RABBI HILLEL AND HIS "GOLDEN RULE"
Web Master's Note:
We publish this article because it shows the hypocrisy of the Methodist Bishop named below and delineates the difference between the "rule" of Judaism versus that of Christ. We do not endorse the rallying of Catholics to the "side of Washington" for the sake of separation of Church and State, which is an unCatholic principle and has proved detrimental to the Church in America, while helpful to non-Christian religions as evidenced by the cases the ACLU takes on and those they don't, the latest round involving tax funds endorsing Moslem practices while rejecting even mention of Jesus Christ's name. There can be no such thing as separation because religion is foremost in cultural arrangements, hence the political ones. It is not "no religion" but which religion. Since the Catholic Church is the one true Church, the state has the obligation to assist it by at least not hampering it. Period. Unfortunately with his enthusiasm for Catholicism the author has fallen into "Americanism", unwittingly I am sure, a heresy that Pope Leo XIII condemned.
The Golden Rule:---Foremost among the rabbis who flourished during the decades preceding the Christian era was Hillel, President of the Sanhedrin. He has been proclaimed time without number by the Jews of the world as "the advocate of the Golden Rule." It is set forth in a story, quoted again and again, that "a heathen came to Hillel mockingly, and asked him to teach him the Torah (Pentateuch) while he stood on one leg." Hillel replied, "What is hateful to thyself do not to another. This is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary."
This negative pronouncement differs as greatly from the positive Golden Rule proclaimed by Our Lord, Jesus Christ,---"all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do you also to them"---as the Christian religion differs from Judaism.
Hillel's Rule is purely negative. It is counseling not to do to another what one hates to have done to himself. Hillel's advice to the heathen was to follow a Leaden Rule, instead of the Golden Rule. It is like saying, do not blackjack your neighbor with a lead pipe, because you do not want to be blackjacked by him. One who operates on such a principle could logically conclude that if depriving the other fellow of the exercise of rights is not likely to cause you to be tyrannized, then bother not at all about what is done to the other fellow.
The Golden Rule, proclaimed by Our Lord, is of a spiritual nature: Its basis is love of neighbor, not self-protection: It is not prompted by fear of what the other fellow will do. There is sublimity, a God-loving distinctiveness in the admonition of Our Lord, that is as considerate as Hillel's admonition is selfish.
The echoing and re-echoing of Hillel's supposed-to-be "Golden Rule" by the foremost Jews, on the assumption that it contains the teaching of the Torah, is religiously unsound. Surely the once-upon-a-time divinely authoritative Jewish religion, proclaimed in the Torah, with its priesthood, sacrifices, and Holy of Holies, cannot be found in the philosophy of refraining from slugging your neighbor, for fear he will slug you; nor can it be found in any pre-Christian "commentary" even while standing on two legs.
Yet Hillel's Leaden Rule embodies a virtue, which, if adhered to by the Jews, would cause them to cease honoring, and thus furthering the popularity, perhaps we ought to say notoriety, of anti-Catholic bigots; if only for fear of a comeback, Catholic honoring of anti-Semites. This theme came to mind while reading about the recent honoring of Bishop Oxnam, the arrogant anti-Catholic, by the Woman's Division of the American Jewish Congress, at its Testimonial Meetings in New York's Roosevelt Hotel. If Hillel's admonition were adhered to, Bishop Oxnam would not be thus honored; nor would he be announced in the Jewish Advocate of Boston as "one of the Most renowned churchmen of our day," in order to rally readers of this Jewish weekly to an Oxnam lecture in Boston's Temple Israel Meeting House.
If Hillel's standard of action were followed, fear of reaction of an anti-Semitic nature would have kept Boston's Temple Mishkan Tefila, and also Temple Sinai, from honoring another anti-Catholic bigot, Dr. Emory S. Burke, Editor of Zion's Herald, as their "Brotherhood" speaker. It would also have kept Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, one of America's foremost rabbis, from playing a part in a Testimonial Dinner, where an "award," a "good will scroll," was given Anti-Good-Will Burke. This is the gentleman who was welcomed to Yugoslavia by Tito, whose character, smirched by his false charges and imprisonment of Archbishop Stepinac, he endeavored to whitewash.
Guilty of offending also are those Protestants who have been honoring Bishop Oxnam, whom the Unitarian Director of the Friends of Democracy rightly designated "the darling of the anti-Catholic movement in our country." The latest evidence of this was seen in Lowell, on "Reformation Sunday" (Oct. 25, 1953), when he is reported in the Lowell Sun to have spoken to "an overflow congregation of 2,200 persons."
Oxnam, who falsely ascribes to Catholics "a carefully calculated plan to break down the American principle of separation of Church and State," was wise enough to speak in Lowell on the abstract question of "The Protestant Contribution to American Freedom." Had he spoken on a more definite topic, for instance, The Methodist Contribution to American Freedom, rest assured he would not have added to his popularity among the Protestants of Greater Lowell; that is if he kept to historic facts.
Historic data on the above Methodist topic would reveal the fact that there would not have been any American Freedom on this side of the Atlantic, such as is expressed in the principle of Separation of Church and State, if all Protestants were to follow the Methodist course. In fact there would not have been a United States of America, if all Protestants had acted as did the Methodist Protestants during the Revolution of 1776, which resulted in
the framing of our American Constitution and Bill of Rights. John Wesley, the father of Methodism, boasted, after the Revolution, that "all the Methodists who were connected with me (while he was on this side of the Atlantic), feared God and honored the King (George III), and not one of them was any otherwise concerned in the late tumults than in doing all they possibly could to suppress them."
Nothing but ignorance, or rather brazen impudence, can account for a Methodist Bishop's questioning the Americanism of Catholics, in the face of the historic record of the Catholics who rallied to Washington, and thus made possible the Constitution, and Bill of Rights, with the principle of separation of Church and State therein. The historic record shows that there might not have been a United States of America were it not for the arms, ships, money, and men furnished by Catholic nations, and individual Catholics, whose battles ended gloriously with the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown to Rochambeau, the Catholic Commander.