A Little Bit Louder Now
Sometimes my naiveté astounds me! So there I was sitting and listening to a well-meaning moron, speaking about how local Jewish leaders ought to respond to the most recent repugnant acts of anti-Semitism in Europe. A petition? That would surely cause Jew haters to quake in their boots! Letters to Washington? I can already hear Jew haters crying “uncle”! A full-page ad in a newspaper? Without a doubt, Jew haters would, as a consequence, soon be experiencing the most terrible nightmares!
I was about to suggest that as Jews, we do absolutely nothing. Instead, let us enlist the aid of our Christian counterparts to join us in our cause and ask that they speak out on our behalf. I chose however to say nothing. I was afraid that I would either get booed or get stared at, or maybe even be ignored altogether, for even entertaining such a notion. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I must have had a guardian angel watching over me. Christian leadership speaking out against deplorable acts, where innocents are maimed and murdered? No doubt I overdosed on Dr. Pepper, yet again.
Twenty-one Christians are beheaded near Tripoli this past Sunday and nary a word is heard from Church leaders, much less the Pope. I was always under the impression that Christians believed in Hell. I was always under the impression that Christians believed in eternal damnation. At the very least, the “turn the other cheek” variety of Church leaders might have issued a statement to the effect of: May the Lord have mercy on their souls. Heck, even a tepid “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do” would have been welcome. Yet, the Church leaders have remained ominously silent.
Once upon a time, I was extremely callow. I actually harbored a grudge against the Church for what their faithful did to the Jews during the Crusades….as well as other times in our history. It was only after I learned how Christians mistreated other Christians during those very same time periods, that it finally dawned on me: If Christians can act so inhumanely toward their own, then what right do we Jews have, to expect Christians to act humanely toward us?
Apparently, traces of callowness remain in me. If Christian leadership is embarrassingly mute when it comes to speaking out against atrocities carried out against fellow Christians, then what right do I have as a Jew, to expect Christian leadership to speak out against atrocities carried out against Jews?
Dan L’Chaf Z’chut! Give them the benefit of doubt, adjure our rabbinic sages. If so, then it behooves me to borrow from the lyrics of the 1959 song, Shout, recorded by the Isely Brothers. If in fact Christian Leadership did speak out either against atrocities directed at Christians or atrocities directed against Jews, however incredulous this may sound, then I turn to them and say… a little bit louder now.