￼Jewish Persecution at the Hands of Christians.
Religion. While it can be used to teach morals, it can also be used as an instrument of wickedness to bludgeon those with a differing disposition.
Jewish persecution at the hands of Christians is a narrative one hardly hears of. It’s not particularly mainstream. The persecution of Jews is usually associated with Hitler and the Nazi movement, but that’s just about where the exposition usually ends. Historically, Jews and Christians have not had rosy relations. At the hands of Christians, Jews have been chased from their ancestral lands, repeatedly exiled from pastures they settled on, forcibly converted to Christianity, their wealth looted, properties seized, communities pillaged, tortured, brutally murdered, ethnically cleansed; the list goes on. Jews were the targets of rabid anti-semitic propaganda in the Christian and Western world for centuries. What’s more, Jews were at the receiving end of such treatments for no reason other than the fact than they were Jews! In fact so blatant was anti-semitism in the Christian West that in 1478, the Spanish authorities who were avidly dispossessing Jews of fair treatment and their rights as humans, set up an inquisition to detect insincere Jewish conversions to Christianity!
Persecution of the other by Christians, oftentimes involving genocides, was a reoccurring event throughout Christian history. It is not to say that the doctrine of a Christian Theocracy (Christian Statism) was in any way Christian. Jesus was neither a political leader nor did he proffer political laws for governing the state. Rather, he taught to give to Caesar what was Caesar’s. This however did not stop Christians in the centuries after his death, from usurping public authority, amassing unchecked power and systematically persecuting non-Christians. The Protestant Reformation spearheaded in Germany by Martin Luther (although somewhat of an anti-Semite himself) was an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church, by priests who opposed the over-indulgence and systematic corruption of the head of the Church – the Pope. It resulted in a weakening of the Papacy and the creation of new national protestant Churches. The movement was successful in its objective; and the ideas that the Papacy could be opposed, dissolved by way of a schism, and admonished for its own corruption spread like wildfire across Europe. Over a century later, England’s own reformation was birthed. The English Reformation saw the Church of England break away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. Not only could the English for the first time, now print their own bible freely in an interpretation that was conducive with the English language and culture. More importantly, the Church in Rome was no longer the recipient of Church taxes in England, and no longer had the authority to veto the decisions of the English Monarchy or have final say over the appointment of its Bishops. The split from Rome brought the authority of the English Church under the authority of the English monarch. It was no longer indistinguishable from the Papacy. The English could now forge their own destiny without the imposition of an establishment whose powers were concentrated abroad in Rome. The English were de-colonising themselves. To the credit of Christians the world over, much has been done to reform the Church so that its powers and that of the state remain visibly dissociated. As a result, it is impossible today, for any true democracy to carry out edicts – oppressive or otherwise – on the sole basis of the Church’s commands. Theocracies are dangerous not only because they concentrate power in the hands of a few elites, but because they are designed to perpetuate the oppression of religious minorities.
The rift between Christians and Jews undoubtedly dates back to the birth of Jesus himself, which is the beginning of Christianity as it is largely known. Jesus came to preach against the laws of Judaism and mankind’s corruption. He eventually was killed by Jewish authorities in cooperation with Pontius Pilate because of how potentially dangerous his message was to the Establishment of the day.
An awareness of Jewish persecution at the hands of Christians, outside the Semitic world, is very useful knowledge because it explicates on the need for Jewish Nationalism. It contributes to shedding light on why it is important for Jews to have a homeland of their own, to determine their own future and protect themselves. The discussion of why Jews deserve a homeland in Palestine as well as their ancestral ties to the land, is not one that will be discussed here. This piece serves the purpose of listing various persecutions of Jews at the hands of Christians, not the least the Christian Western world. The ultimate aim is to elucidate on how religious authority, which although can be an instrument of morality, can also be an instrument of great persecution and incalculable injustice. The more we understand where we as a human race have come from, the more equipped we will be, at charting sagaciously, a progressive and humane future based on mutual acknowledgement and respect, and unfettered humanism.
The textual accounts below were reblogged, unedited, from Jewish Voices.
©2013. Secular African Society. All Rights Reserved.
