Time magazine has just hailed an intellectual breakthrough: “A
new book claims that Christianity, not just bad Christians, is to blame
for persecution of the Jews.”
What an original idea! This must be only the fortieth book to come
up with it. The book is Constantine’s Sword: The Church and
the Jews, by James Carroll (Houghton Mifflin). Carroll is one of those
liberal ex-priests who insist that they are staunch Catholics while
defaming their Church at every turn.
According to Time’s reviewer, Carroll, whose book is “brave” and “fascinating” (though
it merely repeats a thesis that has become safe and commonplace), blames
anti-Semitism and the Holocaust on the popes, the Spanish Inquisition,
the Crusades, the medieval Church, St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom,
the Church fathers, and even the authors of the Gospels. Has he left
Well, yes. Why not blame Jesus Christ? He certainly had quarrels with
the Jews and made some harsh and provocative remarks about them. Why
let Christ off the hook? If the Church has so consistently opposed
the Jews for two millennia, might not its Founder have had some influence
in the matter? Are we really supposed to believe that, once he had
left this earth, Christianity immediately adopted a doctrine totally
alien to him? If the Church is so thoroughly anti-Semitic, why not
trace its anti-Semitism to Christ himself?
Ah, but that might be a little more “brave” than Carroll
deems prudent. It might cut him off from the Faith to which he professes
allegiance. Christ is a pretty imposing figure even now. Safer to blame
the Church, the popes, even the Apostles, than the Founder himself.
One nubile movie star, blaming the Catholic Church in a recent interview
for inhibiting her sex life, never fingered Christ as the culprit — as
if Catholic doctrines didn’t reflect Christ’s own stern
teachings on lust, but were superimposed by a bunch of old celibate
You’ll notice that whenever people dislike Christianity, they
blame whatever they dislike about it on everyone but Jesus. They’d
have us believe that they have no quarrel with Christ’s “authentic” teachings,
with which they are in total agreement, but reject only those alien
accretions that started collecting, as they claim, the moment Christ
The so-called Jesus Seminar, a group of liberal theologians, has even
decided to tell us which Gospel sayings Jesus “really” spoke — and
the “authentic” ones always turn out to be those that are
acceptable to modern liberalism. It’s easy to see why. If you
want to make Jesus Christ a modern liberal, you have to edit the Gospels
pretty heavily. Garry Wills does something similar in his recent book, Papal
Sin, which purports to be a critique of the modern papacy but
winds up rejecting some ancient and basic Catholic doctrines. Of course
Wills never admits that he rejects any of Christ’s own teachings.
Just as those who cant about “anti-Semitism” stop short
of indicting Christ, those who cant about “racism” present
a heavily expurgated version of Abraham Lincoln, and for similar reasons.
If even Lincoln was a “racist,” the word loses its sting.
He has to be preserved as the great icon of “racial justice,” the “color-blind
society,” “civil rights,” and all that. So we rarely
hear about Lincoln’s actual views on race.
Wills has written a book on Lincoln too: Lincoln
at Gettysburg, which
won a Pulitzer Prize, portrays the familiar Great Emancipator of liberal
mythology with hardly a blemish. The book disingenuously avoids all
mention of Lincoln’s devotion to the cause of removing “free
colored persons” from the United States, his denial that blacks
should be American citizens, or his proposal of a constitutional amendment
to authorize their deportation (“with their consent,” it
should be noted) to other countries. Professor Wills, meet Parson Weems.
For the real Lincoln, the United States was, and should ideally be,
a white nation, and by “the American people” he meant the
white people. As one wag quipped: “Mighty white of you, Abe!”
Liberals know they can’t afford to make full frontal assaults
on such venerable figures as Christ and Lincoln. So they continue to
feed the public false images and censored versions of them. You have
to wonder how long liberalism could survive without lies.
Copyright © 2011 by the Fitzgerald
Griffin Foundation. All rights reserved. This column was published originally
by Griffin Internet Syndicate on January 4, 2001.
Joe Sobran was an author and a syndicated columnist. See bio
and archives of some of his columns.
Watch Sobran's last TV appearance on YouTube.
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during the FGF Tribute to Joe Sobran in December 2009.
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