I wonder if those in routine receipt of slavish toadying grow habituated to the ministrations. If gazing down upon men whose tongues press eagerly into their boot’s narrow seams generates a feeling that is almost blasé. Does one feel gratitude to the creature prostrate before him…perhaps as an eel to the cleaner shrimp delousing his extremities? Or does the man standing feel instead contempt–that sentiment so common toward sycophants? In this particular instance, we’ve little need to speculate. Read the piece below, and I think you’ll agree.
A Christian Apology to Jewish People at Passover and Easter
As a lifelong Christian, I apologize to my Jewish friends and to all Jewish people on Passover. Our organized Christian religions have built many of our most beautiful ceremonies and beliefs upon the foundation of our Jewish leader Jesus and upon principles of Judaism and your scriptures. Yet we have also repeatedly engaged in and celebrated extremely harmful anti-Jewish stereotypes, especially at this time of Easter.
Each year many Christian churches reflect on, celebrate and reenact what we call the Passion of Jesus based in large part on Passover. In our attempt to lift up the struggles, death and resurrection of Jesus, we unfairly demonize your religion and your people again and again. We misinterpret the teaching parables of Jesus as anti-Jewish stories ignoring the fact that these stories were for an all Jewish audience. We wrongfully insist that Christianity is a religion of love in opposition to a caricature of Judaism, which we say is based only on strict laws and wrath. We condemn the Jewish people for not recognizing our God as yours. These are not only religious mistakes. These have also fueled the fires of draconian anti-Semitism for almost two thousand years.
Followers of my religion have persecuted yours. We have been responsible for millions of murders, tens of millions of acts of violence and hundreds of millions of acts of intentional discrimination and marginalization for centuries. We have engaged in Crusades in which you were targeted. We have forced untold numbers to convert from Judaism to Christianity or be slaughtered. We have cursed you from our pulpits and condemned you in our churches.
For this and so much more, I apologize. I want to continue to learn from your lives and your experiences as a people. I know many other Christians feel the same way. Our churches must challenge our ignorance, faulty theology and lack of historical knowledge of what our world was like twenty centuries ago, in order to radically reorient our religion away from anti-Semitism. We must recognize you as our sisters and brothers seeking, like us, meaningful ways to live out lives of respect, family, love and community. Together we can make our world a better place.
Jesus resides in far away heaven, but jews may still be worshiped on Earth. Though unlike his genetic descendants, the son of God at least held affection for his disciples. In contrast, the writer’s veneration will pass wholly unrequited. But perhaps that’s an element of its appeal. Maybe there’s some messianic frisson in psychically hanging oneself on a cultural cross. Or it could be that life’s languid pace makes the wait for heaven interminable. So they seek mortal proxies. I don’t know. But I do know what I believe:
If there is a God, he wants his flock kneeling only to him.