More Ch-Ch-Changes and C-C-Confessions: A Unique American Moment in Jewish-Christian Relations

Pastor John Hagee, Christian Zionist.

Pastor John Hagee, Christian Zionist.

The response to yesterday’s post was both surprising and gratifying. The comments by our readers are so insightful, so profoundly moving that Seraphic Secret is using today’s post to answer all the lovely comments.

We have reached a unique moment in history. And by we, I mean Torah Jews — Jews who observe the rules of kashrut, keep the Sabbath and endeavor to fulfill the 613 Mitzvahs contained in the Torah.

In the past, Christianity was overwhelmingly hostile to Judaism. This hostility expressed itself in myriad social and religious forms. Europe, for Jews, was frequently a slaughterhouse. Sometimes, it was convert or die. At other times, it was just plain die.

Pope John Paul prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish state.

Pope John Paul II prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish state.

My parents and grandparents came to America with all the fears and prejudices one would expect from those who had grown up with living memories of pogroms, and the greatest pogrom of all, the Holocaust.

I grew up fearing and hating Christians. They were, as far as I was concerned, Jew-haters who worshiped a dead Jew.

It has taken time, but I now see that American Christians are not European Christians. We Jews have nothing to fear from American Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, etc. The Jew-hatred that characterized—and still does in post-Christian Europe—European society is absent in America.

The unique moment is this: I have more in common with my pious Christian friends than I do with liberal-progressive Jews.

I differ with my numerous Christian friends on points of theology. But I have learned to appreciate and respect Christianity. And our theological differences are minor when set against our common values.

This past week, my friend Michael Medved, in Los Angeles for Shabbat, spoke to a group of us about Jewish-Christian relations in America.

He asked: “What do I have in common with Woody Allen?”

Answer: Very little.
They were both born of Jewish mothers, so according to halacha — Jewish law — both are Jewish. But that’s it. Woody Allen’s values have almost nothing in common with traditional Jewish values. Michael reminded us that Woody Allen penned an editorial in which he accused the Israeli Defense Forces of being “modern stormtroopers.”  The state of Israel, declared child-molester Allen, is an “international embarrassment.”

Compare Allen with Pastor John Hagee and other committed Christian Zionists who actively support and donate millions to Israel.

Liberal-progressive Jews darkly whisper that these Christians only seek to convert Jews.

This is a libel.

Not one of my Christian friends has ever hinted at seeking conversion.

In fact, it seems to me that pious Christians only want Jews to be more observant.

Perhaps liberal-progressive Jews fear conversion because they recognize that their own faith and observance is such a leaky vessel that their children are low-hanging fruit for other faiths.

America is unique. American Christians are unique. This is a unique moment in history.

Baruch HaShem, Thank G-d.

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50 Comments

  1. Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I would highly recommend “Power Faith and Fantasy; America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present,” by Michael B. Oren.  Within the narrative, it partially explains the transformation of European Christianity to American Christianity.  
    Elsewhere, people can read about the difference between the ordinary, originally Roman Catholic, theology called “Replacement Theology.”  Simply put, according to this normative Christian theology, Christians “replaced” Jews as G-d’s Chosen People due to Jews “rejecting” Jesus.  For close to two thousand years, this made Christians “chosen” by G-d and, according to this idea, Jews were “rejected” by G-d.  As history progressed, this made Jews despised and liable to the most horrific persecution and death by G-d’s “New Chosen” people.
    And again, simply put, American Christians changed this theology.  Over a period of several hundred years, early Americans developed a kind of “Fulfillment Theology” that replaced “Replacement Theology” in Christianity.  
    According to our forebears – the European monarchs were Pharaoh; Europe was “Egypt;” the Atlantic Ocean was the River Jordan; the American Indians were the Caananites; and the Christian Europeans of all stripes who wanted to worship in their own way, were the Israelites going to the Promised Land – America!
    According to this idea, G-d Fulfilled His promises to Christians by leading them to their “Holy Land,” America.  America Christians no longer considered themselves as having replaced the Jews.  The Jews once again were G-d’s Chosen People in this Christian Fulfillment Theology.  It took close to 500 years but, world Christianity finally followed this American theology until there is no major Christian sect today that claims that the Jews are not still G-d’s Chosen People.  (Of course, what that means to be Chosen is still wide and varied…)
    This tends to mean that devout Christians, even in Europe and elsewhere, are no longer antisemitic.  However, as Europe has largely abandoned Christianity in favor of Leftism, they continue to hate Jews.  The evolution of the Christian notion of Jews as a RACE of Deicides (Christ killers) came full bloom with the Holocaust and Nazi racial ideology.  With the abandonment of Christianity in Europe, Jews are no longer Christ killers but, they are still a “Race” of people despised by all that is “Holy” – The Left; the fastest growing religion on the planet.
    We can all thank G-d that the United States of America is one of the most Christian nations on this planet that has completely revolutionized Christianity into force for Good for all mankind.  
    And, of course, as Michael Medved has noted in his history series; this is no accident.  Apparently, G-d has Chosen the United States and American Christians to change the world for the better.  May we all go from strength to strength.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. kishke
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    There was plenty of Jew-baiting done in my Brooklyn neighborhood when I was a kid. Often it was done by Catholic kids, who used to say that we killed their god, but others got in the act too. I think it has abated a lot since those days, though.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Kishke:

