by Rabbi Stuart Federow, spiritual leader of Shaar Hashalom in Houston, March 8, 2006
HOUSTON. What bothers me most about the Christian Right is not their agenda for what they consider to be the End Of Days, ultimately our mass conversion. This part of their eschatology is no less unBiblical than the rest of their Christian theology.
What bothers me is their most recent response to the Jewish community. Members of the Jewish community were objecting to now Supreme Court Justice Alito's appointment, and making statements against his anti-abortion stance and his other Conservative political attitudes. Members of the Christian Right began to make statements threatening withdrawal of support for the State Of Israel, if the Jewish community did not silence these objections, and stop fighting the Christian Right on such Conservative Issues.
That is blackmail!
That kind of idea will be heard more and more in the years to come from the Christian Right. But what worries me most, is that there are, indeed, Jews, whose Israel-Uber-Alles approach means they will succumb to this blackmail for fear of losing Christian Right support for Israel.
Bridge Strategy Evangelism:
This leads me to write about another fear I have. There is a missionary technique called Bridge Strategy Evangelism. It works this way: One finds out first the perceived needs of the target community, meets those needs to ingratiate itself to the target community, and then, way down the road, in quiet meetings with the members of that targeted community, missionizes them, after waiting for a point in their individual lives when they are weak, for an opportune moment to evangelize.
Individuals who give a loud voice in support of the State of Israel, who hold memorial services in memory of the victims of the Holocaust with promises to Survivors of the Holocaust that it will never happen again, seem to be given free reign in Jewish circles. I worry that they are just putting into practice Bridge Strategy Evangelism. They recognize the Jewish community's perceived needs of support from the Christian Right, or from any member of the Christian community, for the State of Israel. Survivors especially, but other Jews as well, hear with comfort, messages of 'Never Again.' These individuals are then welcomed with open arms into the synagogues, are honored by Jewish organizations, receive space each week in the local Jewish press to advertise their own activities to which Jews are cordially invited.
I worry about what else they do behind our backs? Are they giving money raised from Jews to Christian missionary organizations? Are they, themselves, authors of books that Christianize our Jewish Holidays and Rituals, so that such organizations like the "Jews" for Jesus, or the Messianic "Jews," can use them to confuse the differences between Judaism and Christianity? Are any of these people throughout the United States who seem to be so supportive of Israel, and who memorialize the Holocaust, are they checked out at all by the Jewish Communities that welcome and honor them?
What are the standards for acceptance by the Jewish community? So long as one apologizes for the Holocaust, promises it won't happen again, memorializes in annual services our beloved Jewish dead, then they can circulate freely in honored positions among the Jews? So long as one supports the State Of Israel, or donates money to Israel, or leads large tours to Israel, they can be honored speakers to our Jewish community, even as they might be giving money to organizations that missionize us? Where is the line that if a member of the Christian Right crosses (no pun intended!), he or she becomes unwelcome in the Jewish Community, despite their apparent support of Israel and memorializing of the Holocaust?? Is there such a line that they cannot cross?
There is a name given to someone, usually women, who are willing to ignore morals and ethics for the sake of some gain, usually monetary gain. However that is an apt description of what the Jewish community does, every time we look the other way when members of the Christian Right support Christian organizations that missionize Jews, pervert our rituals by Christologizing them, and support the sides of social issues that we are against, for the sake of their memorializing the Holocaust or supporting the State of Israel! It is prostituting ourselves, purely and simply!
For more of Rabbi Federow's work, see his website, What Jews Believe.