Position Paper on Christianity
Dr. Ronald Jeremiah Schindler
My position on the Roman Catholic Church is that there are moral wrongs that have to be corrected by the church itself in its relations to Jews on three counts: supersessionism; blood guilt; and the role of the church, under the leadership of Pope Pius XII, in World War II with its power of excommunication. The Roman Catholic Church is a world power in both the religious and political sense. Because of the power of the pope in his role of Vicar of God, he can influence the moral decisions of his flock. The institution has a history of anti-Semitism, reactionary conservatism, and misogyny that are part of the integral canons of the church itself. If it were to renounce these dogmas, then it would threaten its own legitimacy and right to dictate morality to its constituency.
This affects how American Catholics form their values in early childhood and family life. The view toward Jews is one of a junior partnership in religious matters. Because of the mixture of politics and religion in the American public forum, there is a condescending attitude not only toward Jews, but additionally toward other groups who do not acknowledge Christ as the savior of mankind. Films like Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ inflame hatred of the Jews by insinuating the collective blood guilt of the Jews in the death of Christ. The result can be a residual religious anti-Semitism in the workplace, invalidating my moral claims to teach a course on ethics in any individual or institutional capacity, which is a reason that I brought that topic to the course on occupational ethics and twentieth century philosophy and the question of evil.
When you call into question the religious credentials of a person of the Jewish faith, you cannot treat him as an equal and this can lead from religious intolerance to the question of the right of a dissenter to life itself. Hence the Church abetted, however indirectly, a line of thinking that led from religious intolerance to the exterminationist, racial policies of the Hitler regime. The Vatican was the first government to give diplomatic recognition of Hitler, hence giving him respectability. Of course, Hitler dismissed Jews from all aspects of German life by stripping them of civil rights as a prelude to the Holocaust. The Church remained silent, which can be interpreted as complicity. The Church is now considering giving sainthood to Pope Pius XII, which would morally legitimize the complicitous, passive role of the Church in the Jewish genocide. I find the Church to be morally obtuse in this matter of interfaith relations.
I am disturbed how Jews convert to Christian denominations, not from sincere religious beliefs. The case seems to be the strategic advantage that a person gains at the work site by seemingly assimilating himself to the majority culture. If you are a “bad” Jew, in bad faith, you cannot be a “good” Christian. Christian denominations, in general, should desist from proselytizing in the Jewish community as a gesture of good will to further acknowledgement of the plural nature of our democratic society.
As I write this paper on the evening of the fifth of April 2009, I found literature exhorting me to convert to the true messiah. I simply tore up the propaganda, as I find it not de rigeur to slip literature underneath fellow citizens’ doors, showing disrespect for their peace of mind.