      The Irish kids on my block, East 10th street in Brooklyn, frequently knocked my yarmulke off my head while calling me Christ killer. I learned to keep away from them. I agree, I don’t think this happens much anymore. Vatican II drastically changed Catholic attitudes.

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  3. Franny
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I can relate to the experiences of Johnny, DrCarol, Barry, and Nickie. I grew up Italian-Catholic in a working class to lower-middle class neighborhood not far from NYC. We had many Jewish family friends and acquaintances, including holocaust survivors.
     
    My Dad seldom had time to read, but I remember him having a copy of “Exodus” on his bedside table, Everyone I knew was pro-Jewish and pro-Israel. In the 60’s it was “hip” to be pro-Israel, it seemed, as all the pop-culture icons (including Kennedy Democrats) followed suit.
     
    However, I do know someone who grew up Jewish in Montreal in the 40’s and was beaten up as a kid by French Canadian boys for being a “Christ-killer”. Hearing his story made me grateful for my upbringing, as it would never have occurred to me or my friends to think or do such a thing.

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    • Barry
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      I happen to be living in Montreal at this time and while none of that appears to go on any longer, the  Province of Quebec is surely, by statute, the most parochial spot in North America and, while benign in its application, on the cusp of totalitarianism.

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      • Robert J. Avrech
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        Barry:

        I remember when Quebec was seething with the Quebecois movement. I hope that madness, at least, has faded away.

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        • Barry
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          Robert:
           
          It has not. There is a separatist government in office at this moment. There are stories, played down a bit, but in The Globe and Mail, National Post, etc. re language police. Oddly, at least to me, english speaking people do think of themselves as Quebecers. There are entrenched prejudices everywhere but there is also charm and kindness.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Miranda Rose Smith
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      Dear Franny: Everyone who knows the real story of the voyage of the “Exodus” finds both the book and the film HILARIOUSLY innaccurate!!!

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      • Miranda Rose Smith
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

        CORRECTION: “inaccurate.”

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  4. Miranda Rose Smith
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    Regarding Woody Allen: If you want to watch a movie made by people who respect the human race, which Allen doesn’t, and see how such respect shines through the work of the director, scriptwriter and actors, watch CAPTAIN NEWMAN, M.D.,with Gregory Peck and Tony Curtis, may they both rest in peace. Gregory Peck plays an army hospital psychiatrist, and his scenes with the combat fatigue cases are gut-wrenching and heart breaking. Tony Curtis is the cocky, working class Jewish orderly, from Jersey City, who will steal, FOR THE PATIENTS, anything that isn’t red hot or nailed down. His scenes are hilarious. Just compare Curtis’s Jewish boy from a working class background with the Jewish boy from a working class background in any Woody Allen movie.

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    • Barry
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      I have seen that film and it is “liberal” in all the right ways. Great stuff.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Miranda Rose Smith
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        Dear Barry: Glad you liked it.:-)

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  5. Miranda Rose Smith
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    The state of Israel, declared child-molester Allen, is an “international embarrassment.”
    Child molester? I believe you’re thinking of Roman Polanski. TECHNICALLY, Soon-Yi Previn was a consenting adult.
     

