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Farah and the Absurdity of America’s ‘Judeo-Christian’ Origins

Joseph Farah has been posting a series of columns on the subject of “discerning truth in a world of lies” and the results are predictably ridiculous. In part 4 of that series, he claims that freedom of the press only exists because of America’s “Judeo-Christian” roots. His argument is transparently absurd.

Isn’t that amazing. America’s founders built into their system of constitutionally limited government many checks and balances on the powers of government. The First Amendment protections of the press were one of them.

The founders were so brilliant, so insightful, that they protected the free press because they intuitively understood it was a critical way to keep government under control, to have what we call “a fourth estate” to watchdog the three branches of government.

I say they did this “intuitively.” What do I mean? I mean they had no precedent on which to base this assumption upon. It was something that had never been done before in the history of the world!

What is it about the American founders that made them so smart?

They got their wisdom from their grounding in the Bible. Even the most skeptical of them were learned in the scriptures. Many of them read the Bible in the original languages on a daily basis. They were Christians.

Let me underline that last statement: Christian Americans and Jews gave us the free press.

Wait, Jews? There were no Jews among the men who wrote the Constitution or framed the Bill of Rights. At the time there were only about 3,000 Jews in the entire country, and while a handful of them did play a role in financing and fighting the revolution, none of them had anything to do with creating the new government. Not because they had nothing to contribute, of course, but because they were prevented from doing so. In most states, they didn’t have the right to hold office or even to vote at the time. So this is the lame argument Farah is forced to make for his position:

Let me provide a little bit of evidence. For more, just pick up “Stop the Presses: The Inside Story of the New Media Revolution.”

There’s an old saying: “Journalism is the first draft of history.” Sometimes for me today this is a scary thought. Yet it is true.

And while the ancient Hebrews didn’t practice journalism as we know it today, they did a first-rate job of recording their history. They also provided, through God’s providence and inspiration, the moral light that was needed to free people from tyranny and oppression.

Through their history, we are reminded that liberty was precious because it was rare and fleeting.

“It is remarkable that so few men and so weak a people could have exerted such an influence on mankind’s quest for freedom because freedom, for much of the history of ancient Israel, was little more than a vision,” wrote Columbia University journalism professor John Hohenberg in his book, “Free Press, Free People: The Best Cause,” back in 1971.

It is a testimony not only to their God, but to what that God told all of us in the scriptures: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Um. What? Seriously? There isn’t a single verse in the Bible in favor of freedom of the press. Or freedom of speech. Or freedom of religion. All the talk of freedom found in those pages deals with freedom from foreign oppression (like the Babylonian period) or freedom from sin. The notion that our ideas of personal and political freedom comes from the Bible is patently absurd. This is just an attempt to read all the good things that came out of Enlightenment philosophy into the Bible after the fact.

Comments

  1. raven says

    And while the ancient Hebrews didn’t practice journalism as we know it today, they did a first-rate job of recording their history.

    In realityland, they did a second rate job of inventing their history.

    Much of what they wrote is just mythology. There was no Big Boat incident, which they stole from the Babylonians and Sumerians anyway. Exodus never happened. Neither did the Canaanite genocide. In fact, they were just another tribe of Canaanites.

    They also provided, through God’s providence and inspiration, the moral light that was needed to free people from tyranny and oppression.

    In realityland, they got their asses kicked. So much for being god’s special snowflakes.

    After supposedly conquering Israel, they were overrun by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. The Romans kicked them out of Israel after the Bar Kochba revolt. The xians persecuted them for 2,000 years. The Germans tried to finish them off and got half of them.

    Who freed them from Nazi tyranny and genocide wasn’t god or the Jews. It was a coalition of western nations and the godless commies of the Soviet Union.

  2. raven says

    Are people like Farah actually getting less logical and more idiotic as time goes on?

    LOL. Sure seems like it. Althoughj Farah has always been a kook, nothing different there.

    1. It’s slowly seeping into their minds that their religion is dying. The churches are emptying out, the membership is getting older and older, they are having financial problems, and the statistics are usually unfavorable.

    2. And all they can do is more of what hasn’t worked. They do seem to become more hate filled and violent every year. When your own tool is the hate and lies hammer, what else can they do?

    3. There is some self selection going on. People leave the religion in order of best and brightest first. Leaving the worst behind.

  3. says

    @raven #1 – The books of Joshua, Judges and Samuel very likely describe more or less historical events about a nomadic culture settling into urban life, with tribes led by warrior-priests in constant conflict until a single overlord emerged as victor. Like any oral history, the timelines were squashed and facts got distorted before it was set into writing, but there is enough evidence to support the general story.

  4. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    Wait, Jews? There were no Jews among the men who wrote the Constitution or framed the Bill of Rights

    In fairness, Ed, he didn’t say “Christian and Jewish Americans”, or even “American Christians and Jews”. He said “Christian Americans and Jews”. Which could mean either he doesn’t consider Jews to be American, or he’s not talking about American Jews in the first place. He could conceivably mean the Jews who wrote the OT.

  5. Randomfactor says

    ” Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Joel 3:12-14″

    Sickle, eh? Sounds like Communism is the answer to the wicked fatcats of the press.

  6. skinnercitycyclist says

    Christian Americans and Jews

    Wait, Jews?

    Not sure why you folks don’t get this. Saying “Christian Americans and Jews” is like saying “Christian Soldiers and Sailors.” “Christian” is meant to modify everything after it.

    I mean, it does seem that, to these people, the only good Jew is a Christian Jew (see: Dennis Prager, or others that turn a blind eye to the casual antisemitism of the rightwing)

  7. says

    And while the ancient Hebrews didn’t practice journalism as we know it today, they did a first-rate job of recording their history.

    My favorite is the Old Testament’s Book of Restaurants. (3:14 ~ “Sal’s: The line was long, but the food was to die for, if a bit salty.”)

  8. davem says

    The founders were so brilliant, so insightful, that they protected the free press because they intuitively understood…

    Er, yes, that’ll be why it was in an amendment to the constitution, which obviously had missed it out completely… Genius.

  9. had3 says

    That colonial press that published the Treaty of Tripoli for all Americans to see and to….not care that our government denied being xian.

  10. gertzedek says

    > And while the ancient Hebrews didn’t practice journalism as we know it today, they did a first-rate job of recording their history.

    No they didn’t. Compare Israel to, say, Egypt. We’ve got enough Egyptian history that we know a fair bit about monarchs they literally tried to erase from history (e.g., Hatshepsut). Meanwhile, we have no proof that two greatest Israelite monarchs (David and Solomon) even existed.

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