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Judeo-Christian (in British English, Judaeo-Christian) is used by some to refer to a set of beliefs and ethics held in common by Judaism and Christianity.[1] Others--usually Jews[2]--consider it a "contradiction in terms" that "appeals to a nonexistent historical unity and calls for a banal, modernist theology." [3] It is nevertheless a common term in American cultural and political rhetoric. One definition appeared in a Washington Post editorial in 1991:

In our country, "Judeo-Christian values" is shorthand for a complex idea: the common culture of the American majority. The values are called Judeo-Christian because they derive from the complementary ideas of free will, the moral accountability of the individual rather than the group, the spiritual imperative of imperfect man's struggle to do what is right and the existence of true moral law in the teachings of Christ and the Jewish prophets. Along with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, they are the political and cultural heritage of the Founding Fathers. The Declaration and the Constitution define the source and the limits of state power. But they do not tell us how a moral life within this society should be led. While they have provided a durable structure for America's success, only Judeo-Christian values, freely held by the majority, explain its continuing realization. These values are not identical with the Christian religion, although they manifest its universal insights. Americans, as the Founding Fathers hoped, uphold the Constitution, but live according to "Judeo-Christian values".[4]


Multiple meanings

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