I’ve always found the phrase “Judeo-Christian” to be utterly nonsensical. The religious right loves it, of course, because they think it makes them sound diverse and makes it sound as though Jews were on their side. That is rarely the case, other than sometimes when it comes to support for Israel. Here’s a situation that demonstrates the absurdity of that phrase:
A Jewish lawmaker in Florida approached the Speaker of the House this week on behalf of other Jewish legislators who state that they are offended and insulted by the practice of praying in the name of Jesus during House sessions.
Jim Waldman of Coconut Creek contacted Speaker Will Weatherford to explain why what he called “the J.C. moment” presents a problem.
“This year more so than others, every time the prayer comes up, it’s in Jesus’ name,” he said. “This is my seventh year talking about it, and it’s getting to be too much. It would be nice to have an inclusive prayer.”
Waldman noted that some Jewish representatives will not enter the room until the invocation is finished so that they do not have to hear the name of Jesus.
“Some lawmakers don’t go until after the prayer,” he explained. “I go in because I want to be prepared and ready to go. But I stand there and all I do is wait there for what we politely call, ‘The JC moment.’ All the members know, they look at me and say, ‘Got JC’d again.’”
Waldman stated that Representative Kevin Rader, whose wife serves as a rabbi, is among those that steer clear of the prayers because of references to the triune Godhead.
“There’s just statements about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” he explained. “It’s just not non-denominational. I don’t care that it’s optional. That shouldn’t be the litmus test. It should be inclusive. And it’s not inclusive.”
But I doubt Waldman would accept the same argument if made by an atheist (or anyone else) in favor of not having prayers at all. After all, not everyone is a theist. So if you’re worried about being inclusive, why are you only worried about you being included while also advocating for the exclusion of others? Every single legislator is, of course, free to pray on their own, or in groups before the session begins. Why is it so important for many theists to force others to sit through their religious exercises?