Thursday, November 8, 2018

Anti-Semitism in the Episcopal Church

From The Living Church-

After the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, the Rt. Rev. Dorsey McConnell, Bishop of Pittsburgh, released a statement inviting Episcopalians “to refute in every way, in every forum, the philosophical foundations of anti-Semitism wherever they have gained a foothold in our churches and our society.” In the spirit of McConnell’s call for self-examination and repentance, perhaps it is time for the Episcopal Church to reflect on its complicity in anti-Semitism.

This may strike some as surprising since the Episcopal Church seems to be the vanguard of progressive mainline Christianity. Citing the single most-quoted clause of the Baptismal Covenant, Episcopalians have been quick to condemn instances when racists or neo-nationalists have violated the dignity of human beings. Robert Bowers’ deranged attack at the Tree of Life synagogue seems to have been motivated by these forces, lately given new life by the populist politics of the extreme right. However, anti-Semitism is not only a problem of the neo-nationalist right; it is increasingly a problem of the progressive left.

Lord Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, describes anti-Semitism, or the attitude that denies the right of Jews to exist collectively as Jews, as a “virus that has survived over time by mutating.” He continues,

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