David Brody and the Judeo-Christian Right Tradition
In its January issue the Newsmaxmagazine (not available online) profiles David Brody, the chief political correspondent of the Christian Broadcasting Network who started out his religious life as a Reform Jew.
He eventually accepted that his soul was saved by the Jewish Messiah. “I’m not a big fan of labels,” says Brody, who shies away from terms like “messianic Jew” or “Jews for Jesus.” He tells Newsmax: “I just call myself a Bible-believing Christian — a Jewish believer, if you will.”
Brody is hardly the first born Jew to make it big as an evangelical on the Religious Right. Let us count the names.
* Howard Phillips, longtime chairman of The Conservative Caucus and three-time third-party presidential candidate.
* Marvin Olasky, journalism prof, editor of World magazine, and godfather of “compassionate conservatism.”
* Jay Sekulow and family, who have more or less established family proprietorship over the American Center for law and justice.
* Louis P. Sheldon, Presbyterian minister and head of the American Values Coalition.
* The Twin Brothers Schenck, anti-abortion activists Paul Chaim and Robert. (Paul ultimately was accepted as a priest into the Catholic Church.
In terms of spiritual identity, Brody is closest to the Sekulows, who do identify as messianic Jews. What sets him apart, so to speak, is a goofy style that leads him to sprinkle his commentary with “oy vays” and references to his celebrating Jewish holidays.
It’s cringe-inducing for an old-timer like me. Historically, Jewish converts to Christianity were put to work debating their former co-religionists and trying to get them to convert. But in this era of hybrid religious identities, Brody seems to get away with his Borscht Belt schtick.
Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service