Friday, August 05, 2005

Jews and the Cross

From the Canadian Jewish News, an interesting and revealing article called Jews and the Cross: An Unhappy History ... a sampling ...
When I was a child – one brought up in the Jewish Orthodox tradition – it was a staple of my childish, unreflective mind that the cross was a bad thing, and in some ways even a frightening thing. Should a cross be exhibited in my presence, I would automatically turn my eyes away from this baleful item.

As I matured, growing up in a Christian country, I was naturally exposed in both churches and museums to numerous sculptures and paintings depicting Jesus on the cross, so that in time, the cross took on a benign quality for me, as simply the expression of Christian veneration. But I can’t say that I had a true understanding of the meaning of the cross for Christianity or for Jews, nor had I ever given it much thought.

The article then proceeds through a brief overview of the history of the Church and Judaism -- highlighting acts of anti-Semitism done in the name of the cross -- and winds down with this.
I don’t doubt that today’s wearers of the cross are merely making a positive statement about their commitment to Christianity. Nor do I have reason to believe that such adornment has any intended malice. Nevertheless, it would be well for all, Jew and Christian alike, to appreciate that the cross is an expression of the accentuation of the death of Jesus rather than his life, and that this has had – and continues to have – grave consequences for Jews, not the least of which is the current intensification of anti-Semitism that is still buttressed by the accusation of the role of the Jew in Jesus’ crucifixion.

Certainly there have been acts of hateful anti-Semitism throughout history. But anyone -- in history or today -- who has undertaken these acts in the name of the Savior does not have even a basic understanding of the Gospel. To "blame" the Jews for Christ's crucifixion is asinine. If you'd like to find and punish the one responsible for the death of Jesus, you need look no farther than the nearest mirror.