Glenn Beck says that the Jews killed Jesus

Isn’t Glenn Beck a lovely human being?

Here what he said on Tuesday about Jesus and the Jews:

Jesus conquered death. He wasn’t victimized. He chose to give his life. He did have a choice. If he was a victim, and this theology was true, then Jesus would have come back from the dead and made the Jews pay for what they did.

In other words, Jesus might have made those wicked Jews pay for killing the Son of God. And he would have been within his rights to have done so.

Never mind that crucifixion was a Roman form of execution and that it would have been the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, and not any Jew, who would have condemned Jesus to death.

I know the old canard in the gospels that the Jews manipulated Pilate into sentencing Jesus to death. But that’s the danger in reading those texts as history that can never be mistaken, isn’t it? It can lead to stupid (and almost certainly false) claims about history, and what we should learn from history.

One thing we should learn from history—especially after the Holocaust—is that Christians should have the basic decency to never again blame Jews for the Roman crucifixion of Jesus. And those parts of the New Testament that are antisemitic should be recognized for what they are: bigotry, conspiracy mongering, and demonization.

Does anybody, for example, really think that Pontius Pilate was a wallflower who couldn’t make up his own mind about what to do with people that he thought might be dangerous to Rome? Isn’t this akin to thinking that George Bush needed persuading to invade Iraq? Instead, might it be just a teensy bit likely that the gospel writers, attempting to convert Romans, might find it in their rhetorical interest to blame Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus—and not a Roman? 

This is about biblical literalism, isn’t it? It’s hard for contemporary “followers of Jesus” (whatever that means) to absorb the fact that the New Testament authors had rhetorical—and even propaganda—purposes, among them being (where it suited them) antisemitic slander.

In the below clip, notice the visceral emphasis that Glenn Beck places on making “the Jews pay for what they did”: 

Isn’t that telling and grotesque? Would any 1930s fascist say it with any more emotion?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to Glenn Beck says that the Jews killed Jesus

  1. Oh dear. Even when I was a christian nobody I knew thought that. Works like “Who Moved The Stone” by Frank Morrison (text 1st published c1920s?) made it very clear the Romans killed Jesus. I was mortified when I read Michener’s novel “The Source” and read of the long history of christian anti-semitism, which Beck’s Mormonism seems to borrow from.

    The more Beck pronounces on religion, the stupider and more crass he looks, if that were possible.

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