Sunday, March 29, 2009

Antisemitism is NOT Catholic

(From JTA):

A Catholic archbishop in Brazil minimized the Holocaust and declared that Jews dominate the world media.

Dadeus Grings, the archbishop of Porto Alegre, declared that "more Catholics than Jews have died in the Holocaust, but this is not usually told because Jews own the world's propaganda."

. . . .

"It's not the first time Mr. Grings refers to the Holocaust in a twisted way," said Henry Chmelnitsky, president of the Rio Grande do Sul Jewish Federation. "Fewer Jews died in World War II because there were and there still are fewer Jews in the world. Proportionally, the extermination minimized by the archbishop meant the slaughter of most of a people that was already small. By reproducing stereotypes created by the Nazis, Grings positions himself on the wrong side of history."

Grings is the second Catholic bishop in recent months to publicly minimize the Holocaust.

The other night, I went out to see the incredible Bob Wiseman perform. I'd been a bit of a fan of his music for some time, but I'd never seen him live before. Turns out he was nothing short of amazing. I could go on for hours about his show, but this is not the place. There was one song of his, however, that I will talk about. It's called "How Round the Earth" and these are the lyrics:
I was 12 years old
I was walking home
From a soccer game

He was an older kid
I seen him cross the street
He pulled a knife out on me

I said I got no money
He said I don't believe that's true
I know your last name
I know the house you live
Everyone knows that you're a Jew

He stabbed me in the arm
He punched me in the face
He tripped me as I tried to run
The cars drove by
His girlfriend was laughing
Finally they let me crawl away

My father said 'what happened?'
I told him nothing happened at all
'Cause he knew my last name
He knew the house where I lived
I never ever felt so small

Now it's been years since then
Ice Cube's got a new record out
I read about his press conference

He talked about history
About the Jewish conspiracy
And it occurred to me to say

Ice Cube, I live at 848 oak street
You should come over and have tea
I'll show you my bank account
I'll show you the car i drive
And then maybe you'll decide
The earth isn't flat
I was pretty upset about this song, and I'd venture to say that it's fate this news story came out so quickly after I'd heard it for the first time, because I really want to say something: fuck antisemitism. Seriously, fuck it. Saying "Jews control the media", aside from being a stupid fucking thing to say, makes violent idiots think they can go out and stab little Jewish kids while they're walking home from soccer practice. My mom's dad is Jewish (a fact I discovered on the way to my first Passover when I was seven). He's unbelievably lapsed, of course, or I imagine he wouldn't have allowed his children to be raised Catholic, but he loves his gefilte fish and still speaks some Hebrew and likes to call my sister and me "meshugganas." So, you know, he's culturally Jewish (kind of like how I'm culturally Catholic).

I never got a sense from him of a fear of antisemitism, which is probably because the man is fearless. But this fear is something I've seen in every other Jewish person I've ever known. In high school, my friend Lisa would pretend not to be Jewish around the Muslim kids because she was afraid of what they'd say (personally, I think that as all this took place in the wake of September 11th, I would have been more afraid to be the Muslim kids. Some asshole burnt down their mosque. Fuck that shit too). My friend David told me that when he first went to college, he was militantly Jewish and would wear t-shirts to that effect, but his mother would beg him not to because she was afraid somebody would do something to him.

I can't imagine living with that kind of fear, which is so culturally ingrained from centuries of antisemitism. In this day and age, do we really want to continue that bullshit? I mean, haven't we learned anything from South Park? Eric Cartman is the (hilarious) embodiment of cartoon evil. Don't people realize that diatribes about the "Jewish conspiracy" just make them sound like him? Do you really want to sound like Eric Cartman, Archbishop Grings? WTF is with the Brazilian Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church may have fucked up the Holocaust, but in 1965, Pope Paul VI made it very clear that "in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone." So your position, Archbishop Asshole is inherently un-Catholic, and inherently un-Christlike.

Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17). Christ himself never, ever preached violence against the Jews. He took issue with a corrupt church body, much like he would probably take issue with much of the Christian church of today. He did not, however, preach hatred against his own people because, well, they were his own people. Antisemitism has no place in Christianity. Hate in general has no place in Christianity. Get your head out of your ass, Archbishop. WTFWJD?


Anonymous said...

Because Christians own the worlds propganda we have been told a lie about Jesus. Jesus never sufferd even a little. He died a happy and very rich old man. Also no Christian in history ever died or even sufferd in the least for their faith. In fact more lions have been eaten by Christians than the Christian owned media would ever report.

Jocelyn said...

Is that comment a joke, or are you really that determined to be a part of the problem?

Anonymous said...

Twas a joke, Jocelyn. Just turning the tables. But in the interest of full disclosure as an agnostic I do not believe that Jesus was the son of God. If there was an historical figure named Jesus some of what he said was quite helpful even though not all of his teachings were that original.

Jocelyn said...

Wow OK thank God you were kidding. Yeesh.

