There was a time when evangelicals just whispered the “J” word. Now, Trump has given license to say whatever bigoted stray thought that escapes their closed minds. Take for example, QAnon Christian, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who blamed California wildfires on a space laser controlled by “Globalists” – code word for the Rothschild banking firm. And Jewish multi-billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who a motley collection of MAGA cultists see as a nefarious mastermind of international conspiracies. It was impetus enough for a Florida man to deliver a pipe bomb to the Soros home. “Soros was the one behind everything,” an acquaintance recounted him repeating. “He was the one buying the whole Democratic Party, he was the epicentre of what is going wrong in the United States of America.”
Blame the Jew. “The truth is”, writes Seth Cohen, “there is only one sordid reason for why attacks on George Soros are constantly trending, and it is not because of his money or his politics. It is because he is Jewish.” He shares that blame with Jews who “control” Hollywood, the media, banking and finance. The usual suspects: Janet Yellen, (Jewish Secretary of the Treasury) and Lloyd Blankfein (Jewish Goldman Sachs Chairman). Others “who don’t have your good in mind.” “I stand with the Christians worldwide not the global bankers who are shoving godlessness and degeneracy in our face,” fervent evangelical Wendy Rogers recently scapegoated. Her solution: build more gallows for these traitors.
Last November, I posted The Problem With Judaism: All The Good Jews Live In Israel which identified Soros as the personification of Jewish blame for the moral collapse of Western civilization. (For Donald Trump, who claims American Jews are disloyal, as with a wide assortment of Christian Zionists, Israel-loving is “a different story.”) “Most churches in America today do not think they are anti-Semitic. Many churches allow small attacks on Judaism that make larger attacks more likely”. Evangelicals blithely imprint Soros, a Holocaust survivor, while pretending the ugly trope is not an ambiguously disguised reference to Jews as a whole.
There was always anti-Semitism in evangelicalism. One can recall Billy Graham candidly speaking with President Nixon, unaware that he was being recorded. The Watergate tapes reveal Graham’s personal feelings about his Jewish “friends”: ”They swarm around me and are friendly to me because they know that I am friendly to Israel and so forth. But they don’t know how I really feel about what they’re doing to this country”. Things have changed since. They’ve taken an extreme turn for the worse. And evangelical churches are a hub for radicalization. Forget that passé right-wing mantra, Judeo-Christian heritage. “We have to have one religion ” Mike Flynn spouts as he traverses the country speaking at churches.
Anti-Semitic Beliefs Grow Among Evangelicals, reads a Forward headline. Take for example, popular right-wing pastor Rick Wiles of Florida (a state where anti-Semitic incidents have increased by 50%). Wiles called the attempt to impeach President Donald Trump a “Jew coup”. He went on to claim Jews will “kill millions of Christians.” Perhaps he took a cue from Hitler-loving Trump himself, who outright threatened U.S. Jews to “get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel – Before it is too late!” “We are called to be at odds with any religion that does not acknowledge Jesus as the Prince of Peace,” another Florida pastor declared. Or take celebrity convert Kanye West’s threat to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE”. These are not outliers in an evangelical church disfigured into a politically-influenced identity cult. “This is not an aberration in behavior. It is the default.”
What to do? Firstly, Christians should verse themselves in what St. Paul commands: “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good”, and “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12). Secondly, determine you will love and pray for them, regardless. Thirdly, reclaim the Gospel from those kidnapping the faith, watching out “for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.” (Romans 16).
If anything, Christians can learn a lesson from House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, who recently invoked a new committee rule against “batsh** crazy” legislation (in this case, from Lauren Boebert) from proceeding. “I’m sorry. We’re not doing this”, he declared. “We’re not doing this. I’m not going down that road. I’m not going to be part of any effort to legitimize people who are f*cking lunatics”.
Unless our opposition is vocalized and actualized, evangelical Christians will be facing the same fate as German pastor Martin Niemöller described under the Nazis:
… Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.