-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
That was the answer from a Hobby Lobby employee when asked where the Hanukkah goods were. The response was explained with a call to the Marlboro, New Jersey store: “Because Mr. Green is the owner of the company, he’s a Christian, and those are his values.” Hobby Lobby is an Oklahoma-based private company founded by David Green, who is known for applying “Christian values” in the running of his company. Christian hatred of Judaism and Jews has many origins, one of which can be found in the New Testament. While the Romans actually crucified Jesus, it is the Jews who have gotten the blame. The Gospels turned out to be good news for the Romans.
The tales of the final days in Jesus’ life are found in the three synoptic gospels, Mark, Matthew, and Luke, the latter two copied extensively from Mark, generally considered to have been written first.
We pick up the trail with Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin, the 71-member supreme court of the Jewish nation, which took place in the home of Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest. This scenario has several problems pointed out by eminent Jewish scholars:
1) The Sanhedrin only met the Chamber of the Hewn Stone in the Temple.
2) The Sanhedrin never met at night, contrary to the 9 PM-10 PM arrest of Jesus after the Passover supper and the prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.
3) It is simply inconceivable that the Sanhedrin met on Passover. The Sanhedrin had a strict rule of no council meetings on the Sabbath and on religious feast days, such as Passover.
4) The Sanhedrin pronounced the death sentence immediately, instead of waiting the prescribed twenty four hours.
5) Caiaphas accused Jesus of blasphemy for Jesus’ claim to be the “Son of the Blessed One.” However, use of this phrase was no capital crime.
These errors show that the author of Mark knew nothing about the rules regarding the Sanhedrin and it practices, or the crime of blasphemy. The trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin is pure fiction setting up the whitewash of the Roman participation in Jesus’ death.
The whitewash continues with Pilate’s attempt to make use of a custom in which one prisoner, of a crowd’s choice, is released during Passover. There is no historical evidence that such a custom ever existed, it is fiction intended to shift blame onto the Jewish crowd, who chose Barrabas. Barrabas is Aramaic for “Son of the Father,” and is also named Jesus in early manuscripts of Matthew. The freeing of “Son of the Father” and the sacrifice of the real Son of the Father is a literary device about atonement that parallels the Yom Kippur ceremony of Leviticus 16, the Jewish ritual of the scapegoat and atonement.
We next visit the Joseph of Arimathea narrative. Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, who offered his tomb for Jesus’ burial, from the town of Arimathea whose location is unknown and is nowhere else recorded. As pointed out by historian Dr. Richard Carrier, “Matheia means ‘disciple town’ in Greek; Ari- is a common prefix for superiority.” Arimathea can be read as “best disciple town,” an obvious pun by the writer of Mark. Joseph of Arimathea is a fictional character.
The Gospel of Mark is a work of fiction by an author who wanted to shift the blame of Jesus’ death away from the Romans. The only other players in this drama who could be blamed were the Jews. After two thousand years, the Jews are still getting the blame. Any claim that the Jews were a contributing factor in the death of Jesus is not historic. If Christians hate Jews, they’ll have to find another reason.
Click on the Watch on YouTube button to see an amazing video series about the parallels of Mark and Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey:
H/T: Ken Berwitz, Paul Tobin, Peter Kirby, Richard Carrier, PZ Myers.
87 thoughts on ““We Don’t Cater To You People””
Your comment about “It’s the theology narrative that actually gets people killed” was the main focus of my Methodist minister’s sermon yesterday. The minister said in so many words that G-d doesn’t care about the theology; He cares about goodness. Many congregants praised him for that sermon following church; it really resonated with people.
I do not know the minister’s stance (or the congregants’) on how that applies to non-Christians; I hope it echoes my view. I believe it does not matter the religion (or lack thereof); it is one’s goodness, kindness, and integrity that counts.
In any case, I thought you’d enjoy hearing that a minister preached about this issue to his congregation and that the congregation agreed with him.
The “Golden Rule” whether articulated by Jesus, the Buddha, Confucius, or Rabbi Hillel remains the simplest, most elegant conception of all philosophy needed for humans to live by. Everything else flows from there. Your Minister seems a man who truly gets it. The supposedly pious ones to watch out for, in my opinion, are the ones using theology to get your money or do their bidding.
That type is all to prevalent in every religion used by humans.
Thank you, Mike, for the thoughtful reply. Perhaps the employee at Hobby Lobby who so rudely responded to the inquiry about Hanukkah items will read your response and become more thoughtful and considerate for having read it.
“However, the divinity that Paul ascribed to Jesus were just not palatable to believing Jews. In the Jewish mindset the Moshiach (Messiah) was a human being albeit extraordinarily gifted.”
