Articles you need to know about, summarized in 60 seconds (or less).
The Article: What the Evangelicals Give the Jews
The Source: Commentary (May 2012)
The Author: Michael Medved, a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host
The Gist: Medved considers the question, “Should Jews view our born-again fellow citizens as natural allies or inevitable adversaries?”
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.
The Bottom Line: Medved, an Orthodox Jew, dispels many of the myths about evangelicals: we aren’t trying to install a theocracy, we don’t support Israel only because we are expecting the Armageddon, and we aren’t particularly successful in converting Jews to Christianity. As Medved notes, less than half of 1 percent of the Jews alter their religious identity to join a Protestant denomination commonly counted as “evangelical” (such as Southern Baptist).
Rather than being a threat to their religion, Medved claims that Jewish faith is frequently strengthened because “conservative Christians raise serious issues of faith and morality in the public square, and normalize activities such as communal worship and Bible study. . .” Medved concludes that, “The stronger argument insists that evangelical Christians deserve our friendship and cooperation because they aren’t just good for Israel; they’re good for America.”