Friday, 13 January 2017

ANTI-SEMITISM IN AMERICA

In a recent article in the Birmingham (Ala.) "Age Herald," Rev. Dr. George Eaves sets forth his views on the cause of anti-Semitism in the United States, if the feeling which manifests itself almost entirely in social proscription can so be called. Dr. Eaves was until recently, pastor of the Congregational Church at Birmingham, and resigned his pastorate to take charge of tuberculosis work. He writes regular Sunday articles for the "Age Herald." In the paper referred to Dr. Eaves clearly describes the anti-Jewish feeling as being entirely religious and due to the pagan element in Christianity, which outweighs the Jewish ideals taught by Jesus, especially in the hearts of the "society" devotees. However, we shall let Dr, Eaves speak for himself. He said in part:

"I am about to concede the chief point ever urged by the Jew against the social inequality he suffers in America. He says it is Christianity that lies at the root of that fact. I have admitted the fact, reaching from school to cabinet, modifying the view-point of every American man and woman. I now admit that the cause of it is religious—is, if you choose, Christian. But that is not the last word. The Christian so marked, however ancient, is a local and temporary type, and has survived to this day with a trail of blood on its track, the stigmas of anti-Christ on its forehead and its hand. And the terrible paradox of the unchristian society which we call "Christian America" is the corollary of this historic fact. Its occasion is the separation and dogmatically non-Christian religious institutions perpetuated by the modern Jew. It is synagogue versus church.

"The New Testament writers were full of anti-Jewish animus. Speaking to their Gentile hearers, they accused "the Jews" of rejecting and crucifying the Messiah. Pharisee and Sadducee, priest and scribe, mystic Essene and rowdy zealot were massed in one sweeping condemnation. And the cause was not far to seek. For the first-century Jew was not gifted with philosophic calm. When he saw countrymen of his own welcoming the scum of Roman galleys and gutters into equal part in the Kingdom of God with the noblest rabbis and the heirs of prince and priest, he could not hold his wrath. If the Christian preacher quoted against him his own scriptures, this rather inflamed than appeased him. And thus the bitterest enemies on this whole earth, in the first century, were men both of Jewish ancestry, but of different theology. Out of such a state of battle have come the books most honoured by the Christian church. By those books the opinions and prejudices of eighteen and a half centuries of civilisation have been created and nourished, along with the assumption that they contain the last word of authority from eternal truth. We cannot be surprised when we catch such a sulphurous tongue of flame as this, referring to the Jewish colony of Smyrna, the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. A similar flash of fierce vindictive pride may be caught in the repetition of the same phrase concerning the Jews of Philadelphia, "Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of them which say they are Jews, and they are not, but do lie ; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee." The quotations, of course, are from John's Apocalypse. They meant plainly that the only Jew worthy the name was the Jew who had become a Christian; and that any Gentile Christian slave was a truer Jew than any non-Christian Jew, however noble, especially if he hated the Christians. So clear and so intense are these indications that the student of first-century literature can hear the gnashing of teeth, the yell of mobs, the cry of victims, and can see the lambent fires that put to shame any that Nero lit.

"No wonder the Judea-Christian churches died ! No wonder the early Gentile believers feared and loathed the Jews. No wonder, that all through the centuries ignorant and priest-ridden souls have thought of the Jew as the arch-murderer of the world ! No wonder that even late in our own times it has required courage for a Scott, or a Dickens, or a Schiller to do common justice to the Jew ! No wonder that the Jew in England had to wait till the year 1838 for the final abrogation of civil disabilities ! No wonder that to this day peasant children of Russia and of places not so far away think that it is a pious act to hurt a Jew. And no wonder that the Sunday School children of modern Birmingham imbibe from untaught teachers the impression that the Jews are under a blight and curse, and are, in fact, a parlous folk.

"Perhaps it is not necessary to say that American society is more pagan than Christian. With all its charm, and its beauty, and its philanthropy, marking uncounted thousands of individuals and modifying its thought, at its heart it is selfish and hard, cruel and wayward, brutal in some of its fairest beauties, vain in some of its gentlest ministries. This is a truism indeed, whether you say American, or French, or German, or English, or any other. Society is the one thing that defies all the arts of God, the supremely unchristian fact in this whole world. It is heir of pagan Rome, pagan Greece, pagan Egypt, pagan Britain, Germany, Ireland. Its paganism permeates its modern religions, its views of women, its patriotism, its elementary principle of conduct. But the cunning result is that society possesses the form of godliness, praises and decorates the cross, makes a virtue of philanthropy, attends church in full paint and feathers every Easter, actually listens while prayers are said and while a choir sings classically such airs as once were hummed on the streets of Pompeii. We still need a Savonarola, a Whitfield, a John Baptist.

"Further to confuse things, the American Jew, and even the Russian Jew, seeking access to society, are themselves being paganised—selling their birthright of spiritual nobility for a mess of pottage, limiting the foolishness of the rest of the world in proof that they are also Americans.

"And the result? I have told it in my first paragraphs." —" American Israelite."


Jewish Herald (Vic. : 1879 - 1920), Friday 22 November 1912, page 5

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