Thank you for the continuing discussion, Mike. I’m enjoying the conversation. 🙂 Here’s where I stray from being a Methodist–I agree with you on the above quote. Your addition “that among many there was also anger that the Jews in their mind repudiated one of their own in Jesus” is an important point and one that does affect the way parts of the Gospels were written. However, that still does not excuse their behavior; if they then treated Jews poorly because of their anger, then they weren’t behaving in a very Christian manner.
Despite being a Protestant (of sorts), I am not well-read at all on Martin Luther. You wrote, “Martin Luther sought to reconcile with Jews, but on his Christian terms. When those terms were rejected he began to hate them.” This piques my interest, so I’m going to have to find a good book about this history.
“I think that if there was an honest dialogue between not only Christians and Jews, but Muslims, Buddhists, etc. and etc,, based on the ethical contructs of their faiths we might do something to heal the world.”
What do you have in mind in particular? “Honest dialogue…based on the ethical constructs” sounds very broad. How would you open this discussion so the participants would not feel overwhelmed and without focus?
“It’s the theology narrative that actually gets people killed.” The reason it gets people killed is because some people think the theology is more important than the ethics (I’m not saying theology isn’t important, just that it shouldn’t override ethics, especially in the case of interpersonal relationships). Why does this happen, that theology supersedes ethics for some people of faith? (a psychoanalysis question)
“What do you have in mind in particular? “Honest dialogue…based on the ethical constructs” sounds very broad. How would you open this discussion so the participants would not feel overwhelmed and without focus?”
You may not be aware that although I practice Jewish ritual and celebrations I am a Deist in my belief. I think there is an informed Universe, a creative force if you will, but that humanity is not (and might not ever be) capable of understanding that force. I believe this because I have felt what I think is the touch of that force that has led me safety through various life threatening situations. My sense about this “protection” is that I think I’ve lived my life under Rabbi Hillel, the Elder’s strictures which you have mentioned. Yet I am enough of a self questioning person to also hold open the possibility that this belief is merely a reflection of my ego.
Further I believe that what has gotten lost is that fact that ancient humans were masters of metaphor and that people with a will to power, or an innate fanaticism, have interpreted that metaphor as historical references. The Creation story in the Torah is obviously a myth and its writers understood that.
In 600BCE Confucius formulated a concept that is directly related to what we today call “The Golden Rule”. He did it because China was wracked with warfare which horrified him and was causing chaos. In 500BCE The Buddha also preached the same formula. We know about Jesus and we know about Rabbi Hillel also putting forth that conception as the basis of how one should lead their life. While the Hellenic belief system is not an area of my expertise I would bet they too had a similar formula, as should the Hindu’s and most other religious beliefs. I think that almost all philosophy can be extrapolated from the “Golden Rule” and all ethics as well and this was Hillel’s point in ending “now go and learn (study)”. The honest dialogue needs to start there and then extapolated in ways that can construct a common ground. The dialogue, sans
theological arguments, should also be joined by Atheists, Deists, etc., because all of us have an interest in stopping the madness that has overcome humanity.
Just because I believe this is the way to change the world doesn’t mean that I think it is likely to happen. Humanity has a lot of evolving to do before it changes from predation to cooperation.
“Which, gets back to my desire for there to be a bridge between Jews and Christians. I think Christians could learn a lot (and some want to).”
we could make a movie about it. something showing both sides of the issue. we could call it
Torah! Torah! Torah!
I laughed so loud I almost woke my wife.
“I was familiar with each case they discussed and actually understood what they were saying. Mission accomplished!!”
It wasn’t this blog that made me so erudite. I think it was all those Holiday Inn Expresses that I’ve slept in.
Yes, I’ve been hanging out with Gene.
BTW … years ago I came to this blog to learn more about Constitutional Law and the Supreme Court. Last Sunday I watched a program on C-Span involving a panel of lawyers talking about the cases that the Court will probably rule on (or not) this session. I was familiar with each case they discussed and actually understood what they were saying. Mission accomplished!! (That’s how I knew to go looking for the Hobby Lobby headline 😉 … which in the opinion of those on the panel is a “probably not this session”.)
Regarding Ross S. Heckmann’s reply about “a reasonable interpretation” of the Bible: I would argue that the jerks in your high school were not behaving as Christians should and gave a bad name to all Christians with their behavior.
Yes, those passages are in the New Testament, but reasonable Christians interpret the Bible overall and include in their understanding of what it means to be Christian passages from the Old Testament (Tanakh) that express how to treat and speak to others with kindness, as well as Jesus’ New Testament exhortation to ‘love your neighbor as you love yourself’ (which, if I recall correctly, echoes Rabbi Hillel who said something like, ‘what is hateful to you, do not do to others, this is the whole of Torah, the rest is just commentary’). Most (at least mainline Protestant) Christians ignore or are oblivious to the anti-Semitic slant of portions of the Gospels, choosing to focus on doing good and following the teachings of Jesus, at least that is my experience as a Methodist.
