Anti-Semitism Was Born in Christian Souls.
Anti-Semitism was born in Christian souls. European Christians blamed the death of Jesus on the Jewish People, despite the fact that both the Creeds and the Gospels make it clear that the Roman Empire was responsible for the death of Jesus. In his later years Martin Luther himself provided some of the worst words used to justify the most despicable of all Anti-Semitic government programs: the Holocaust.
Worse yet. The designers of the Holocaust drew some of their inspiration from anti-immigration “Eugenics” activists in the early 20th century who tried to establish a “scientific” basis for the superiority of Northern European people. They also managed to make it legally possible to sterilize “undesirable” people, so that the Northern European American “race” would not be made “unclean” by mixing it with inferior kinds of people.
Including Jewish People.
Hitler read the seminal text of this movement, The Passing of the Great Race, and eagerly made sterilization part of his government’s early, signature initiatives. Unfortunately, not everyone knows or understands or even “believes” the rest of the story.
The American blend of Anti-Semitism and White Supremacy embraced by Hitler is the poison running in the veins of the man who attacked the Tree of Life Synagogue and the police defending it last week: Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist, Anti-Semitic words have been spewing out of this man’s mouth, words that are echoes of the early 20th century, racist, anti-immigration rants that cut rates of immigration in the 1920’s by 97%. We’re being invaded, the murderer wrote; we’re being slaughtered.
We certainly are.
By people exactly like him.
The Anti-Defamation League reports that the number of Anti-Semitic attacks increased by 57% in 2017, the number of attacks doubling from 2016 especially among young people in schools and on college campuses. The Southern Poverty Law Center includes documentation for the recent rise in hate crimes against African-Americans, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and members of the LBGTQ community.
Why is it that when 16 million white people came to the United States between 1850 and 1930 it’s called immigration and when 7,000 people of color desperately flee violence in their own countries it’s called an attack and an invasion and we call out the military to defend our country?
Neither Anti-Semitism nor White Supremacy in any of their forms are Christian at all.
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, he affirms that the grace of the everlasting covenant God made with his people is “irrevocable.” The Jewish People are the Olive Tree onto which we Christians have been grafted. Yes, a few branches, Paul wrote, were “broken off”: yes, a few religious leaders in Jerusalem provided Pontius Pilate with bad intelligence about what Jesus was up to. But Pilate did the rest. God has “by no means,” rejected his people (Romans 11:1 and following).
Similarly, there is no Christian basis for treating some people as inferior. The visions John of Patmos recorded in the book of Revelation repeatedly affirm the vision of the Christian faith: to welcome people of all kinds into God’s family.
“After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10)
All tribes. All peoples. All languages. All are welcome. All Jews are the Olive Tree of Life onto which we have been, by the grace of God, grafted. All other visions of humanity are attacks on our own vision of humanity. And they may become attacks on our own houses of worship as well. God help us all.
Pastor Larry Lange