September 4, 2008
Palin, proselytizing and Jews for Jesus
Most Christians consider me a Jew for Jesus. But whenever they say this, I feel it necessary to correct them. I am, in fact, an ethnic Jew who believes in Jesus, but Jews for Jesus belong to a certain group of evangelical missionaries who proselytize Jews by presenting Christianity in a Jewish wrapper. And that is not me.
Though Bel Air Presbyterian’s college group used the Jews for Jesus building in Westwood for Bible studies during my first two years at UCLA, the only interaction I’ve had with employees of the organization is when they reached out to me at the Israel festival last year and invited me to a BBQ after they found out a Christian mole had infiltrated The Jewish Journal.
The group has been criticized by Jewish organizations—the Anti-Defamation League said in a 2004 report that they target “Jews for conversion with subterfuge and deception.”
“Christians have been trying to make us disappear as Jews for 2,000 years. Now they’re trying a different method, which is for them to tell us that you can believe in Jesus and still be Jewish,” ADL chief Abe Foxman told Jeffrey Goldberg in a 1997 NYT Magazine article. “It’s baloney, of course.”
So what to make of the sermon last month from the head of Jews for Jesus at Republican VP hopeful Sarah Palin’s church?
John McCain’s campaign said yesterday that Palin wasn’t aware Brickner would be speaking at her church that Sunday and that she didn’t share his views. I have no reason to doubt her sincerity. But we have already heard that Palin has a Jewish problem—and the drumbeat seems to be getting louder. How does this complicate McCain’s popularity with hawkish and right-leaning Jews?
After the jump, Palin, who, yes, as was sort of suspected, sounded good last night, speaks at her church about a gas pipeline, the war in Iraq and other stuff.