November 24th 2007


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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: 2007 Federal Election contest enters final round

CANBERRA OBSERVED: John Howard's last-ditch pitch to voters

WATER: Governments raid irrigation water

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Musharraf takes Pakistan to the brink of chaos

ASIA: Can Taiwan resist falling into China's orbit?

PACIFIC: Power struggle behind alleged Fiji coup

STRAWS IN THE WIND: John Howard's last hurrah? / Putin's new Russian empire / Junk-food on children's television / Corruption in Victoria / Banking on Kevin Rudd

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: The unacknowledged elephant in the room

OPINION: Pro-life outcry for dolphins, but not for humans

OPINION: Economics isn't everything

SCHOOLS: The case for external, competitive exams

CULTURE AND CIVILISATION: The massive assault on Judeo-Christian values

Why education has been captured by the Left (letter)

Culprit of centralisation? (letter)

BOOKS: COMRADES: A History Of World Communism, by Robert Service

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CULTURE AND CIVILISATION:
The massive assault on Judeo-Christian values


by Mark Braham

News Weekly, November 24, 2007
This could be the last generation of Western civilisation if we discard our religious roots, warns Mark Braham.

Post World War II, tens - hundreds? - of thousands of Europeans and UK residents headed for what they believed would ensure a better future for their children and/or grandchildren in countries such as the US, Canada, Australia and South Africa

These countries benefited from the influx of these migrants, a high proportion of them possessing tertiary education, technical skills or professional qualifications. One former European I met, when asked why he had chosen to migrate to Australia, replied, "I wanted to get as far away from Europe as possible, and I had never heard of New Zealand."

By far the most sought-after immigrant countries were, and remain, the English-speaking democracies. All, of course, were inhabited by populations which had developed their own unique culture, but what they shared was a democratic system of government and loyalty to traditional Judeo-Christian values.

The latter have been steadily watered down and undermined over the past 50-60 years. The increasing migration from Europe is adding to its cultural problems - under threat from an increasing and multiplying Muslim minority, who not only reject traditional European values, but democracy itself.

The irony is that the leaders of the massive assault on Judeo-Christian values - atheist intellectuals, journalists, media scriptwriters, academics - would be the first to be liquidated under an Islamic government.

We face a far greater danger from proselytising atheists than we ever did from communism. In the English-speaking democracies, the anti-communists included a powerful establishment and strong church leaders with loyal congregations. Post-World War I, there had been a lowering of standards, but the churches had largely retained their strength; hypocrisy was rampant, such was the homage vice paid to virtue.

Post-World War II, the 'sixties marked the beginning of the major onslaught on established standards of morality, soon to be accompanied by the atheistic assault on the sexual and marital standards of Judeo-Christian civilisation.

The churches were divided worldwide, even by such a fundamental issue as heterosexual marriage and the stability of family life, so basic an issue it preceded Sinai and is one of the Seven Universal Laws given by G-d to Noah and applies to all mankind.

The Seven Noahide Laws prohibit: (1) idolatry, (2) blasphemy and cursing the name of G-d, (3) murder, (4) robbery and theft, (5) immorality and forbidden sexual relations, (6) cruelty to animals, and require: (7) the establishment of a justice system and courts of law to enforce the other six laws.

The threat to our civilisation was recently highlighted by the revelations of Mark Mullins, English barrister and London chairman of the Christian Lawyers Fellowship (see his article, "Christian freedoms under attack", News Weekly, October 13, 2007). Such has been the attack on Christian freedoms in the United Kingdom - evidence of the weakness of organised religion, by which I mean God-fearing people who are possessed of vision and can see where we are headed - that this could be the last generation of Western civilisation.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Christians vilified

In his 1998 book, America's Real War, Rabbi Daniel Lapin heads a chapter, "The Curious Rise of Anti-Christianism". He writes: "If the term 'Anti-Semitism' is to retain any intellectual and moral integrity, we must also today admit to the term 'Anti-Christianism'…

"Attacking freedom of belief: Prominent in assault against traditional Judeo-Christian values, I am sorry to say, were a number of Jewish organisations. In fact, it was the ferocity and unfairness of the attacks that brought me, and many others, into the fray.

