I am setting aside what was going to be my blog in this edition to address for a moment anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism in any and all forms is a despicable evil. As we all know, a terrorist entered the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh and opened fire during Shabbat services.
John Stonestreet wrote: “This shooting took place in what is literally Mr. Rogers’s neighborhood, and has left some AmericanJews asking a question they should never have to ask: Are they safe in America? It’s not an overreaction. What’s believed to be the deadliest attack on worshipping Jews in American history is only the most recent, and most extreme, example of the increasing anti-semitism in the United States.”
I heard on the morning news that Jews account for only 2% of the American population, but according to the FBI, account for half of the targeted hate crimes committed due to “religious” bias. Anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise. In fact they rose 57% in one year. (From 2016 to 2017).
Even non-violent incidents cannot be dismissed as merely words or pranks. The Anti Defamation League is correct to warn that the anti-Semitic poison currently rampant on Twitter, Facebook, and especially social media sites like Gab, find their way into mainstream discourse and, in extreme cases, inspire violence.
As Christians called by God to this cultural moment, it’s not enough to merely avoid being anti-Semitic. We need to oppose this vile ideology wherever and whenever we come across it.
I find it very relevant to remind ourselves that God launched His plan of redemption through Israel. In Genesis it says “all nations on earth will be blessed” (Gen 22:18). This, of course, God did through Jesus, who was, as the Scriptures make abundantly clear, thoroughly Jewish.
Francis Schaeffer wrote “…we should keep constantly in our minds that our Lord Himself was a Jew-born a Jew, lived a Jew, died a Jew.” In light of that reality and acknowledging fully the Church’s checkered past when it comes to the Jewish people, we must not allow the tiniest whiff of anti-Semitism into in our heads, our homes, or our hearts. Again to quote John Stonestreet: “We hear too much of it (anti-Semitism) today, sometimes in the name of preserving Christian America. There’s nothing, and I mean nothing, Christian about anti-Semitism in any form.”
As a poem quoted by Francis Schaeffer back in 1943 reads, “How odd of God to choose the Jew, But not so odd as those who choose The Jewish God and hate the Jew.”