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    • kishke
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Polanski is not a “molester,” he’s a rapist. He raped a child who was more or less “rented” to him by her mother.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Miranda Rose Smith
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

        Dear Kishke: Good point, but are you sure about the renting? Who told you that?

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        • kishke
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink

          Just something I remember reading. I don’t mean there’s was a dollars and cents transaction, but the mother made her daughter available in exchange for whatever … access, money, who knows?

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          • Miranda Rose Smith
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 12:05 am | Permalink

            Dear Kishke: You should really be more careful with that kind of allegation.

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            • kishke
              Posted January 20, 2013 at 6:10 am | Permalink

              Why should I be more careful? In fact, the mother did make her daughter available to him. This is not supposition, it is fact. She did it b/c she gained something thereby.

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  6. Rahel
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    I can corroborate what you say about devout American Christians having more in common with me as a religious Jew than many non-observant American Jews. When I took a course long ago at a local Conservative synagogue in upstate New York, one of the women in the class noticed that I always wore skirts. She asked me, “Are you religious?” I said I was. She said, “Oh, we all go through stages.” I was speechless.
    She didn’t know that I paid a high price to become religious. No, it had nothing to do with a romantic relationship or a career. It had to do with an extremely painful and devastating incident that had taken place only a short while before. But even without that, the insensitivity of her remark stunned me. She didn’t know me at all — how could she make any assumptions about my motivations for becoming religious or know about any stages I was going through? If I’d remarked to her on her (presumed) lack of observance, she would have had my head, and with good reason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Rahel:

      Thanks so much for the valuable and intimate anecdote, which imparts so much truth.

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  7. Nickie Clifford
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Robert,
     
    I agree with your observation that an American Christian is unlike a European Christian.   I would actually take this one step further though and suggest that an American in general is unlike a European vis-a-vis our lack of penchant toward anti-semitism (I am aware that there are exeptions).  My first experience of anti-semitism occurred during high-school when my family and the next-door neighbors each hosted a Swedish exchange student for the school year.  The neighbor’s girl proudly sported a keffiyeh similar to the one Yassir Arafat wore.  Naive child that I was it truly perplexed me that this girl was virulently anti-Israel and from some not-so-subtle comments she made – anti-semitic as-well.  At the time EVERYONE was still very pro-Israel.  We lived in a majorly (although, not entirely) Christian suburb.  Not once during my childhood had I EVER heard ANYONE utter a derogatory comment about Judaism.  In fact, it was simply out of the question. There were a couple of Jewish families in our neighborhood.  We were aware of this, thought nothing of it – the fact only being mentioned (or thought about) once-a-year during the holiday’s when we admired the blue lights that adorned their homes – rather than the usual multi-colored Christmas lights.  It wasn’t until several years later when I toured most of Europe during college (including Sweden) that I realized this young-ladies’ prediliction – far from being an anomaly – was a more overt expression of prevailing European attitudes.  Who knew?  I had been raised in an environment where everyone thought Israel was a righteous little country that deserved our admiration, respect and support (and yes, part of this assumption rested upon the underlying Christian value of doing what is morally just – and, in that, attempting to right a collective wrong perpetrated upon a people.  Atonement, anyone?).  If I were Jewish I would be a Zionist.  I suppose as a staunch supporter of Israel myself – I may in a way BE a Zionist (although, until reading your post I had no-idea one could actually be a Christian Zionist).  It just seems like the ‘right’ thing to do.  The fact that there are American Jews that are not supportive of Israel is incomprehensible to me.  Therefore, you and your other Jewish readers – and myself, and your other Christian readers – view the world similarly and are natural allies.  Forget the Christian/Jewish thing – we’re all just people with this commonality – which is why we found our way to your blog.          

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    • Barry
      Posted January 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Nickie:
       
      I grew up in similar circumstances but in the Northeast. Meaning we were all onside with Israel. Those people, Jewish background, Irish, It alian, what haveyou, are Republicans today, but just a fw miles away you have that same ethnic makeup, not Democrats so much, as self absorbed progressives. And, not only at least somewhat cool to Israel but happy to remember the Soviet Union with cautiously warm feelings. Hard to believe.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • Robert J. Avrech
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        Barry:

        Hatred of Israel almost always goes along with warm fuzzy feelings for Communism and hatred of America. It’s the nature of the beast. Which is why we always remind our readers that Israel/Jews are the canary-in-the-coal mine for western civilization.

