Why do more church officials not similarly recall this legacy of Jewish and Christian teaching? Sacks quoted a Chinese scholar who realized why the West had surpassed once wealthier and technologically superior China centuries ago: “The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics.” The Chief Rabbi noted that Europe’s religious values had facilitated “hard work, industry, frugality, diligence, patience, discipline, and a sense of duty and obligation.” They created capitalism as a “moral enterprise” that “generated wealth, softened manners, tamed unruly passions, and diminished the threat of war.” Capitalism “enhanced human dignity, leaving us with more choices and a longer life expectancy than any generation of those who came before us.”
Sacks lamented that Europe is today “more secular than it has been since the last days of pre-Christian Rome” thanks to “aggressive scientific atheism tone deaf to the music of faith.” He suggested Jews and Catholics serve together as “creative minorities” to restore morals, culture and civic life. And he concluded: “The Judeo-Christian heritage is the only system known to me capable of defeating the law of entropy that says all systems lose energy over time.”
As people of faith work to restore Europe’s culture, Sacks also has urged defending international religious liberty. “It is important that Jews, the British Jews, the European Jewish community stand in solidarity with Christians where they face persecution,” he told Vatican radio. In his speech to the British House of Lords, Sacks’ declared that “as a Jew in Christian Britain,” he was grateful to “this great Christian nation, which gave us the right and the freedom to live our faith without fear.” And he asked: “Shall we not, therefore, as Jews, stand up for the right of Christians in other parts of the world to live their faith without fear?” The Chief Rabbi quoted Martin Luther King, Jr: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”
As left-leaning church prelates in Europe and America are frequently and shamefully silent, at least Britain’s Chief Rabbi will be a friend to both persecuted Christians and to Judeo-Christian culture.
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