Why “Judeo-Christian” Values are Problematic
Listen to any religious-right pundit discuss the intersection of governing and faith, and you’ll likely hear them refer to Judeo-Christian values. Take Focus on the Family (FOTF), for example, a fundamentalist Christian advocacy organization with a public policy approach self-described as “drawn from the wisdom of the Bible and the Judeo-Christian ethic.” Under this guise of Judeo-Christian values, FOTF opposes same-sex marriage and LGBTQ equality, staunchly lobbies against abortion and reproductive freedom, and promotes creationism and abstinence-only sex education. In seeking to build political support for these policies, FOTF uses the term Judeo-Christian to insinuate that their positions enjoy support from Christians of all denominations and Jews, but in fact, polling indicates that American Jews are overwhelmingly socially progressive.
According to 2015 data from the Pew Research Center, 81% of American Jews are accepting of homosexuality, 77% support same-sex marriage, 83% are pro-choice, and 81% believe in evolution. The Jewish community in the United States is consistently and vocally supportive of progressive social movements, and right-wing Christian organizations’ use of the term Judeo-Christian to suggest otherwise is inaccurate, problematic, and offensive to American Jews.
In addition to the inaccurate portrayal of Jewish values, a Judeo-Christian approach to governing is contrary to the constitutional separation of church and state, and exclusionary to those Americans of other religions and of no religion, including the nearly 1 in 4 American Jews who are not religious.
As fundamentalist Christian organizations increase their barrage of faith-based legislation targeting LGBTQ families, reproductive freedom, and science-based education in state legislatures around the country, it is incumbent upon Jews to stand up for secular government and oppose these efforts, and to demand that their proponents abandon the pretense of Judeo-Christian values, deliberate framing to mislead the public into believing that the Jewish community supports such regressive proposals. We do not.