off its jacket, and get a little bloody. Spill a little blood. We’ll settle it. And we’ll win. And then there’s no holding us back.

Liberty doesn’t seem like such a bad thing compared to theocrats beating people into bloody submission like Nazi stormtroopers in order to enforce behavior, now does it?

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen's Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.

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