Judeo-Christian roots? There’s no such thing

The pope is naked. Judge Luigi Tosti has torn his dress off and thrown it to the wind. And along with it goes the masquerade of Europe’s “Judeo-Christian” roots.

I asked permission to place a menorah next to the crucifix as a reminder of pope Ratzinger’s words, which assert Europe’s “Judeo-Christian” roots. I did this because I know that Catholics are racist hypocrites and they’d never have allowed a Jewish symbol to be placed by the crucifix.

It’s a pity, really. A lot of people seem to like the idea that Europe’s once-Christian majority decided to share its cultural wealth with the Jews. Of course, that was after centuries of the most terrible persecutions and having denied them just about everything imaginable in the realm of rights. After Nazi Germany, Europe could no longer bury its head in the sand.

One problem is that Europe is no longer very Christian. And it hardly has any Jews left. So – from a Jewish perspective – it’s too little, too late.

Another problem is that if anything unites the European Union, it is certainly not adherence to biblical authority. That, after all, is what is implied by the term “Judeo-Christian roots.” It’s a trope, and a clever one; however, Jews and Christians disagree on the most fundamental things – those very things that keep Jews Jewish and Christians Christian.

What about the Greeks and the Romans? Didn’t they help to lay the foundations of what we now call European civilization? Christianity was late in the game, picked up the pieces of a broken empire, and proclaimed itself ruler over Jew and Gentile alike. The Gentiles were Christianized by the sword; the Jews, persecuted, massacred, coverted by torture and ghettoized by the same Christians that now wish to share their bounteous “roots” with them. Again, too little, too late.

We’re so used to hearing “Judeo-Christian roots” that it no longer even registers. Besides being an exercise in phony diplomacy, it’s exclusionary towards anyone neither Jewish nor Christian.

Another use of the term is as a weapon against that very secularism that binds Europe. It’s a favorite of Catholics, for instance, who wish to defend their theocratic ambitions in Italy. “Judeo-Christian” lets them sound ecumenical to the uninitiated. It lets them play peace-love-and-understanding. But it’s pure unadulterated bullshit.

Judge Tosti knew this when he asked permission to place a menorah next to the crucifix in his courtroom. He knew his request would be denied. He knew those smooth-talking Catholics were hypocrites who don’t put their money where there mouth is.

I submit that the only Europe worth living in is a secular Europe. The Enlightenment project is what allows Jew, Gentile and everyone else to live here together without a holy war in every city. It’s hard enough, but its the best way we’ve ever discovered.

Today the pope is naked. No amount of fancy dress will cover up that fact.

3 thoughts on “Judeo-Christian roots? There’s no such thing

  1. Referred here from Ophelia Benson’s place: Absolutely right, “Judeo-Christian” is a lie.
    It means “Ignore the fact we treated you like crap for 16 or so centuries, now that it’s politically convenient we’ll let you be honorary Christians”.

  2. Greetings from New Zealand, where the godless outnumber catholics and anglicans combined, where the last census (2006) christians scraped to 52% by including children who cannot fill in the census form themsleves.

    The web is full of stories about how xians are the “most oppressed” people on Earth, and yet, when you examine their tales, it seems that those who are “oppressed” are those who are being asked to accept secular laws, who are being denied a priveliged status, who are being told “It’s not OK to persecute others just because your religion says you should”.

    More power to Judge Luigi Tosti and those like him.

    Sadly, we are constantly fighting to preserve the best of humanity against those who would drive us back in to a “Demon haunted world”.

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