While doing research, I came across a William Safire piece in the NY Times in January 1976. Did he forsee the coming of
Posted by Karol at
As the Guinness Guys say, “Brilliant!”
We should all hold Safire in contempt for his piece in today’s Times.
He watched “The Passion” and decided that the movie argued since Herod and Pilate were not to blame for the death of Christ, then the Jewish crowds and the rabbis were to blame. Safire must have missed the figure of Satan who runs through the film or the fact that Gibson strikes the first blow that nails Christ to the Cross. The messgae of the film seems clear. Who is to blame for the death of Chirst ? According to a Christian, everyone. If Christ died to save mankind from our sins, then everyone who ever sinned is to be held accountable; a point Gibson makes when he drives in the nail himself.
Safire follows up with demands on how Christians should worship and reminds us all that Jewish Chirstian relations are more vital now then ever before.
Well, yes. I agree totally that this is true now more then ever which is why I am bothered by Safire and other prominent Jewish Americans telling American Christians how we should keep our own faith. It bothers me when Abe Foxman and the ADL insist that “The Passion” violates Christian teachings and all of us Christians are too dumb to figure it out.
Make no mistake, Christians and Jews do need to work together now, perhaps more so then at any other time in the nation’s history with the obvious exception of WW2. Yet Christians are increasingly feeling at odds with our society, despite our overwelming majorities in this nation.
And that is the problem.
The campaign to get religion out of public life increasingly looks like an attempt to take Christianity out of the public square. Foxman and the ADL went to bat for public funding of the Brooklyn museum exhibit a number of years back. Art was more important then offending a segment of the population’s most cherished beliefs. Now that Christ is being praised and not mocked in the artistic trapings of the public square, the ADL position has changed 180 degrees.
And then the NY School Board’s policy of celebrating the holidays with a menorah (a religious symbol), a crescent (a religious symbol) and a Christmas tree and Santa (both not religious symbols) being upheld in court shows that all religions are not equal.
You can see why Christians are getting a little ticked and some, alas, are buying into the theory that the current administration is more concerned with Isreali interests then American ones. Throw in the USS Liberty, the Pollard spy case, hostility to Christianity in the public square and the too often regretable reaction of any questioning of Israeli policy leads to smears of anti-Semitism and Nazism, well you can see why a lot of Christians mistakenly are getting into bed with the Left and rant about Wolfowitz, Perle, Kristol, Podhoretz as fellow travellers, fifth columnists and traitors.
All of this is not good for our nation and for our world. And that is my concern and why I cast a plague on both your houses here (always good to summon Mercucio!).
Anti-Semites are loathsome. I do not need to say more then that they are some of the chief spear carriers in the legion of darkness that haunts mankind.
But a plague on the ADL though it be a lesser one. By opposing the movie before they even saw it, the ADL and other parts of the Jewish community, aided by the media (always looking for controversy) which ran the story, played into the hands of every anti-Semite, from skinheads to radical Islamics to Francoist Catholics. The ADL showed itself to be intolerant of any faith but their own and more then willing to patronizingly instruct believers in the divinty of Jesus Christ how they should practice Christianity.
And that is wrong.
Especially now when Christians and Jews need to confront a common enemy.
No, increasingly by the statements of Safire and the ADL, too many Christians think that their problem is not with the Gosepl according to Mel but rather as the Gospel is according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
I fear that the reaction to the film, as opposed to the film itself, is the divise element here.
Good god people, its a movie. A movie.
People who think Jews should be blamed for Jesus’s death will get that out of the movie.
People who don’t think that will get that. I have faith in my fellow people that one movie isn’t going to turn my Christian friends into rabid anti-semites.
And just so you all know, most Jews don’t care how Christians go about practicing your faith.
But tread a little sensitive y’know. Of all the different identity groups, ours was the one that they were putting in ovens 50 odd years ago, and the ones that the Terrorists never fail to specifically mention.
Hearing that people want you dead on a daily basis tends to make you a little sensitive.
To answer the question posed by the post, yes, I think it is clear that Safire did indeed foresee the coming of Glenn Reynolds:
“The fallibility of the resident essayist is exposed”.
‘The resident essayist’, of course, being big media and the ‘instant pundit’ being bloggers.
I absolutely agree with you. I have found that many Jewish people have refused or have preconceived beliefs going into the film that forces them to behave or react in a specific way. I haven’t seen the film myself, but I probably will, you obviously have seen it.
Yes, I have and have meditated on it a great deal (though I meditate on a lot during Lent).
I think this yet another sign of the closing of the American mind. We no have so much media that anyone can listen to excatly what they want to hear. Liberals have CNN and the NY Times, conservatives have the WSJ, Fox News. Increasingly both sides stare at each other across a chasam. In the meantime, they get egged on by their favorite pundits and writers who engage in name calling and reinforcing preconcieved notions instead of increasing debate. Take your pick: Hannity, Ingram, Scarborough, Moore, Corn, Kinsley etc.
The American debate is dumbed down big time. I say Bush is a liar. Or I call Kerry a traitor. Or I say Bush knew about 9/11. But Kerry has an intern. You get my drift. This kind of political debate is not why a bunch of guys swetted it out in Philadelphia in the hot summer of 1776.
The reaction of certain Jewish organizations is reflective of this. While wanting to keep their faith and their religious beliefs in the public square, they have attempted to sweep out other faiths. While they rightfully resent any signs of anti-Semitism, they are often engaging in anti-Christiantism. Eventually what will happen is the call of anti-Semitism will be like crying wolf.
They have sowed the wind and they may yet reap the hurricane. In 8 days, The Passion has made $153 million dollars. Despite the media and the ADL’s efforts to kill the film, the American public ignored the cries of anti-Semitism and supported the film. The ADL has to be wondering what went wrong and how the American public overwhelmingly rejected their warnings and their message. What the ADL has to fear, and what all of us have to fear, is that the American public rejects the ADL for what it would see as slanderous attack on this movie and the faith that guides it. The next time the ADL cries anti-Semitism on radical Islamics, black nationalists, neo Nazis, whatever, the American people may look at the ADL and sigh, “There they go again” and not take them or their cause with any degree of seriousness.