Judaism and Christianity stem from the same root, the Old Testament Scriptures. However, Judaism and Christianity today, by and large, barely recognize this similarity. Part of this is due to the lies of Replacement Theology and Dual Covenant Theology that circulate Christian pulpits. Yet much of it has to do with the fact that throughout the centuries, Jewish People have been persecuted, massacred and tortured all under the name of Jesus Christ. Is it any wonder why Jewish People balk when Christians tell them that Jesus is the Messiah?
The list below contains a fraction of the persecutions that have come against the Jewish People throughout the centuries. These are hard truths for both Christians and Jews and it is also why Messianic Jews are in such small number. But with love and understanding, it is our hope that the Church will become educated to their Jewish roots and be aware of the brutalities done to the Jewish People in the name of Christ and come up with a way to reach out to the Jewish People with the truth, in love.
Roman Army destroyed Jerusalem. Over 1 million Jews killed and 97,000 taken into slavery and captivity, many others scattered.
The Bar Kochba Rebellion (Bar Kochba was a false Messiah), caused the deaths of 500,000 Jews; thousands were sold into slavery or taken into captivity. Judaism no longer recognized as a legal religion. Israel as a nation was totally destroyed. This was seen as a sign by many Christians that Israel had been rejected by her God, and that the Church was now “the New Israel.”
Serious Roman persecution of the Jews began. Jews were forbidden from practicing circumcision, reading the Torah, eating unleavened bread at Passover, etc.
Constantine the Great published the Edict of Milan, which extended religious tolerance to Christians. Jews lost many rights with this edict.
The Council of Nicea – the first edict in favor of the “Venerable Day of the Sun” (Sunday) was made at the Council. Sabbath worship and other Jewish observances became heretical to the Christian faith. Also, Christianity was now the official religion, and Jews could no longer have Roman citizenship.
Theodosius the Great permitted the destruction of synagogues if they served any type of religious purpose.
The Edict of Theodosius declared that Christianity was to be the only legal religion in the Roman Empire.
The Third Council of Toledo (in Spain) ordered that children born of marriage between Jews and Christians be baptized by force. A policy of forced conversion of all Jews was initiated. Thousands of Jews fled. Thousands of other Jews converted.
Very serious persecution began in Spain. Jews were given the options of either leaving Spain or converting to Christianity. Jewish children over seven years of age were taken from their parents and given a Christian education.
In Constantinople, Jews were forced to convert to Christianity.
Jews exiled from Italy.
The First Crusade was launched. Although the prime goal of the Crusades was to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims, Jews were a second target. In Germany, in the cities along the Rhine River alone, 12,000 Jews were killed. This persecution and slaughter continued for eight additional Crusades until the year 1272.
Jews driven out of Flanders (now part of Belgium). They were neither to return nor to be tolerated until they repented of the guilt of killing Jesus Christ.
The Jews of London had to pay compensation of one million marks for allegedly killing a sick man.
Renewed persecution of the Jews in Germany at the beginning of the Second Crusade. The French monk Rudolf called for the destruction of the Jews as an introduction to the Second Crusade.
French King Philip banished the Jews from his domain. They were permitted to sell all movable possessions, but the permanent possessions, such as land and houses, reverted to the king.
Jews were persecuted in England. The Crown claimed all Jewish possessions. Many homes belonging to Jewish families were burned.
At the IV Lateran Church Council, canon laws were passed requiring that “Jews and Muslims shall wear a special dress.” Later, it was decreed that they also had to wear an oval badge. This was to enable them to be easily distinguished from Christians. This practice later spread to other countries.
The Spanish Inquisition begins. Later, in 1252, Pope Innocent IV authorizes the use of torture by the Inquisitors against Jews and other apostates.
Edward I banishes the Jews from England. 16,000 Jews were forced to leave the country.
Persecution of the Jews in Franconia, Bavaria, and Austria. 140 Jewish communities were destroyed and more than 100,000 Jews were killed over a six-month period.
100,000 Jews are exiled from France. They left the country with only the clothes on their backs and food for one day.
As the “Black Death” raged in Europe, Jews were blamed for causing the Plague by poisoning wells. About 5,000 Jews were burned alive at the stake. In Bavaria alone, 12,000 Jews perished. Near Tours, an immense trench was dug, filled with blazing wood, and in a single day, 160 Jews were burned.
Jewish persecutions begin in Seville and in 70 other Jewish communities throughout Spain. Jews were cruelly massacred and their bodies dismembered.
