I attended Evanston Township High School, once considered one of the top public high schools in the country, many decades ago. The main problem then was size (Evanston had only one public high school, with about 5,000 students) and racism. About one-fifth of Evanston's population, and a similar proportion of the school's students, was black, but few if any students of color were in college-track classes (I can't remember any in mine), and this elite school had no swimming pool. As a result of Liz Rose's article I started thinking about language classes; if Russian had been offered then (it probably wasn't), what would my parents have said if I told them that every teacher who taught Russian was required to promote acceptance of the Soviet system of government? Those who taught Chinese, of the Chinese system? and that students who refused to buy this line felt uncomfortable asking questions in class, made no friends, and dropped out? Furthermore, that the Russian and Chinese classes were supported by pro-Soviet and pro-Communist Chinese organizations? You can imagine the furor this would have caused during those cold war years. How is the question of Hebrew classes different?
I'm afraid your last sentence is wrong, Phil: I am going to bug you about Christian Nation. I'm a long-time reader and supporter of your invaluable website but am really taken aback at your attitude toward a friend trying to get you to look at a book she thinks valuable and your attitude toward the book itself. Do you only read books written by Jews? Are you against considering anything other than the ideas of your "safe" friends? Is this true of your readers, or at least those who left so many admiring comments on this piece?
You're comparing apples and rocks here, confusing a dystopian (and therefore by definition exaggerated) piece of literature with what you see as the Zionist threat to American foreign policy. I guess you have never read ANIMAL FARM or anything by Margaret Atwood. Perhaps literature isn't your thing. But it is important for a lot of people not only as an escape but as a way to follow a writer who uses imagination to play out ideas and observations of trends in society and see where they might go. Christian Nation is a NOVEL, a fantasy, an allegory, a story of what MIGHT happen to a group of people and a nation. The author is a lawyer, not a professional novelist, but he is good enough at story-telling to capture at least this reader's attention. If you have any contacts in places outside New York and ever talk to people who have obsessions different from your own you would recognize a germ of truth in the possibility that a combination of ignorance, apathy, fear, and false beliefs JUST MIGHT bring enough people to back a Christian Nation. Does it ever bother you that our President, a highly educated and sophisticated man, has to ask God to bless our nation at the end of every speech? Do you think he is talking about the God of the Old Testament?