Ted Cruz tweeted yesterday that “I think the greatest moral threat we’re facing is the assault coming from Washington, the media, and Hollywood.”
And he elaborated with a second tweet:
We’re seeing an assault on the Judeo-Christian values that built America into the greatest country in the history of the world. #PFF15
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 21, 2015
There are two chief problems with this statement, including the fact that there is no such thing as “Judeo-Christian” anything. As Mark S. Smith points out, the “so-called ‘Judeo Christian tradition'” is “itself a Christian ideological construct of sorts.” It is used to show a continuity between two religions that does not, in fact, exist.
It is also a fairly recent term. As Wikipedia explains,
The present meaning of “Judeo-Christian” regarding ethics first appeared in print in an book review by the English writer George Orwell in 1939, with the phrase “the Judaeo-Christian scheme of morals.” The term gained currency in the 1940s, promoted by groups which evolved into the National Conference of Christians and Jews. They intended to fight antisemitism by using a more inclusive idea of values.
A laudable goal, but at the expense of accuracy and now a plaything of self-serving fake Christians on the Religious Right, and hypocrites and liars like Ted Cruz.
The fact is that Christianity spent the better part of its long existence persecuting Judaism, fostering anti-Semitism, engaging in pogroms that led to the deaths of millions of Jews. Crusaders bound for the so-called “Holy Land” used to whet their blades on Jewish blood on their way to kill Eastern Christians and Muslims.
We can talk of shared moral values but even that’s not really true. Christianity has long rejected the law of Moses unless its convenient, and even then, the law is cherry picked and things that are specifically condemned are ignored while things that don’t even make it into the top ten (the “Ten Commandments”) are made central to “Christian” thinking. Like contraception and abortion and “homosexuality.”
So don’t talk to us about Judeo-Christian. There is no Judeo-Christian. We’ve seen how the Religious Right really feels about “Judeo” anything: Jews are just “un-perfected” fols awaiting conversion to Christianity.
And then there is this whole mythical assault on a set of values that as I’ve just shown, don’t actually exist to be assaulted. Yes, Cruz and others hate multiculturalism but they don’t have anything concrete to put against it, so they use an ideological construct instead.
It’s sad and its pathetic, but invented things are all the Religious Right and Republican Party have got at this point. I mean, after all, Ted Cruz was a big-name attendee at Kevin “Kill the Gays” Swanson’s big confab where it was concluded that gays who don’t repent must be executed and that Elsa (the lesbian-recruiting bride of Satan) must be sent back to hell.
Needless to say, Elsa is a fictional character from a Disney film who is not, in fact, gay but simply loves her sister.
I personally think we can do better than a presidential candidate who wastes time talking about the need to send a fictional character back to hell, a place that doesn’t exist in the Old (Jewish) Testament, but this focus on the fictional does go a long wy toward explaining Cruz’s equal devotion to another fiction: “Judeo-Christian” values.
 Mark S. Smith, “Ugaritic Studies and Israelite Religion: A Retrospective View,” Near Eastern Archaeology 65 (2002), 19. See also Warren Ashby. A Comprehensive History of Western Ethics: What Do We Believe? W. Allen Ashby, ed. (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1997), 25.
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.