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        • Barry
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

          Robert:
           
          Yes, that is clear, but almost sinful that people require a reminder.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Miranda Rose Smith
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 1:20 am | Permalink

      Dear Mr. Clifford:
      I wonder if your Swedish exchange student knows about the rape rate in Malmo. She must. She must also know who’s committing those rapes. She must also know that if she ever gets her wish and Israel is, G-d forbid, destroyed, her precious “Palestinians,” who she doesn’t give a hoot in hell about, except as cat’s paws to finish off the Jews for her, otherwise she would say “The ‘Palestinians’ are Arabs and the Arab states should cut the bull**** and take them in,” will be free to concentrate on Europe. Along with their fellow Arabs, they will demand and attack Europe, and the European Union army couldn’t fight off a Brownie troop armed with plastic baseball bats. Europe will fall to those wonderful folks who are raping all those Swedish girls in Malmo, and as long as the Jews are destroyed, she obviously doesn’t care. 
       
       

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      • Miranda Rose Smith
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:06 am | Permalink

        I wonder how Mr. Clifford’s Swedish excahnge student would react to a suggestion that Sweden be returned to the Lapplanders. She’s probably so self-hating and culture hating that she’d agree.

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        • Miranda Rose Smith
          Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:08 am | Permalink

          CORRECTION-DON’T DELETE:
          I wonder how Mr. Clifford’s Swedish exchange student would react to a suggestion that Sweden be returned to the Lapplanders.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Nickie:

      I don’t know what it is in the Scandinavian water, but young Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes are totally on-board with the genocidal Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad. There are a huge number of women among these blond-haired, blue-eyed Jew-haters who seem to have a sexual fetish for Kalashnikov carrying Arab Muslim terrorists. These women, and I have met a few, are far crazier and more blood-thirsty than their Arab boyfriends. Which is why there is a well established doctrine in some elite anti-terrorist units called: “Shoot The Female Terrorist First.”

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      • Nickie Clifford
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:22 am | Permalink

        Interesting to note Robert, ‘Yvonne’ was a gorgeous, statuesque, white-blond, COMMUNIST, with a penchant for bad-boys (and very free and easy tendencies).  Contrast that with a group of quite conventional little “Valley Girl” types clad in pastel Izod-Lacostes – with a ‘penchant’ for future C.P.A’s;)   

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      • Miranda Rose Smith
        Posted January 20, 2013 at 12:09 am | Permalink

        Dear Robert: Do these pro-Hamas women not realize what will happen to them if they get their wish and Israel is, G-d forbid, destroyed, and the Arabs are free to concentrate on Europe?

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  8. DrCarol
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    As an evangelical Christian I was taught right from the start about the special place G-d has for the Jews, and to love Israel.  When I was five I asked my dad after our family Bible reading if we were Jewish.  I was very disappointed when he said we weren’t–because I could not imagine anything more wonderful than to be chosen of G-d. 
    Children in my denomination are taught about Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, King David, King Solomon, and Esther long before they learn about Paul Revere and George Washington.  One of the wonderful things about my trip to Israel a few years ago was the feeling of being home, because I was so familiar with the land–even if I couldn’t read the language.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Dr Carol:

      You have told us that story about your father before and I always imagine your crushed feelings and feel like reaching out to that little girl and making her an honorary Jew:-)

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      • DrCarol
        Posted January 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        I would like nothing better.  :-)
         

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    • Bob
      Posted January 19, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Dr Carol:
      I myself am a typical American – part Scots-Irish, part French, part English, and who knows what else.  Just sort of a Heinz 57.  Like you, I also wish I were part Jewish, but we are what we are.  As an evangelical Christian I was taught to love and respect the Jewish people and the state of Israel for the sake of Jesus and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. I was fortunate enough to visit Israel some 30 years ago through the kindness of some wealthy church members who underwrote the expense of my trip.  It was a wonderful experience which I shall never forget.  If I ever could afford to return I would do so in a heartbeat.  May God Almighty keep His hand of protection upon Israel and all Jews worldwide in these troubled times.  In the end, we Christians and Jews will need one another.

