American society is experiencing the worst crisis of public anti-semitism in a century, according to a statement released by the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations. With that, they urge churches to combat the rise of antisemitism in the United States and examine whether or not their actions contribute to the spread of prejudice towards Jews.
Urging Churches to Denounce Antisemitism
At the beginning of the speech, the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations said that the United States of America is currently experiencing the worst crisis of public antisemitism in a century. This announcement was made during the season of Advent, which is the time when people prepare for Christmas.
A statement issued by the group implores all churches to redouble their efforts to publicly repudiate antisemitism as being opposed to the very spirit of Christianity itself.
As reported by the Times of Israel, when asked what prompted them to make the statement, the organization explained that they were growing increasingly alarmed about the normalization of antisemitism in American discourse, which is reminiscent of events that took place in Germany during the rise to power of the Nazis in the 1930s.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, which keeps track of antisemitic acts, the group's most recent yearly count showed a rise of 34% between 2020 and 2021, reaching an all-time high. The American Jewish Committee conducted a poll in 2021 and discovered that an estimated 40% of Jewish people in the United States had altered their behavior in the preceding year due to fear of antisemitism.
In its statement, the CCJR urges members of the Christian clergy and educators not only to condemn antisemitism but also to reflect on the ways in which they may unwittingly be contributing to the spread of antisemitic beliefs.
Since the Holocaust, Christian theology has undergone significant change, and the vast majority of Christian denominations have long since renounced antisemitic beliefs. These teachings include the notion that Jews are to blame for the death of Jesus and that he is the opposite of Jewish. However, the statement from the CCJR notes that traces of this flawed logic can persist, which calls for Christian leaders to take action, as per the report.
The letter written by the group came on the heels of efforts made by several of the largest Christian denominations in the world to confront antisemitism in their liturgy and history.
Also Read: About Half of American Christians Believe That 'End Times' Are Happening
Pope Francis Wishes Jews, Christians to Continue to Grow in Friendship
During an encounter with members of a French group committed to Jewish-Christian dialogue, Pope Francis places an emphasis on the necessity of mutual respect and issues a warning about the rise of antisemitism.
The Vatican News reported that on Monday, members of the Amitié Judéo-Chrétienne, which is an organization of French Christians and Jews dedicated to discussion and collaboration between the two religious traditions, were welcomed by Pope Francis at the Vatican.
During his address to the group, Pope Francis spoke about the worrying revival of antisemitism, the significance of the group's work, and the example that was set by the founder.
Aside from that, the Pope specifically praised his participation in the Seeligsberg Conference, a postwar gathering that addressed antisemitism.
Pope Francis stated that the Second Vatican Council's document Nostra Aetate, which addresses the Church's relationship with other religions, incorporates some of the work done at the conference, which included both Christian and Jewish theologians.
Related Article: Tensions Rise as Israeli Authorities Limit, Reject Christians' Permit Applications for Bethlehem Visit