“I say strangely sympathetic because the Romans were a brutal occupying force that were universally hated.”
Rabbi Boteach in Kosher Jesus gets into why the writers were ‘strangely sympathetic’. I think I could accurately boil it down to ‘it was all about marketing’. If the early Christians were going to make themselves distinct and make their message more palatable to the Romans, whom they wanted to convert, they needed to spin their story in their favor. Not honest or kind, but that’s essentially what happened. Well, and have mistranslations (inadvertent or not) mixed-in, which changes the message a bit, too.
Which, gets back to my desire for there to be a bridge between Jews and Christians. I think Christians could learn a lot (and some want to).
“I think I could accurately boil it down to ‘it was all about marketing’. If the early Christians were going to make themselves distinct and make their message more palatable to the Romans, whom they wanted to convert, they needed to spin their story in their favor.”
We agree on this. I would add that among many there was also anger that the Jews in their mind repudiated one of their own in Jesus. Theologically, Paul’s version of Jesus story was simply unacceptable from the Jewish mindset. However, the divinity that Paul ascribed to Jesus were just not palatable to believing Jews. In the Jewish mindset the Moshiach (Messiah) was a human being albeit extraordinarily gifted. Some “true believers” have not taken the Jews insistence on their own theistic interpretations with the charity one would expect for followers of Jesus words in the Gospels. Martin Luther sought to reconcile with Jews, but on his Christian terms. When those terms were rejected he began to hate them.
“Which, gets back to my desire for there to be a bridge between Jews and Christians. I think Christians could learn a lot (and some want to).”
I think that if there was an honest dialogue between not only Christians and Jews, but Muslims, Buddhists, etc. and etc,, based on the ethical contructs of their faiths we might do something to heal the world. It’s the theology narrative that actually gets people killed.
I’m not ordinarily a cynic but Hobby Lobby’s change of heart regarding Chanukah items could be a PR move that has nothing to do with concern for Jewish shoppers. Can’t you just hear their lawyers telling them, “Look, you don’t need anymore bad press, especially now.”
DOJ Asks Supreme Court To Review Hobby Lobby’s Contraception Mandate Case
“I’m not ordinarily a cynic but Hobby Lobby’s change of heart regarding Chanukah items could be a PR”
Do you mean they…………..might be insincere? Shocking!
You and me both, Woosty.
Mike: I’m not trying to be coy. Sorry if I am. What you experienced is a pretty awful abuse of the Gospel stories, not their proper use. I wouldn’t rely on an anti-Semite to properly interpret the Gospels. And, as for the Gospel story itself, just because some people say something doesn’t make it true, valid, or binding, either on themselves, on their children, or on millions of their fellows & their children who didn’t say any such thing in any event. Crowds of every type of people do tend to be fickle, especially with respect to whether somebody appears to be winning (as Jesus may have appeared to be on Palm Sunday), or somebody appears to be losing (as Jesus may have appeared to be after he was arrested). Unfortunately, the abuse of power, the abuse of religion, persecution, bullying, a lack of loyalty, and much besides, are all results of bad moral choices, not something that is more or less pronounced in people who profess or don’t profess any particular faith or who are from any particular background. I don’t think the Gospel passages can reasonably be interpreted to mean anything else than all are sinners, Jewish & Roman persons alike; as the apostle Paul said in his letter to the Romans, when he demonstrated that both Jewish persons & non-Jewish persons had all committed sins.
Had I not actually read the Gospels I might be inclined to accept your interpretation. However, I have read them more than once and they definitely were slanderous of the Jews and strangely sympathetic to the Romans. I say strangely sympathetic because the Romans were a brutal occupying force that were universally hated.
Saw this link this morning which shows Hobby Lobby will now carry some Chanukah items in stores nears areas with large Jewish populations. As a Jew, as I said before they have a right to not carry any items they choose, however, the barn door is already open. I won’t patronize a store that has “reformed” due to possible economic consequence. If they didn’t want my business in the first place I’ll go to one that did.
Thank you, Mike, for the link.
Now if the employee had said We don’t cotton to you people, then that would be more onerous.
Mike, I envy you getting to speak with Rabbi Boteach. From reading his articles and Kosher Jesus, he definitely comes across as a thoughtful, engaging, and generous man. The idea of somehow bridging the ideological or philosophical divide between Jews and Christians is very appealing to me.
He is a good man even though I don’t agree with some of his conservative political views. However, there is far more to him then politics. I did this blog about him some time ago.
Is Hobby Lobby’s policy of refusing to carry merchandise of particular interest to persons of the Jewish faith anti-Semitic? Of course it is. Is it lawful? Of course it is.
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