Monday, March 25, 2013

Thank you, Maud Newton

Maud Newton's essay in the 3/25/13 issue of the New York Times Magazine titled, "Oy Vey Christian Soldiers" articulated feelings I've had about the Evangelical Christian movement so much better than I could have ever said myself. The essay was mainly about Evangelical Christians having bar mitzvahs (or as they call it, a bar barakah) for their sons as a religious rite of passage.

There are so many things wrong with this idea, I barely know where to begin. Taking Jewish traditions and Christianizing them is not the way to pay homage to Judaism. As Ms. Newton put it in the essay, "There’s a big difference between building bridges across cultures to foster understanding and building bridges so you can run across and ransack the other side."

I was sorry, though not surprised, to read of all the Jewish organizations who supported this borrowing of Jewish traditions because of the Evangelical support of Israel. But the support is based on the belief that if Jews gather in Israel, it will bring about the end times so Jesus can come back and basically tell all non-believers, "I told you so!"

Add to this how the Evangelical Christians believe they are the true Jews because the Jews refuse to believe in Jesus. So are they taking our traditions out of respect to Jewish traditions or because they believe they have more of a right to them than we do?

The support of the American Evangelical Christians for Israel has become a Devil's bargain. We need their support for a strong Israel, even if we deeply disagree with their reasons.

And since I'm just going off on tangents here, let me say this to Jews for Jesus. I've read your excuse, but I don't buy it. You can't be Jewish and believe in Jesus. A Christian is someone who has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. You can't mix the beliefs. If you accept Jesus, you aren't a Jew for Jesus. You are a former Jew who converted to Christianity. You are a Christian. Be happy with the new you and stop rubbing your conversion in the face of your former religion. It's embarrassing for the rest of us and it makes your mother cry. Which is what I think was your goal to begin with.

And Christianity. You have a lovely religion with wonderful traditions, songs, messages, the whole schmeer. But can I ask a favor of not just the Evangelical Christians, but all Christians? Stop stealing other people's stuff. The symbols used during Christmas and Easter were both taken from Pagan holidays. And how did the Christians repay the Pagans? By demonizing them. So you can see why we Jews get a little nervous when we see Christians wearing skullcaps and prayer shawls having bar mitzvahs. So out of respect to the religion of your Lord, please leave our Jewish traditions alone.

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