Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Christian = Hatemonger

While perusing the ESPN web page, the following article caught my eye. PP Commentary follows afterward.

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WASHINGTON -- The chapel leader for the Washington Nationals was suspended Tuesday after a flap over a repsonse to a question about Jews.

Jon Moeller will not be allowed access to the clubhouse while the team investigates. The Nationals have asked the Christian ministry Baseball Chapel, which appoints and oversees the volunteers, to provide a replacement.

According to an article published Sunday in The Washington Post, Nationals outfielder Ryan Church said he asked Moeller if Jews are "doomed" because they do not believe in Jesus. Church said Moeller nodded, the Post reported.

A team statement Tuesday quoted Church as saying he is "not the type of person who would call into question the religious beliefs of others." The statement also quoted team president Tony Tavares as saying the reported remarks "do not, in any manner, reflect the views or opinions of the Washington Nationals franchise."

Vince Nauss, president of Baseball Chapel, said the group understood the Nationals' position, but added that Moeller had served the team well. In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Nauss said the group planned to talk with the team before taking any action. Moeller could not be reached for comment.

"The Nationals did a good job about bringing hate into the locker room," said Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, who leads the city's oldest Orthodox synagogue, Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah.

Herzfeld said he met with Tavares for about 30 minutes Tuesday after denouncing the reported remarks at a news conference interrupted by security officials outside RFK Stadium.

He described the meeting with Tavares as productive, but said he would continue to follow the situation.

Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, said it would be more appropriate if non-denominational prayers were offered so players of all backgrounds could participate.
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PP Commentary:

(1) Actually, if we want to follow the Jew-as-victim theme, the chaplain who nodded is not to be blamed, but instead the New Testament itself, or, even more to the point, to Jesus Christ, who just happened Himself to be a Jew, and said some things that our modern culture would consider pretty exclusivistic and intolerant, and some of it was to Jews. Perhaps Jesus was a self-hating Jew, but He was a Jew nonetheless.

(2) This is the modern progressive and tolerant mind: we are allowed to believe whatever we so wish to believe, provided that

(i) We do not act on those beliefs
(ii) We do not attempt to be consistent with what our beliefs imply
(iii) We do not apply the law of the excluded middle and assert that as we hold X, the negation of X is false
(iv) We do not attempt to view our beliefs and the grounds for our beliefs as transcending the antiseptic and politically correct mindset that never asks the most important question about a belief: is it true?

(3) The rabbi who claimed that the Washington Nationals "did a good job of bringing hate into the locker room" by having a chaplain who apparently had the audacity to say that yes, Jews, who by definition deny the deity of Christ, His atoning work, etc, are in grave spiritual peril, especially in a culture where they are surrounded by opportunities to hear the true gospel preached, is another fine product of today's ask-no-hard-questions Life-As-Sensitivity-Seminar mindset.

(i) Does the rabbi in question think that his brand of Judaism is true? If so, does he then deny the assertion that according to his beliefs those who disagree are wrong? [And if he makes such a denial, why should he care then if people disagree with him?] On the other hand, if the rabbi thinks that his brand of Judaism is not true, or that it doesn't matter, why is he imposing his standards of importance and unimportance on the rest of us? That's not very tolerant, is it, especially when the rabbi is ultimately throwing in his lot with the cultural tolerance police?

(ii) The question of just how person X's believing that person Y is doomed for whatever reason implies that X "hates" Y is not answered here. In fact, it is never answered, in part because in modern society the question is not allowed to be asked in polite company. We are to group hug and have three-hankie cries with each other each time we feel existentially threatened. Then we can gorge on chocolates while watching the Lifetime Channel [or the Oxygen Channel].

(iii) The rabbi had an excellent chance to defend Judaism against Christianity, but instead decided to give a performance more worthy of a guest-spot on Oprah than somebody who is supposed to be a teacher and leader of his faith. Since I too consider his squishy brand of Judaism to not be worth defending in any meaningful way, perhaps that could be a common area of agreement between the rabbi and myself.

(4) About the line of "calling into question the religious beliefs of others" [as if that is a bad thing], this runs squarely against the idea of preaching the gospel and making disciples of all nations --- things which are clearly presented in the Bible, and, furthermore, call into question the religious beliefs of others, for when we preach the gospel to non-Christians, we are calling into question either the truth-status of their present beliefs or we're calling into question the fulness-of-truth of their beliefs.

Let's end this post on an evangelical [small-e] note: as Christians, we contend that Jesus Christ is the way, truth, and life. He is our access to the Father. It is through His person and work that miserable sinners like us are through faith reconciled to God. He is the messiah, and He is true God and true Man. We deny these truths and rail against them at our grave spiritual peril, if not our sure condemnation, Jew and non-Jew alike.

And these contentions are not just subjective preferences, as if we have chosen our beliefs willy-nilly from the Sizzler buffet bar of worldviews: we hold in the face of our modern culture that our assertions are true: IN REALITY, Jesus is the way, truth, and life. IN REALITY, He is true God and true Man, and IN REALITY his physical life and work allow sinners to be reconciled to God, to be His friends. IN REALITY, those who deny Him place themselves in grave spiritual peril.


Blogger Joe L. said...

Good post. I read the same article and feel the same way as you. Is nodding of the head hate speech? Did the chaplin actually say anything? What was the motivation of the player who asked the question?? Ugh. What a bunch of wimps, can't take the truth, so let's fire the guy. Kind of like the SF Giants radio announcer who made some comments and got canned for speaking the truth about how bad the Giants hitters where playing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 9:50:00 AM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

Hate speech seems to be equated with anything that doesn't fully affirm somebody's sense of well-being.

As for that radio announcer, Felipe Alou had a chance to take some high ground, but himself blew it in a far greater way than the announcer.

Oh well, everybody's a victim today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 1:26:00 PM  
Blogger c.t. said...

Demanding a Christian cleric conform to what the world wants him to say rather than what the Bible says is a clear case of demanding the Christian fear man rather than fearing God.

If I'm that Christian chaplain and I get asked that question and I get fired for it I say so be it. It glorifies God when His own stand up for His truth.

Why does this asinine sports team have a chaplain to begin with? Tell them to get a lesbian witch doctor or whatever. If they want a Christian in their midst then accept what comes with that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 2:53:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

On 21 September 2005, 3:34 PST, the Pedantic Protestant notes agreement with a c.t. comment.

The USPS ought to make a postage stamp to commemorate this day!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 3:36:00 PM  
Blogger c.t. said...

Broken clock thing. You looked at your watch and at the broken clock just at the right time...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 5:04:00 PM  
Blogger Rhology said...

What would've happened if it were the team imam and he were asked about intolerant bigoted Christian fundies and whether they would be greeted by 72 virgins in Allah's presence when they die? Would the rabbi have reacted a manner consistent w/ his comments here?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 5:52:00 PM  

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