Condemnation by Association

My post on the problems that Christianity has in how the Jews perceive them was met with opposition by some in the Christian community. Part of the results of my doctoral research indicated that Christianity is blamed (and rightly so) for two thousand years of antisemitic actions and belief systems. Christianity, in its current form, is wholly unable to adjust from this perception and attitude. In response to this issue, I wrote an academic paper about how Christianity, as a whole, needs to repent of its antisemitic attitudes, declare those in history who were antisemitic (such as Luther, Augustine, Constantine, the entire Council of Nicaea, etc.) as heretics, and publicly apologize to the Jewish people as a whole for their history of hate crimes. This statement was attacked by individuals who are Christians with the claim that “they did not have any personal involvement in these hate crimes.” The challenge being issued is that one should not be held guilty by association, and condemnation over relationship is wholly inappropriate.

Unfortunately, this challenge is born out of hypocrisy. There are Messianic Rabbis who condemn Maimonides (RAMBAM) because of his association as a youth with Islam. There are Christian apologists and pastors who discredit the sages and rabbinical commentary because “they don’t know Jesus.” There are many who accuse the Jewish people of being Christ-killers simply because they are Jewish. Creationists disregard the efforts of Bill Nye and the scientific discoveries (such as immunizations) of brilliant individuals because of their association with atheism, labeling actual scientific proof as invalid simply because the person does not believe in Jesus.

If one wishes to not be held guilty by association, then in the words of Jesus, “remove the plank from your eye before you comment on the speck in another’s eye.” His ministry was hard-core on hypocrisy and condemned it even within his own followers. Maybe Christianity should follow the leader and recognize that if they don’t like being held guilty by association (for example, declaring Trump as the head of the church), then they need to first repent of their own sins in this field. Not every Christian is antisemitic, but every Christian is affiliated with a movement, Christianity itself, that clearly is. If the individual Christians and Messianic Jews do not want to be affiliated with antisemitism in history or even with each other, then they ought to change their stance on Maimonides and the other sages, instead looking at each person as an individual.

Maimonides wrote the thirteen principles of the faith by which Orthodox Judaism determines who is a follower or not. These thirteen principles should be evaluated on their own, compared against Torah, and not tossed out because a former Muslim studied to write them. In such a spirit, condemning the Oral Torah while following portions of it (wearing a kippah, saying a blessing over food, etc.) is a different form of hypocrisy altogether that must stop as well.