Dear Spengler:My acting career is in trouble after police stopped me for drunk driving and I accused them of acting on behalf of the world Jewish conspiracy. No matter how much I apologize, no one seems to believe me. Honestly, Spengler, I am not an anti-Semite. I just don’t know what gets into me when I am under the influence. You write about anti-Semitism all the time. How can I convince people that I have nothing against Jews?Harried in Hollywood Dear Harried:If your psyche has anything to do with your screen persona, you are a sick puppy, but not a Jew-hater, that is, in the sense that people who believe that space aliens have planted radio transmitters in their brains do
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Dear Spengler:
My acting career is in trouble after police stopped me for drunk driving and I accused them of acting on behalf of the world Jewish conspiracy. No matter how much I apologize, no one seems to believe me. Honestly, Spengler, I am not an anti-Semite. I just don’t know what gets into me when I am under the influence. You write about anti-Semitism all the time. How can I convince people that I have nothing against Jews?
Harried in Hollywood

Dear Harried:
If your psyche has anything to do with your screen persona, you are a sick puppy, but not a Jew-hater, that is, in the sense that people who believe that space aliens have planted radio transmitters in their brains do not really hate space aliens. You have nothing to lose by admitting that you are stark staring mad. When the US television satire South Park already has you pictured as a loony masochist, dignity long since has ceased to be an issue. Everyone knows that you are crazy, so make the most of it. Turn the tables on the Jewish organizations and present yourself as a victim.

Fire your public relations team, and instead hire a very good psychiatrist (which you require in any event). Ask the psychiatrist to tell the press something like this: “My patient suffers from latent paranoid schizophrenic tendencies. His substance abuse problem stems from an underlying malfunction in his brain chemistry. Like many latent schizophrenics, he has self-medicated with alcohol and other drugs, which over time only worsens the problem. When he suffers from paranoid delusions he imagines that he is the victim of a Jewish conspiracy, in the same fashion that other paranoids imagine that they are the victim of an alien plot to take over the world. He is now under treatment for this disorder and asks for understanding and compassion regarding his illness.”

American Jews will cheer you. How can they possibly reject psychiatry? They like to think anti-Semitism is a mental disease, although they have difficulty explaining how 60 million Germans or 300 million Arabs had the same quirk of brain chemistry. The truth is more frightening. Americans (and Australians) lack the underlying motive for Jew-hatred, which is the jealousy that fragile and endangered peoples bear against the Jews for their apparent immortality. Adolf Hitler could not imagine the Germans as the new Chosen People, the Herrengeschlecht, without eradicating the Jews; Muslims cannot claim the Koran as the final revelation without reducing to dhimmis the living bearers of the revelation that informs Christianity. The presentiment of ethnic death that Franz Rosenzweig ascribed to the nations of the world does not haunt new nations composed of immigrants who left the fey imaginings of their ancestors behind at the far shore.
Spengler

Dear Spengler:
As chief executive of the world’s largest Christian denomination, I plead for an immediate stop to the killing in the Middle East. I am surprised that American evangelical Christians seem less concerned about peace than about victory, and appear to be more pro-Israeli than the Israelis themselves. I can understand how Christians can support their own country in time of war, although the consequences may be tragic. But American Christians have no direct stake in this fight. How is it that the evangelicals and I come to such radically different conclusions?
Tired on the Tiber

Dear Tired:
You have already half-answered the question. During World War I, Benedict XV tried to persuade the combatants to stop, and rightly so. Russia considered itself the only true God-bearing nation (Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s phrase) and the seat of the Third Rome after the fall of Constantinople; Austria the rump of the Holy Roman Empire and thus the arbiter of Christian Europe; France fought for its national grandeur, pursuing the delusion institutionalized by Cardinal Richelieu; and Germany mistook Siegfried for Christ, in Franz Rosenzweig’s phrase. They were idolaters all of them, worshipping their own image in place of that of the crucified Christ. The next time they fought, in 1939, Germany and Russia marched under pagan banners and France did not fight at all. That is why Christianity is dead in Europe and why your great cathedrals are full of tourists and empty of congregants.