"One famous battle in this cultural tug-of-war came in 1994 with the publication of two volumes that I consider biased and bigoted. The Political Activity of the Religious Right in the 1990s: A Critical Analysis, published by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), harshly criticised religious Christians because they, among other things, 'adamantly oppose social acceptance of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle'. Whether one thinks homosexuality is right or wrong, the AJC was attacking the right of Christians to freedom of belief.

"Since those beliefs are based on the Bible in which I too believe, I felt I could not remain silent while the AJC suggested that Judaism somehow supported the acceptance of homosexuality. For over three thousand years Jewish tradition and Jewish law have been unambiguous about homosexuality; now an organisation with the word 'Jewish' in its title was vilifying Christians for taking the authentic Jewish position on homosexuality. I felt I had emigrated to Alice's Wonderland, where logic and rationality were completely turned around.

"I reminded Americans that, although many Jews (whose real faith is secular humanism) support the homosexual agenda, this tells us as much about Judaism as the entertainer Madonna tells us about the Roman Catholic faith.

"The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) similarly published a book filled with unfair and untrue defamation of religious conservatives. It contained such unrestrained invective as, 'The religious Right brings to the debate over moral and social issues a rhetoric of fear, suspicion and even hatred.' As a rabbi and a Jew, I was embarrassed at the tone of both these books. Had any Christian association published anything comparable about the Jewish community, cries of anti-Semitism would have rung out far and wide - and been justified.

"I found myself unable to ignore the above diatribes, so the organisation I head, Toward Tradition, published a repudiation of the sentiments in a large paid advertisement in the New York Times that was signed by fifty prominent Jewish conservatives and called for Jewish conservatives to band together.

"The response was overwhelming. Letters poured in from Conservative and Reform Jews all over the country who, because of their traditional values, had been made to feel unwelcome in their synagogues and local Jewish establishments. Many Orthodox Jews contacted us with gratitude for telling America that the American Jewish Committee and Anti-Defamation League did not represent them.

"Several Reform rabbis wrote to pledge support while asking to remain anonymous for fear of being fired were their conservative political leanings to be known." (Rabbi Daniel Lapin, America's Real War, Oregon, US: Multnomah Publishers, 1998).

Fearing for the future

I write this article in the middle of the run-up to the Australian federal election on November 24. I fear for the future, not only of the country of my adoption, but Western civilisation, which means democracy. I am of course aware that, to put it crudely, democracy means "might is right"; but it has worked for centuries in the English-speaking world because the British and those of British stock, or who had adopted British culture, shared what John Howard refers to as our "core values" and what we know better as Judeo-Christian values; but in a secular age, under siege from atheist intellectuals, today's counterpart of the communist traitors of the 1930's, even historical accuracy must be covered up as prime ministers are forced to find phrases which are politically correct.

Let me illustrate my concern about the future of democracy with two stories, both close to home. First the good news: my doctor for over 30 years, is a religious and erudite Orthodox Jew. He bulk-bills pensioners, makes home visits and is on call for genuine emergencies at nights and weekends.

He attends daily services in synagogue early morning and evening, every day. When he is leading the congregation in prayer he leaves his mobile phone with me to take calls and ask patients to call back in, say, half an hour.

His son, who is equally religious and even more learned, is an undergraduate at the University of NSW. In order to say his afternoon prayers he finds a quiet corner in the university grounds; one day, a Muslim undergraduate, bent on the same mission, laid his prayer mat next to him and said his prayers. They have since struck up a close friendship. This could only happen in a democracy.

My second story is about my local member of parliament, Malcolm Turnbull, Liberal member for Wentworth and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, a man I have long admired. He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. The product of a state school, who went on to become a Rhodes scholar, lawyer, journalist and finance expert, he has been widely spoken of as prime ministerial material.

Wentworth has two significant minority groups - Jewish and gay; either could decide the outcome in what has become a marginal seat since the map was redrawn. As I am the oldest surviving member of the South Head Synagogue in Rose Bay, founded by my late father in 1948 (it is today one of the two major synagogues in the eastern suburbs of Sydney), I have a good idea how the Jewish community will vote. The chief rabbi of South Head, Rabbi Benzion Milecki OAM, a native of Melbourne, is a distinguished scholar with an international reputation among his peers. He has the courage of his convictions, is an accomplished writer and powerful speaker.

