NY Sun Column by Hillel Halkin Fawns Over the Vatican's Attention to the Jews

This Halkin essay is a five star head shaker.

I'm still shaking my head - no, no, no. Take it as a compliment?

Mr. Halkin takes as a compliment the revival by the Pope and the Vatican of a disgusting antisemitic prayer. This just reconfirms my opinion of the NY Sun and its over the top neocon agenda.

If the little people would only realize how wonderful the world is and leave the decisions to the elite and the rich folk, that would be just dandy.

Here the elite is the Vatican. And whatever they do, well that is just another example of how utterly perfect the status quo is.

But Mr. Halkin is wrong beyond all boundaries known to me.

Look, let me try a story. Maybe Halkin will follow a story.
Let's just say for a minute that you are happily married. One day the man across the street announces to your wife and the whole neighborhood that as long as she stays married to you, she will go to hell. And that man sits on his porch and sings songs about how great it would be if your wife would leave you and come live with him.
Do you get it Halkin? It doesn't seem like anyone I know would consider that much of a compliment. Most of the people I hang out with would find that irksome, rude, insulting, antisocial, inciteful, hateful. Especially the part about how your wife will burn in hell if she doesn't leave you.

No, Halkin. I guess you are just a different sort of person. You'd think that part was a compliment too. The neocon trance. Everything is just hunky dory the way it is, under the caring rule of the beneficent elite.

[Halkin actually says in this essay, "What kind of Christian would it be who, convinced that his Jewish friend was bound for everlasting torment, did not do everything to save him from it? What kind of friend?" And he is not criticizing the Christians. He is justifying them. What kind of contorted logic?]

So here we go, half of the "conservative" article, gloriously continued in the Sun...where Halkin takes us Jews to task for our benign poetic prayers, which he somehow equates with the pernicious and insidious liturgical agendas of others.
Take It As a Compliment

It is certainly possible to understand, as an instinctive reaction, the objection of Jews to Christians praying that they see the light and accept Jesus as their savior. For long centuries, Jews were reviled, discriminated against, persecuted, and sometimes murdered for the crime of not seeing the light. A Christian prayer for a Jewish soul can trigger some scary reflexes.

Still, I must say that I find 21st century Jewish protests against such prayers, or other expressions of the Christian wish that Jews convert to Christianity, amusing. The era of the auto-da-fé is over. Atavistic reactions aside, it's hard to see what makes major Jewish organizations like the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League repeatedly do such things as send frantic messages last week to the Vatican, demanding that it change a newly worded Good Friday mass that reads in part:

"Let us pray for the Jews. May the Lord enlighten their hearts to accept Jesus Christ … Eternal and omnipotent God, You who desire all Your creatures to be saved and know the truth, let Israel be redeemed by passing through the gates of Your church."

Are the AJC and ADL worried that God might actually listen to such a prayer? If so, we Jews are in greater trouble than we thought. But it's more likely that they would explain their position by saying:

"We cannot acquiesce in Christians telling us on the one hand that, after all these centuries, they now respect Judaism as a legitimate faith, yet that on the other hand they intend to go on praying that Jews abandon it. You can't respect another person's religion and still expect him to exchange it for your own."
I just do not have the fortitude to reproduce the rest. Go here if you must have more.

[Hat tip to Steve B. ...]


Mar Vista Mustang said...

>>"as she stays married to you, she will go to hell."

Tzvee, let me point out that your analogy grossly distorts Catholic teaching on salvation (and damnation). Catholicism does not teach that non-Catholics automatically go to hell. Rather, "Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved." (Catechism, sec. 1260)

Tzvee Zahavy said...

Just so you know, what you say is profoundly insulting to me. My faith is legitimate, not lacking. I am not in need of salvation from you, nor do I await it. I have not distorted the intent or the content of your church and its profoundly antisemitic rhetoric. You ought to be ashamed to be a member of a church that is so antagonistic to Jews.

Mar Vista Mustang said...

Hmm ... I point out that your analogy doesn't square with Catholic teaching, and I give a citation from the Catechism. In return I am met with presuppositions, invective and denial, with no facts in sight.


I was given a fairer shake when a Catholic blogger and I took it to the mat over whether or not disparagements of Jesus are in Shas.

I see you've already blogged on Prof. Neusner's article on the Good Friday prayer, so it's clear that Jeffrey Tobin's articulated hopes in the Jewish Exponent will find no reception in this forum. Tobin's two key assertions for me are:

"Genuine interfaith dialogue is not rooted in agreement, but rather, on agreement to disagree. The trick is to do so in a civil manner, and to avoid public attacks on each others [sic] faiths that can only lead to discord and prejudice."

and, even more crucial:

"...what we need to to do is ... continue the work of bringing the two faiths closer together in defense of Western freedoms."

I lament the disagreement you and I have.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

Thanks for your persistence Coleen.

(a) Just to make this clear, I have no desire or intention to engage in interfaith dialog. I do not know why you think that I do. I believe that the entire concept has been used by the church as a means of controlling the agenda and deflecting real criticism.

(b) There is no single right way to conduct discourse. For you or anyone to tell us that there is plain bullying: Do it my way or you are wrong. Apparently, Tobin has swallowed that hook line and sinker. He's lost in the rhetoric of the bullying church.

(c) This is a topical blog, welcome to it. Feel free to disagree, to agree to disagree, in whatever manner you wish. I do not lament our disagreement. I accept the integrity of your viewpoint.

(d)"You are doing it too" - is not a valid defense in any court. And by the way, when are you Jew-Killers going to stop calling us Christ-Killers?

(e) 2 billion v. 16 million. Who is the bully here?

Mar Vista Mustang said...

Your words speak for themselves.

Gd bless.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

I didn't sneeze.

Mar Vista Mustang said...