|Anti-semitic cartoon, 1896.|
It had to happen sooner or later. It is unwise to come to any conclusions based on first reports—the 48-hour rule is a good one—but it looks as though the Passover attack on a synagogue near San Diego in California was by a genuine white nationalist, white supremacist Nazi who at least identifies as Christian.
Mind, since the left has been declaring loudly that this was happening for years without it being true, I think it is proper to blame them for it now. Speak of the Devil, and he will appear. Someone was bound to be listening. And it seems odd that this killer’s manifesto, making all of his motives plain, was immediately available and linked to on the Internet, whereas the Christchurch killer’s manifesto, making it plain that he was neither a “white supremacist” nor a right-winger, was quickly and generally suppressed.
This killer also takes pains to point out that his actions are no “false flag.” Odd that he would; but then, he is doing exactly what those he claims to oppose would most want him to do, and what most advances their interests against those he claims to be his own. He is, by his acts, throwing white nationalism, white supremacy, and Christianity into disrepute, surely. He is confirming a claim on the left that he himself insists is false. How is that supposed to work? Perhaps he protests too much?
Someone else, apparently familiar with 8chan, where it appeared, in linking to the manifesto, comments that it is full of “s***posting and is not to be taken literally.” 8chan is famous for spoofs and false flags. So who knows?
As a Christian, my challenge is this: assuming the manifesto is for real, how can I reconcile his actions and his expressed thoughts with his claiming to be a Christian? There are, presumably, three possibilities. Either 1. The killer is insane. 2. There is actually something in Christianity that warrants this; or 3. He is aware that he is simply doing evil, and is lying. I think 3 is by far the most plausible thesis.
I resist explanation 1. I may find his manifesto incoherent, but not in the obviously disordered way you would expect from the truly delusional. In any case, I do not buy insanity as an excuse for immorality. There is no connection, statistically speaking. That just comes from a prejudice against the insane.
He declares himself a Christian and quotes Bible verses. He claims to have been inspired by “Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Martin Luther, Adolf Hitler, …, Ludwig van Beethoven, Moon Man, and Pink Guy.”
But how seriously can we take the faith of someone who lists Jesus as simply parallel among his influences not just with Adolf Hitler but with “Moon Man and Pink Guy”? Does a serious Christian think that way? It seems at least plausible that he is feigning Christianity in order to malign Christianity. He knows the lingo—his father was apparently a prominent member of a local Presbyterian congregation. But that might only have given him the ammunition; and perhaps a desire to rebel.
To begin with, surely, Christianity is antithetical to the racial ideology on which he has based his actions. It is not just that St. Paul wrote “There is no Jew nor Greek in Christ”: the basic concept of the “New Covenant,” aka Christianity, is that God was now offering to all nations, without ethnic distinction, the covenant that had formerly been offered exclusively to the Jews. Racism is therefore fundamentally opposite to the Christian message.
The Bible verses the killer then quotes to justify harming Jews are not attacking Jews at all, but those who claim to be Jews yet are not. Hypocrites, in other words. For example, quoting the actual verses he cites:
“They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham […] Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not” (John 8:37-45).
For the quote to make sense, it must be a good thing, in conformity with God’s will, to be a devout Jew. If you do truly follow Abraham’s example—as either a Jew or, latterly, a Muslim—you are in obedience to God.
“For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins away: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).
Paul’s point is not that the Jews are especially guilty of persecuting Christians, but the reverse: that Christians everywhere are being persecuted, not by some other racial group, but by their own countrymen. Just as Jesus himself observed: a man’s (or a prophet’s) enemies will come from within his own home, his own family, and his own neighbours. It follows that racism is at best an error. The very error Paul is condemning here among the Jews of Judea.
“I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9).
This passage is necessarily saying that Judaism is a good thing, and not following its teachings is Satanic.
Even without the Bible passages, the thing is logically and theologically unambiguous: God made a covenant with the Jews. Does God keep his promises, or not? It necessarily follows, for any true Christian, that the covenant with the Jews is still in force, for any Jew who keeps it.
It is possible, I suppose, that the shooter is too stupid to see this, but it seems profoundly unlikely that he could have managed to consistently reverse the meanings of Bible passages by 180 degrees simply by misreading the Bible.
It seems to me too that the killer gives hints he knows he is in the wrong. He, as the Devil is said to commonly do, seems to condemn himself out of his own mouth. He accuses the Jews, for example, of spreading “blood libel,” without evidence, only a few paragraphs after spreading the ancient blood libel against the Jews: that they supposedly killed Christ. This is what the term commonly refers to. He is, in other words, scapegoating the Jews for his own sins; and at some level he must know this. It is one thing to be randomly wrong. But when what you say is exactly and fairly consistently 180 degrees from the truth, it tends to betray an underlying awareness of in what direction truth actually lies.
There is indeed an anti-Christian blood libel that has been going around for long years: that Christianity is anti-Semitic. I myself got fed that as if simple fact when studying religion in university. But this is surely not what the murderer is referring to here, because he believes that very libel himself, according to his own claims, and is doing his best to justify it.
Recent history has demonstrated this is an anti-Christian slander. With greater contact with the Muslim world, people in the West discover that Muslims are at least as prone to antisemitism as Christians ever were. And those who read history—or the Bible—know that antisemitism was familiar in the ancient world, among the Romans, who burned down Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews, among the Greeks, who converted the temple in Jerusalem to pagan worship, the Babylonians, who levelled the temple and dispersed the Jews, or the Egyptians, who enslaved the Jews, then tried to wipe them out. And on it goes.
|The Romans under Titus haul away the treasures of Jerusalem.|
Far from being anti-semitic, Christianity is at its core irreducibly and uniquely pro-semitic. The Hebrew scriptures are also the Christian scriptures. Christians reading them necessarily self-identify as Jews.
Rather than having anything to do with Christianity in particular, anti-semitism, here as everywhere, is simply a reliable expression and measure of human evil. I do not think it too simplistic to say that bad people are always anti-semitic, and good people invariably identify instead with the Jews.
For the real cause of anti-semitism, here and everywhere, is simply envy. It is the sin that dare not speak its name, and so the one always in need of scapegoats and alibis. The San Diego shooter simply envied the Jews, and used whatever cover he could find rather than admit it was because he felt they were better than him.
Their moral and historical status as God’s original chosen people might well be enough to provoke such envy: it is exactly the thing that caused Cain, in envy, to kill Abel. That makes such murderous envy only one generation removed from original sin. It is as wrong, of course, as wrong could be: it is automatically also an open rebellion against God himself.
Of course, many these days will not take that claim literally. That makes no difference. It is a scientific fact, as measurable by IQ tests, that Jews as an identifiable group are more intelligent than the rest of us. As a result of this, if not directly because of God’s favour, or for whatever reason, it is also a demonstrable fact that, demographically, wherever they settle, and despite frequent discrimination against them, Jews tend to become richer and better educated as a group than those around them. They become overrepresented at the top of the professions, and of business.
This makes them, wherever they go, inevitable targets for this deadly sin of envy, wherever and to whatever extent it is present: that is, whenever they are among bad people.
It must now be said that it has long been the left, not the right, that has endorsed and promoted the sin of envy: of looking on anyone richer then oneself as having stolen something, and deserving punishment. Socialism naturally segues, as with Nazism and Stalinism alike, into anti-semitism.
Certainly the present killer would not identify himself as a typical “Commifornian,” to use his term. But he is no doubt a product of that milieu, and has accepted some of its basic premises.
More than he has been influenced by anything in the Bible.