“During Holy Week our scripture readings make frequent reference to “the Jews.” These words are broadly understood as referring to some of the Judean authorities of the time who were opposed to Jesus, and not to Jews as a people, then or now.”
Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, church-goers recited the “Litany of Penitence.” One petition struck me in particular, “Accept our repentance, Lord, …. For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us.” (Italics mine)
Wouldn’t this be an example of prejudice and contempt? We hear it read aloud on the third Sunday in Lent every third year:
The front page of The New York Times today carried this headline, “In Police Training, a Dark Film on U.S. Muslims.” The article begins,
“Ominous music plays as images appear on the screen: Muslim terrorists shoot Christians in the head, car bombs explode, executed children lie covered by sheets and a doctored photograph shows an Islamic flag flying over the White House. ‘This is the true agenda of much of Islam in America,’ a narrator intones.”
We know about 9/11. Not only is it recent, but shocking images of the attack on the Twin Towers flashed around the globe. Not so well remembered, 11/9, Krystallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), spread similar terror in Germany and Austria. Masses of innocent Jewish people suddenly found themselves under attack. Many lost their lives; and their property was destroyed – synagogues, businesses, even homes.
Does Krystallnacht still evoke images for us today? On the night it happened, the 9th of November, 1939, the “Night of Broken Glass” sent shock waves around the world. The Daily Telegraph in London carried this account on November 11th: