Anti-Semitism and Christianity have a long and storied history together, but what was once generally frowned upon by most of American society appears to be making an unabashed return to public life.
More and more, evangelical Christians are openly expressing their disdain for the Jews, whether due to conspiracy theories they have picked up on the internet or because they are hearing such views beaming straight from the pulpit.
A recent Washington Post report delves into the world of evangelical anti-Semites, and the portrait it paints is disturbing, to say the least.
Take Luba Yanko, for example. A housekeeper from Bensalem, Pennsylvania, Yanko is concerned that President Donald Trump “is surrounded by a Zionist environment with completely different values from Christians. It’s kabbalist. It’s Talmudic values. Not the word of God.”
Christians are now being persecuted in the United States, Yanko said. “[Jews] say, ‘We’ve got America. We control America.’ That’s what I know.”
Or consider the words of Wanda and Doug Meyer, who get most of their news on current events from people “who know what’s really going on” — like televangelists Kenneth Copeland and Paula White.
The Post reports:
As they ate lunch after the service at their large evangelical church, the Meyers said they would like to someday visit Israel, which is religiously important to them. But they also watch a lot of videos online when they’re watching those pastors’ sermons. They believe, with total certainty, in what they hear, even when the information is false: That humans have nothing to do with climate change. That Muslims are trying to implement laws in U.S. states that would allow them to kill Christians with impunity. That a shadowy group, including wealthy Jews as leaders, meant to use Hillary Clinton to bring about “one world government.”
Wanda says they try to “stay up to date” on the “spiritual battle … financed by the Illuminati and the Rothschilds.”
The Meyers couple relies heavily on YouTube for obtaining information about the current state of affairs in the U.S. and around the world — and they are far from alone.
Trump has done well in convincing his followers that mainstream media are purveyors of “fake news,” and evangelical Christians are among those increasingly turning to alternative news sources in an effort to steer clear of that which the president says is “fake.”
But the flow of anti-Semitism running through the internet, and some evangelical circles, is strong, promising to sweep up even unsuspecting Christians who might be led astray by misused Bible verses or conspiratorial thinking.
YouTube is home to at least several evangelical pastors who espouse anti-Semitic views during sermons, such as Rick Wiles, the Florida minister who runs TruNews.
The Post noted that just in the past month, Wiles “has posited that sex offender Jeffrey Epstein might not have died but instead been spirited away to a safe house in Israel; listed the names of “Hollywood Jews” who produced the pulled-from-theaters satirical movie “The Hunt” and suggested that they actually want to hunt and kill white Christians; called the non-Jewish billionaire “Rabbi Warren Buffett"; said the government could take away guns from anyone who criticizes Israel; referred to Ivanka Trump, who is Jewish, as “Yael Kushner"; and more.”
Another is Steven Anderson, the pastor of a Baptist church in Arizona, who has said in an online sermon that “The Jews believe that it’s okay for them to steal from Gentiles.”
Anderson also says “that Jews and gay people run Hollywood” and “emphasizes that Jews killed Jesus and are not God’s chosen people.”
The current U.S. president himself has trotted out anti-Semitic tropes and statements on occasion, The Post noted, including the time he suggested there were “fine people” among protestors who chanted “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville, Virginia.
More recently, Trump “declared that Jews who vote for Democrats — meaning more than 70 percent of all Jews in the United States — are ‘disloyal.’”
Whether it is for cultural or theological reasons, it seems that more evangelicals in the U.S. are feeling more comfortable saying out loud that they have a problem with Jewish people — though generally not Israel, which they will defend at all costs.