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I have been a DailyKos lurker for several years, and a member for over 3; this is my first diary.

I'm passionate about the political issues here, but a pet peeve of mine is that with extraordinary frequency, in discussions about either the radical right or about fundamentalist hypocrites, someone mentions that some one or group of them are "all about the Old Testament", as if "Old Testament" were some kind of dog-whistle code for wickedness or barbarism, which somehow people of kindness and decency had given up, presumably in favor of the more compassionate "New Testament".

I've been moved to respond in threads about this: here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Before coming to Daily Kos, I have never heard this kind of code language except as a slur against Jews.  The "Old Testament" is not only the sacred scripture of Jews, but it is also the sacred scripture of most Christians. It is only rejected by a fraction of Christians -- namely those who subscribe to the so-called "replacement theology".  And even these folks don't view the Jewish law or teachings as wicked, merely as obsolete, or unnecessary for "salvation" -- replaced by the guidance that the Holy Spirit (in their view) gives to Christian believers.  It's shocking to hear it called "legalistic" (as if there were something wrong with laws being legalistic) or, worse, vengeful, intolerant, and "assholic". How this became such a customary meme as to have shown up here on DailyKos at least seven times in the recent past is incredible to me.

The "Old Testament" (Tanakh as it is called by Jews) is actually the source of most of the kind values taught by Jesus in the gospels (as Jesus was a Jew himself).  It mandates communal taxation for the benefit of the poor and the stranger, demands equal justice for the rich and poor, condemns neglect of the poor, sick and needy, and argues multiple times against xenophobia against the foreigner ("as you were foreigners in Egypt").  In the links above, I give precise references for all these laws and teachings. In short, it is the fount of most of the values that guide those of us who are led to be progressive Democrats in the first place.

To be sure, there are problematic passages in the Tanakh, as there are in many holy books, including the New Testament.  For example, we are commanded to exterminate the Amalekites.  But in the NT, Christians are told that the fate of those who don't accept Jesus as Messiah is the "lake of fire". Despite this, overall, the Tanakh is a book of justice, loving kindness, and compassion, and I have never heard anyone but anti-semites cast aspersions on it.  Until I came here, and now I see it every several weeks.  It's an ugly meme, and especially surprising from a supposedly enlightened community.  

As they might say on MSNBC, "talk me down".

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