Evangelical Christianity and Judaism

August 15, 2000

Source: The New York Times

On August 15, 2000, The New York Times published an article by religious scholar Martin Marty, explaining why there exists an alliance at times between evangelical Christians and observant Jews, two groups that might not always be lumped together as theological and social partners. Marty explains that "most evangelicals see Mr. Lieberman's selection as enlarging the space for themselves in American culture. He is celebrated for being different from mainstream culture while they have been criticized for it. They mention God in public and draw sneers; he does, and is admired. Will the acceptance of his views lead to greater acceptance of theirs? For one reason, a double standard may remain. Nonevangelical Americans do not fear that orthodox Jews will try to convert them, or impose their beliefs on the nation. But many people do see a threat in the efforts by evangelical Christians like Pat Robertson to change laws to conform to their beliefs and in effect produce a uniformly Christian America. The Lieberman candidacy has done evangelicals and others a favor by forcing new debates over religion in politics. There are dangers ahead, dangers of the use and misuse of religion. The founders of the nation, all of them religious, gave plenty of signals that when it comes to faith and politics, the watchwords are handle with care. But handle this combination Americans must and will, and with new forces, Mr. Lieberman and modern orthodoxy, added to the mix."