uno itinere non potest perveniri ad tam grande secretum -- Q. Aurelius Symmachus, 384 C.E.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Manufactured 'Judeo-Christian Tradition'

Asked at last week's Florida debate how his religion might influence his decisions as president, GOP front-runner Mitt Romney on cue responded with boilerplate, right-wing narrative: "We are based on Judeo Christian laws and ethics."

Not really, no. But this trope is repeated by the right with such frequency that even well-meaning individuals will use the phrase "Judeo-Christian" without understanding where it actually comes from. In short, the "Judeo-Christian tradition" is a manufactured tradition from the 1950s. It was at the time, and remains today, a right-wing political term, not at all a descriptor of any real, singular tradition, much less one that stretches back through the founding of the American republic and into the first century.