American evangelicals have no cathedrals, no Magisterium, no pontifical universities, no monastic orders with institutional memories back to the 4th century. They have mega-churches in shopping malls, mass commercial culture, and Christ crucified. Americans evaded Europe’s tragedy because they rejected the idolatry that you and your predecessors, including the great Benedict XV, failed to control. Their forbears came to America to be Israel. They do not have the staff of St Peter upon which to lean, only their own wobbly legs to ascend the road to Calvary.

What binds American Christians to Israel is that the inner journey of each Christian, in his conversion from Gentile to child of Abraham, recapitulates the story of Israel, just as Jesus’ own story recapitulates the entire story of Israel’s redemption. American evangelicals are not baptized and raised as Christians; they must become Christians at the age of sentience. But to become a Christian is to undertake Israel’s journey. You consider your Church to be Israel; evangelicals are children of Abraham by adoption, which is not to say that they are less loved by their foster father than the children of his flesh. But because they love their adoptive father, they love his natural children all the more.

On Easter Sunday of 1988, I heard Cardinal Archbishop Martini preach from John 20:15-16. The risen Christ finds Mary Magdalene at his sundered tomb and asks her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Cardinal Martini likened this to the “still small voice” that the Prophet Elijah heard after earthquake and whirlwind, in which was the voice of God. That is the voice of the Church, the Cardinal said, not of pomp and power but of consolation. It was a fine sermon, well crafted and elegant.

Americans get better sermons, though, from Bruce Springsteen. I do not admire Springsteen, but the Almighty sometimes works in strange ways, and one of them is Springsteen’s adoption of an old slave spiritual whose most important verses are these:

Well if I could I surely would
Stand on the rock where Moses stood
Pharaoh’s army got drownded
O Mary don’t you weep

O Mary don’t you weep, don’t you mourn
O Mary don’t you weep, don’t you mourn
Pharaoh’s army got drownded
O Mary don’t you weep

Well one of these nights ’bout 12 o’clock
This old world is gonna rock
Pharaoh’s army got drownded
O Mary don’t you weep

Jesus speaks here to the weeping Mary Magdalene, of course: but he does not tell her, “Don’t you weep, for I am risen,” but rather, “Pharaoh’s army got drownded,” which means precisely the same thing. In these few rough lines you have the whole of it: the Exodus, the Resurrection and the Apocalypse. Evangelicals seek baptism at the age of sentience after a personal decision to embrace Christ as Lord and Savior. Immersion in water derives from the Jewish ceremony of conversion, for to become a Jew is to be reborn, as it were by a miracle, into descent from Abraham. But to evangelicals baptism also is “crossing the Jordan”, entering the Promised Land with Israel. The most personal of all actions taken by an evangelical Christian takes the form of entry into the history of Israel.

The evangelicals convert themselves to Christianity every day, which is the same as saying that for them Christianity is not a doctrine but a life. The living history of Israel and the story of its redemption did not end with the Resurrection, but continues on the Lebanese border. Evangelical Christianity brings the god who revealed himself in history into the hearts of men, to which Christians respond by making the revelation in history the journey of their own soul.

My advice is: change your name to Dominic.
Spengler

Dear Spengler:
Maybe you were right about democracy in Lebanon being a bad idea, Iran being intransigent on the nuclear issue, and Iraq breaking up into civil war. With all the fighting in Lebanon, no one seemed to pay attention to the fact that Iran has flipped us the bird over uranium enrichment. I can’t stand for that. What do you think I should do now?
Worried in Washington

Dear Worried:
I have nothing more to say to you. Events have already moved out of your control, and you will respond as you must, not as you wish.

My advice is: have a drink.
Spengler

Dear Spengler:
I have the best army in the Middle East, but the Hezbollah guerrillas are giving me a harder time than I or anyone else expected. What do you think I should do about them?
Jaded in Jerusalem

Dear Jaded:
Hezbollah likes casualties. You don’t like casualties. Shi’ite Islam requires that the believer sacrifice himself, and in what better way than while shooting at you?

My advice? If you want to win, be prepared to bleed.
Spengler

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