What’s Wrong with “Judeo-Christian”?

Our Concerns About the Phrase “Judeo-Christian”:

While the intention may have been inclusive at one time, today the phrase “Judeo-Christian” is almost exclusively invoked by political leaders on the religious right to imply Jewish support for their Christian nationalist social agenda, despite most Jews being strongly opposed.

America has never been comprised of only Jews and Christians, and certainly not today in the 21st Century, thus rendering the phrase exclusionary. Moreover, it is inaccurate. Jewish values have never been solely derived from the “source text” of the Hebrew Bible, from which Christian fundamentalists selectively quote.

For example, the Jewish tradition has led the overwhelming majority of American Jews to support reproductive rights (83%) and LGBTQ equality (81%). Yet in his 2017 speech to the evangelical Values Voter Summit, Donald Trump claimed he was “stopping the attacks on Judeo-Christian values” by allowing business owners to deny their employees access to birth control because of their own religious views. The same phrase was used by Congress in 1996 to justify passage of the Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage at the federal level as between one man and one woman.

Jews resoundingly back science-based policy, and reject the notion that the United States was founded on “Judeo-Christian” principles to the exclusion of other faiths or no faith.

Click here for additional resources on the history and misuse of the phrase “Judeo-Christian values.”

As Jewish Americans, we have a history of overcoming religious discrimination and must not stand idly by as others are discriminated against. That’s why we’re on a mission to educate about, and speak up against, using our name in the service of such discrimination through the phrase “Judeo-Christian.”