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      • DrCarol
        Posted January 20, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        Bob,
        I want to go back too.  My 99-year-old aunt, who is a minister, still leads tours a couple of times a year.  Unfortunately, since I’m a professor I cannot go during the academic year.  The only time I can go is summer, when it’s beastly hot. Still, if I could scrape up the money I would be there in a heartbeat.
        The frightening things going on in the US and around the world are driving committed Christians and Jews together.  We must be united in prayer and in action –standing in the gap–against the evil that is threatening us all. 

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  9. sennacherib
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know, but I grew up (in Texas) with the idea that if you followed the law, then what religion you subscribed to was none of my business. A rather quaint idea that I still adhere to.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      sennacherib:

      Well, yeah, you grew up in a free state! Karen and I have cousins who moved to Dallas a few years ago and they love it. The Orthodox Jewish community in Texas is growing by leaps and bounds. We plan to visit our cousins in Texas very soon.

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  10. D_mnFinn
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    There is a little known fact in LDS history, that in the early days of the LDS church they sent an Apostle to dedicate the land of Israel to the return of the scattered remnants of Israel.

    One of Hyde’s most significant missions was a call to preach in Jerusalem. From April 1841 to December 1842, he proselyted in Palestine.
     
    Originally he was supposed to travel with John Page, another prominent Mormon, but Page never showed up in New York and Hyde left without him. According to the minutes of the meeting on April 6, 1840, at which Hyde was dispatched he was “to visit the cities of London, Amsterdam, Constantinople, and Jerusalem; and also other places that he may deem expedient; and converse with the priests, rulers, and elders of the Jews, and obtain from them all the information possible, and communicate the same to some principal paper for publication, that it may have a general circulation throughout the United States.”[citation needed] His letter of introduction claimed that “The Jewish nations have been scattered abroad among the Gentiles for a long period; and in our estimation, the time of the commencement of their return to the Holy Land has already arrived.”[citation needed]
     
    Hyde spent from April 1841 to December 1842 in Jerusalem. He recorded that before dawn on October 24, 1841 he climbed up the Mount of Olives overlooking the city, then both wrote and recited a prayer, part of which reads:
     

    “Now, O Lord! Thy servant has been obedient to the heavenly vision which Thou gavest him in his native land; and under the shadow of Thine outstretched arm, he has safely arrived in this place to dedicate and consecrate this land unto Thee, for the gathering together of Judah’s scattered remnants, according to the predictions of the holy Prophets — for the building up of Jerusalem again after it has been trodden down by the Gentiles so long, and for rearing a Temple in honor of Thy name. Everlasting thanks be ascribed unto Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast preserved Thy servant from the dangers of the seas, and from the plague and pestilence which have caused the land to mourn. The violence of man has also been restrained, and Thy providential care by night and by day has been exercised over Thine unworthy servant. Accept, therefore, O Lord, the tribute of a grateful heart for all past favors, and be pleased to continue Thy kindness and mercy towards a needy worm of the dust.”[9]

    Having dedicated Jerusalem and Palestine for the ingathering of the Jews, Hyde departed the mountain after building a small altar with stones. The Orson Hyde Memorial Garden on the Mount was dedicated to Hyde in 1979.
    He who blesses Israel is blessed, he who curses Israel is cursed.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      dm:

      Fascinating. Thanks so much for the story.

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  11. Johnny
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I have no trouble believing none of your friends have tried to convert you. I would expect my friends to respect my faith and assume if I were interested in converting I would broach the subject. To do so otherwise would be seen in the same light as a friend pushing their Amway products.   
     
    I remember a sermon where the pastor wished we were more enthusiastic about our beliefs as the young white-shirted Mormon youths that spent their days knocking on doors in the neighborhood. And these Mormons were the nicest and least pushy prosthelytisers imaginable. 7 year old Girl Scouts are pushier and scarier selling their cookies door to door.
     