The Labor candidate for Wentworth, George Newhouse, is the former mayor of Waverley; he is also a Jew.

Because Turnbull has proved so competent in his job, is so respected for his background, education and engaging personality, he has certainly retained, and probably increased, the traditional Jewish Liberal vote in Wentworth. The days are long past since highly respected local Jewish parliamentarians of the calibre of Syd Einfeld and Abe Landa personally carried an important Jewish Labor following. There is certainly an awareness among Jews of the threat to Western civilisation from the liberal-left, and, despite Kevin Rudd's Christian roots and obvious distance from the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic ravings of one or two Labor figures, Jews have a high regard for John Howard and Alexander Downer.

Scorn poured on PM

Newhouse did not endear himself to the Jewish community when he brought in a speaker at the Waverley new citizens' ceremony who poured scorn on the Prime Minister's call to Australians to pray for rain. Rabbi Milecki spoke from his pulpit, wrote and published on the internet, his contempt for a speaker who could scoff at the PM's appeal.

He said: "Firstly, I would like to emphasise how lucky we are to have a Prime Minister, who is not only a great supporter of Israel and Jewish causes, but who is also not afraid to profess his belief in G-d and to urge others to do so. While belief in G-d cannot replace political competence, it most certainly enhances it.

"There will of course be those who will criticise any involvement of religion in the political process. Yet we would do well to bear in mind that, while we all want freedom of religion, and the ability to believe in any way we choose, freedom of religion does not equate with freedom from religion. I therefore applaud the Prime Minister for making his request at this critical time."

This important message recalls an event that helps to balance the leftist black armband version of Australian history, and reminds us that the bulk of our major foundations of hospitals, aged homes, soup kitchens, missions to the poor … were brought into being by the churches, that is by religious people who, in contrast to atheistic intellectuals, put their money where their mouth was.

Samuel Cohen, a 19th-century member and auditor of the Jewish Philanthropic Society, was member for the NSW Legislative Assembly for Morpeth in the Hunter Valley. There was to be a general election in 1860 and an important issue was the Robertson Land Bill. John Robertson wanted to introduce a policy of "No settlement before surveying of land".

Cohen was in favour of the bill, but its second reading was to be debated on a Friday night, the Jewish Sabbath. His speech in the House was reported: "I will not take part in proceedings on my Sabbath. I believe the electors, as fathers of families, would rather not place a man in the House than see him degrade himself by showing that he had no respect for his religion.

"I believe I am addressing an enlightened community, divested of prejudices against a man's religion. I credit them with understanding that I would not lie on my bed comfortably and think that in the eyes of my own child I was a degraded being.

"The majority religion here expends thousands of pounds to propagate among the heathens the principles of religion and its belief in one true God … Some may sacrifice their religion to further their interest, but I am not one of those, and if my position depends on a sacrifice of my religious belief, I would decline your votes.

"If the carrying of the Land Bill depends on my vote on the Sabbath, I will not be recording it. Since I have been in New South Wales, I have protected your Sabbath, and I will protect my own, even if you do not help me! I will protect my Sabbath against a mountain of strength. If I were engaging a servant, and he asked for time off for, say, Christmas, would I say to him, 'If you leave your work for those days I will dismiss you'? And would the electors take that position with me and dismiss me from their service because I respected my Sabbaths? Is that kind? Is that generous? Is that just?"

Opposition

At this point there were interjections of "Religion forever!" On the opposite side of the House was another Jew, the member for Orange, Saul Samuel, who was one of the strongest voices in opposition to the Bill. He rose to say that he too could not attend on Friday night, hence the absence of both Cohen and himself would not affect the voting. (Louise Rosenberg, Of Folktales and Jewish Folk in Australian History, Melbourne: Printworthy, 2004).

Let us once again hear from genuinely religious members in the parliaments. In Jewish law, should a duck appear to have a physical defect it is tested by placing it in a stream of running water. If it swims against the current, it is kosher.

- The author Mark Braham was a British Army officer during World War II, after which he migrated to Australia. An Orthodox Jew, he is author of Stronger than Fiction: Jews and Christians Are Natural Allies (London: Minerva Press, 1999).




























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