A moral compass can be determined to be valid or invalid based on whether Jewish people are treated fairly, and Islam may not pass this test, Jewish radio hostDennis Prager said at a heavily attended discussion moderated by jurisprudence professor Robert George on Thursday.
Prager drew ananalogy between the few number of Germans who were actually mass killers during the Nazi era and the few number of Muslims who are actually terrorists,adding that just as a few Germans were Nazis did not excuse Germany from having a Nazi problem, few Muslims being terrorists does not excuse Islam from having a terrorism problem.
Israel is now a target of annihilation just like Jewish citizens in Germany once were, Prager said.
Prager also said he believed that Jewish and Christian conservatives have more in common now than with liberals in their own religions.
Prager recalled an incident in which a caller was giving a rabbi who was a guest on a radio show a hard time about the chosen status of Jewish people, and a Catholic priest called in to say, “God chose the Jews. Get a life.”
“To be a Jew is to be a member of the chosen people, not because we ever asked to be chosen,” Prager said. “Being chosen has not benefitted us, if that means leading normal lives without being gassed and burned throughout history.”
Prager went on to explain his theory about how religious beliefs relate to environmentalism.
Worldviews that place a heavy emphasis on protecting the environment tend to signal that those belief systems are incorrect, Prager said.
“Once environmentalism becomes central to any theology, I know we’ve lost it,” he said.“What bothers me is evil now. I’m infinitely more worried about Israel having a nuclear weapon dropped on it than flooding 50 years from now.”
While Catholicism is socially conservative, Prager said, it is economically liberal, citing Pope Francis in particular as a theological “leftist.” He said that leftism was a problem that should be eliminated.
“Christian communities are being annihilated and the great issue for the pope is global warming,” Prager said. “Do people understand the gravity of that? It breaks my heart.”
Prager added that he is happy when Christians return to church, as it is ethical behavior that follows the Torah that makes one worthy in the eyes of God rather than strict belief in one ideology over another.
America was founded as an explicitly Judeo-Christian nation, and Americans in this sense are almost the second chosen people, Prager said, noting that a verse from the Torah is the only inscription on the Liberty Bell.
Prager also said there was a direct line from civil rights legislation in the 1960s to deprivation of liberty by forcing businesses to accommodate people of all sexualities and religions and that he now agrees with Barry Goldwater that the legislation wasn’t advisable.
George, however, who had agreed with a number of Prager’s points throughout the discussion, began an argument with Prager over the legislation.
The principles behind the legislation were sound, but race-based advocacy was later hijacked by extremists who implemented other, less responsible policies, George said.
Prager, however, disagreed.
“I want liberty for anti-Semitic bastards,” he said, even if he wouldn’t be allowed in their establishments.
The lecture, “A Jewish-Christian Dialogue on Religion, Culture, and Politics” took place at 7:30 p.m. in the Friend Center Auditorium and was sponsored by the James Madison program.