     

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    • kgbudge
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Mormonism is definitely a proselyting religion, and I accept my duty as a Mormon to seek converts. But Mormonism also teaches religious tolerance. I try to balance the two as best I can. If someone asks about my religion, I’m happy to tell them. If someone expresses curiosity or interest in religion generally, I’m happy to invite them to hear about mine. If someone is pretty settled in their religious beliefs — and, in my experience, most people are — then I think the best and least offensive way to proselyte is simply to live my religion the best I can, and approach any religious discussion on a let’s-learn-about-each-other basis. It seems to work all right.
      I wonder if the commitment to religious tolerance helps keeps most Mormon missionaries from being too obnoxious. I’m glad your experiences have been pleasant. I hope they’re more typical than not.
      Robert, I do read your posts regularly. If I haven’t commented much lately, it’s because I haven’t that much to add. And also, frankly, because the last election results left me speechless.

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      • Robert J. Avrech
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        kg:

        Good to hear from you. Karen and I have also been depressed since the election. Depression mixed with a good dose of fury. It’s tempting to just give up, sit in a corner and veg out. But that’s what they want. But I won’t let these crypto Marxists colonize America.

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        • kgbudge
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          Well, I finally had to give up sitting in the corner curled in a fetal position and sucking my thumb. It was scaring the cats.
           
          The voters really went nuts this time.

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          • Nickie Clifford
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

            For Kg, Robert and Karen,
             
            Kg – I just read your ‘cats’ comment and burst out laughing – just had to let you know;)  As for the ‘depression’ issue – try dealing with an elderly couple slightly to the right of Barbara Bush and perhaps – Rush Limbaugh? (my parents) – who feel the need to vociferously regale EVERYONE they come in contact with the fact that they feel the American electorate is crazy and deluded.  Yeah, we agree with them – but we’re living in California and we’d prefer the wait-staff NOT spit in our Latte’s;)  I suppose it’s just part of the ‘joy’ of being a member of the “Sandwich Generation” (we knew it wasn’t going to be pretty;)  

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  12. Bill Brandt
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I have always been perplexed at “Christians” who hate Jews. Jesus was referred as rabbi, and early Christianity was really nothing more than a radical sect of Judaism.
     
    To hate Jews as a “Christian” is to hate Jesus, who was a Jew.
     
    I wonder if G*d ever shakes his head looking at Man.

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    • Johnny
      Posted January 16, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Bill, growing up Catholic I too never knew I was supposed to hate Jews. The only “contact” with Jews was in religion class studying the Bible. And it seemed the bad guys in the Bible were the Romans since Jesus and the Apostles were Jews. Anything the pharisees or Judas did was necessitated for our salvation and not one priest or nun in 12 years of Catholic education ever taught us there was some collective guilt on the part of Jews for the crucifixion. How was he going to die for our sins unless his enemies put him on the cross?
      It wasn’t until I got to college that I was told by the leftists organizing protests against the Israeli “occupation” that the Jooooos were evil.  I encountered more anti-Semitism in four years at a secular college than I did in my Catholic schools.

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      • Bill Brandt
        Posted January 16, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Johnny – you mentioned an aspect that I thought of bringing up earlier …and didn’t…. to those “Christians” who hate Jews because they “killed Christ” are sorta missing the point…. ;-)
         
        You have to look at what a rational person would consider wondrous – the recreation of Israel after 1000s of years – after – in Leviticus G*d tells the Jews I will scatter you among the nations
         
        I do not wish to move this to a discussion of prophesy (which of course everyone can have  a different view) except to say throughout the Bible G*d has a different view of His people than the haters ;-)
         
         

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Bill:

      The Torah tells us that G-d is frequently disappointed in mankind.

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  13. Posted January 16, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I always viewed the “Judeo-Christian evolution” as a series of reformations.  There was this Jewish guy who split off to start a group called Christianity. Then there was this German guy who reformed Catholicism into Protestantism, and so on. Even within Judaism, there are levels of orthodoxy and reform.
     
    Some view these splitter groups as people who don’t keep the faith of the original group, but I tend to see these diverging systems as G-d’s way of mass marketing. Each may worship differently and may believe a different book or scroll is divinely written, but I am but a lowly man. How could I possibly understand what G-d has in store for all of humanity? It is enough that I see good deeds, good works, and good people in each of these religions.
     
    That is what troubles me the most about fanatical Islam. I am deeply troubled by a prophet who wants people to convert or be beheaded.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Prophet Joe:

      Fascinating and valuable way of looking at religious reformation. And as you say, none seems to exist—or survive—in Islam, which is, of course, why is cause for deep concern.

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