Anwayz, not original... maybe, but pretty relevant to his time. If you look at times of political occupation, the occupied are always coming up with crazy prophets telling them to rise up and kick these occupiers out of their land (for example, the natives in North America had several prophets before they were all but exterminated).

So the existence of Jesus makes sense, just like the existence of all the other prophets in Israel in that time make sense. What I like about Jesus, though, is that he preached non-violence, acceptance, and a separation of church and state. In short, he was everything you'd expect a prophet in his time not to be.

Is he the son of God? I think it's irrelevant. Every so often somebody goes around telling us to be nice to each other and then X number of years later that person has their own religion. Are they all God? Maybe. Maybe not. I don't think it really matters. What matters is basic human morality, and that's what's lost in so much of Christianity.

Anonymous said...

I think the modern day Palestinians need a prophet to kick the Israeli occupiers out of Gaza and the West Bank before Israel exterminates all of them.

Jocelyn said...

I think in all likelihood that would just end up getting more people killed. The Israelis and the Palestinians need to figure their shit out before the all kill each other.

Hannah said...

Why are there so many whackos in Brazil? Is that why they have a nut named after them, cause there are so many nuts in Brazil - and I ain't talking about those Carnival costumes.

I realize you (Jocelyn)already stated all of this but I'm going to say it again, as I have a thousand times before: I'll never understand how anyone who calls themselves Christian can be anti-Semetic. First of all, Jesus was a Jew. Second, this kind of hatred is antithetical to the teachings of Christ,at least as I have understood them. Did these people not hear me take Mel Gibson to task a few years ago? Does no one listen to me when I'm shouting at the tv?

Also, can we please have Pope Paul VI back? I would really like it if the next Pope is the ghost of Paul VI. I have had the flu and I haven't been out of my house in 3 days so I apologize if this sounds like the insane ravings of a lunatic.

Jocelyn said...

You don't sound crazy, Hannah. I'm still a bit surprised Mel Gibson couldn't hear me yelling at him through the TV either. What an ass that guy is.

Hope you feel better!

Anonymous said...

The traditional enemy of Catholicism is the 'chosen race' which over the last few decades has succeeded in making us all victims of its money-changing activities and its innate corruption in the media. Then there is that little issue of Palestine, that huge concentration camp, which seems to satisfy their lust for blood.

Marj said...

Anon, seriously, you're an asshole. *33% of the world's population is Christian, 21% is Muslim, 14% is you know how many are Jewish? 0.22%.* The Israel/Palestine issue is one that I think shouldn't involve anyone else. Everytime I hear something about it I change my mind about which side I think is right.

Making a generalization about an entire race like that is so wrong, I don't even know where to begin. Do you also believe the they faked the Holocaust too?

Marj said...

*Percentages are based on approximate estimations, not exact figures*

Jocelyn said...

Seriously, Anon, I don't really give a shit whether or not you're kidding. Go find another blog to troll, you horrible, horrible person.

Phoebe said...

ok, to swing this out of the frying pan and into a different, but familiar, fire:

Jocelyn said...

Phoebe - Ha. I'm in like 15 fights in the comments of that slog post. But I'm not going to talk about that bishop thing on here because, well, 1. it's not surprising, and 2. I am desensitized to Catholic bullshit now. They're going to have to do something super awful, like nuke New Zealand, if they want to shock me.

Also, I'm sick of talking about them. They need to get their shit together. Srsly.

Marj said...

Jocelyn, I have to say I'm disappointed. I read through all the comments on that post on SLOG, including yours. You refer to "Republicans" in the same way that people refer to "Catholics". Like every person who identifies as Republican is responsible for the actions of a few. You chastise people for talking about Catholics this way, so how dare you talk about Republicans like that? I would never dare to insinuate that every single person who identifies as a Catholic is responsible, say, for the Pope telling Africans that condoms help the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Jocelyn said...

Marj- I'm trying to figure out where I talked about Republicans like that.

If I did, which is entirely possible, I think you're right in saying it was the wrong thing to do. Although, in my defense, the Republican party is not at all what it once was. Their core principles these days seem to be ones I find inherently evil, whereas I do believe they once stood for something that, while I may not have agreed with it, was based in decent morality. John McCain was, as far as I can tell, the last major Republican politician who displayed any signs of having integrity, and he lost all respect in my eyes with the shit he pulled during the last election.

This doesn't mean that the Republican party can't be restored, of course. In fact I'm quite sure they have to regain some humanity if they're going to remain relevant with anyone but the right-wing ideologues. But right now they are, as far as I can see, a bad bunch of dudes. I know I can't make that generalization about every person who identifies as Republican, but somebody's got to prove themselves to have some integrity before I change my mind.

I'd also like to add that there is (or at least should be) a big difference between religions and political parties. Not the least of which is that in a political party, you can choose who your leaders are (either directly or indirectly). Religions, on the other hand, are not democracies, particularly the Catholic Church. There are plenty of Catholics who are ideologically opposed to the Pope. But the politics of the Catholic Church can be ignored by its members, whereas if your politics don't fall in line with that of your party, you're better off crossing the line.

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