Jews were exiled, for the second time, from France.
Jewish men in Augsburg had to sew yellow buttons to their clothes. Jews were forced to wear a long undergarment, an overcoat with a yellow patch, bells, and tall pointed yellow hats with a large button.
The Franciscan monk, Capistrano, persuaded the King of Poland to withdraw all rights of citizenship for Jewish People.
Spanish Jews had been heavily persecuted from the 14th Century. Many had converted to Christianity. The Spanish Inquisition was set up by the church in order to detect insincere conversions.
Jews were given the choice of being baptized as Christians or be banished from Spain. 300,000 left Spain penniless. Many migrated to Portugal and Turkey, where they were later tortured, imprisoned, and killed. Others converted to Christianity, but often continued to practice Judaism in secret. In the years that followed, countless numbers of Jewish People were imprisoned, tortured, and murdered simply because they were Jews. All this was done in the name of Christ and Christianity.
Jews were banished from Portugal. 20,000 Jews left the country rather than be baptized as Christians. Many others became slaves.
The Governor of the Republic of Venice decided that Jews would be allowed to live only in one area of the city. The area was called the “Ghetto Novo.”
Jews were exiled from Naples, Italy.
Martin Luther published a pamphlet entitled, On Jews and Their Lies. Europe was especially rife with anti-Jewish sentiment; Luther added fuel to the fire by asking the question, “What shall we do with this rejected and condemned peo- ple, the Jews?” He recommended that houses of Jews be “razed and destroyed,” and their religious books burned. This pamphlet and his later anti-Semitic writ- ings, “Annuls of the Jews,” paved the way theologically for Hitler and the Nazis in Germany.
Jews were expelled from Holland.
Restriction of Jews in Russia, Jewish men were forced to serve 25 years in the Russian military. Many hundreds of thousands of Jews left Russia.
All former restrictions against the Jews in the Vatican State were restored by Pope Pius IX.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion appeared in print in Russia for the first time. The Protocols argued that a worldwide conspiracy existed among Jewish leaders to set Christian nations against one another and dominate the world. It circulated widely in Russia, Germany, France, and the United States and created widespread anti-Semitism.
Renewed restrictions of Jews in Russia. Frequent pogroms (massacres) occurred against Jewish shtetls (ghettos) throughout Russia and Ukraine from 1903-1906. Jewish women were raped and beaten, thousands were massacred.
600,000 Jews were forcibly moved from the western borders of Russia towards the interior. About 100,000 died of exposure or starvation.
The defeat of Germany in World War I and the continuing economic difficulties were blamed in that country on the “Jewish influence.”
Hitler rises to Chancellor of Germany. The Nazi era begins. Virulent anti-Semitic propaganda and the groundwork for Judenrein, “cleansed lf Jews,” begins.
Various racial laws against the Jews were enacted in Germany to force Jews out of schools and professions.
The Nazis passed the Nuremberg Laws restricting citizenship to those of “German or related blood.” Jews became stateless.
Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass” – November 9-10. Mobs attacked
Jews killing and injuring hundreds. 2,000 synagogues burned; 7,500 Jewish businesses destroyed; 30,000 Jews arrested and sent to concentration camps. Hitler brought back century-old church law, ordering all Jews to wear a yellow Star of David as identification. A few hundred thousand Jews are allowed to leave Germany after they turned over all of their assets to the government.
The Holocaust, the systematic extermination of Jews in Germany and Europe, begins. The process did not end until 1945 with the conclusion of World War II. Some six million Jews, including 1.5 million children, were systematically exterminated simply because they were Jews.
Anti-Semitism is again on the rise. In Europe and Russia, for example, anti-Semitic hate crimes are at an all time high since WWII. Jewish synagogues and cemeteries have been desecrated and Jews have been beaten and even murdered. The persecution is far from over. It is terrible to realize that most of the horrors inflicted on God’s Chosen People have been done in the name of Christianity. Is it any wonder that the Jewish People are at least suspicious when first approached?
What can you do?
The horrors of the past cannot be undone, but we can stand with the Jewish People and speak out against any and all forms of anti-Semitism, wherever and whenever we encoun- ter it! We can work tirelessly to reach out to the Jewish People with the love of God and let them know that Yeshua came as their Messiah – and that He loves and cares for them.
©2013. Secular African Society. All Rights Reserved.