Secretariat@commontexts.org: Remove texts prejudicial against Jews and Judaism from the RCL.
  • Petitioned The Consultation on Common Texts
  • Responded

This petition was delivered to:

The Consultation on Common Texts
See response

Secretariat@commontexts.org: Remove texts prejudicial against Jews and Judaism from the RCL.

    1. Faith Not Fault
    2. Petition by

      Faith Not Fault

      Woodstock,, United States

  1.  
  2.   
June 2013

Victory

From Petition Organizer: I am calling this a victory: the people to whom I sent the petition have done all they can at this point to limit the damage being done.

Would I want a Jewish friend to join me at a worship service at my church? In truth? No. There is a likely chance I might feel ashamed and an equally likely chance that my Jewish friend might be offended.

On 50 to 60 Sundays in the three-year cycle of readings, most Christian congregations hear passages taken from the New Testament -- primarily from the Gospels and Acts -- that discredit Jews or Judaism. But this does more than insult a friend’s faith. Many Christians have acknowledged that, heard year by year over the centuries, readings such as these might have helped to lay the groundwork for the Holocaust, and continue to help fuel anti-Semitism even today. In a time when inter-faith relations matter more than ever, this petition asks those responsible for the cycle of readings to eliminate defamatory passages from the lectionary.

Consider:
* A strong, true faith does not need to build itself up by putting another down; Christianity gains no luster by making an invidious comparison to another faith;
* Integrity demands that we not affirm one teaching, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and then affirm our antipathy toward a neighboring faith;
* Modern, critical Christian scholarship has shown us for a generation and more that the Gospels and Acts present a distorted picture of first century Judaism -- see The Jewish Annotated New Testament for examples;
* The ordinary person in the pew is not trained in biblical scholarship, and may take the anti-Judaic passages proclaimed from the pulpit as literal historical and theological truth when that is not the case;
* Even if no direct connection can be proven between a particular reading and an act of anti-Semitism, it is still likely that the cumulative effect of the readings creates a permissive social context for prejudice against Jews;
* When a passage from scripture is read and then proclaimed to be “the Word of God,” a halo effect is created around what amount to damaging assertions.

John 18:36 gives an example: “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews’.”

Often the Gospel of John says, “the Jews,” not meaning the Jewish community of Jesus’ day, which actually was very diverse, but as a stereotype denoting Jesus’ enemies. It makes no sense to have Jesus talking about “being handed over to the Jews,” when he himself was Jew, as were his parents, his family, his disciples and most of his followers.


The RCL has asserted: “In particular, the Revised Common Lectionary has paid attention to the tragic history of the abuse of biblical materials to support Christian anti-Semitism. The need to avoid such abuse is one of the basic principles of this lectionary.” (RCL, p.78-79; emphasis added).

Members of the Consultation on Common Texts, believing we share a vision for a world that reflects a larger measure of peace and justice for all, I urge you to help Christian churches strengthen their witness to Jesus’ teachings by removing, as far as possible, passages from the RCL that denigrate his own people as well as people of our own day.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 500 signatures
    2. Victory!

      Faith Not Fault
      Petition Organizer

      Dear Signers of my Petition,

      Victory! Today I received an email from the people to whom my petition was addressed. To tell you the truth, their response goes beyond what I had hoped for; because they have taken the matter very seriously indeed. I cannot thank you enough for seeing the issue as the important issue it is. Here is their response.

      May peace among religions continue to grow

      The Consultation on Common Texts meeting in Toronto, Ontario, April 15-16, 2013, and in direct conversation with The Rev. Susan Auchincloss, creator of this petition, has offered the following response:
      TO: 
The Rev. Susan Auchincloss 
Faith not Fault
      Dear Rev. Auchincloss:
      At our recent meeting in Toronto, Canada, the members of the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT) discussed the concerns of you and others regarding the references to “the Jews” in the gospel of John, especially in the passion account used on Good Friday, as well as other references included in the Revised Common Lection

    3. Reached 250 signatures
    4. Decision-maker The Consultation on Common Texts responds:

      The Consultation on Common Texts

      The Consultation on Common Texts meeting in Toronto, Ontario, April 15-16, 2013, and in direct conversation with The Rev. Susan Auchincloss, creator of this petition, has offered the following response:

      TO:
      The Rev. Susan Auchincloss
      ...


    5. Reached 100 signatures
    6. Decision-maker The Consultation on Common Texts responds:

      The Consultation on Common Texts

      To Julie Webb:

      Thanks for writing.

      There are translations of the Bible available that more accurately identify "The Judeans" (i.e,. the religious leaders in Judea) rather than "The Jews" in the way they render many such texts we are...


    7. Decision-maker The Consultation on Common Texts responds:

      The Consultation on Common Texts

      In response to The Rev. Andrew Shelton:

      Andrew,

      Thanks for writing.

      The OT readings for the RCL during Eastertide have always been included as part of the complete RCL. We have listed them for those who wish to use them for the ...


    8. Decision-maker The Consultation on Common Texts responds:

      The Consultation on Common Texts

      In response to comments from Pamela Pond:

      Pamela,

      We would all agree with your solution. This, however, is a matter of translation of the texts. And translation is not our work in the RCL. Our work is to commend a listing of texts ...


    9. Reached 25 signatures
    10. Decision-maker The Consultation on Common Texts responds:

      The Consultation on Common Texts

      Thanks for sharing your concerns.

      The Consultation on Common Texts has its next meeting in April 2013 in Toronto.

      We will take up the issues raised in this petition at that time.


    11. Reached 10 signatures
    12. Decision-maker The Consultation on Common Texts responds:

      The Consultation on Common Texts

      Thanks for writing to share your concerns.

      The next meeting of the Consultation is in April, 2013. We have added your petition to our agenda for that meeting. .


    13. Reached 5 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Jennica Munden PUEBLO, CO
      • 9 months ago

      Judaism and Christianity go hand-in-hand, and the latter does not refute the former. as Yeshua (Christ) said, "I did not come to do away with The Law, but to fulfill it," in reference to the Holy Law. Christian teachings should never teach anything that is anti-Jew/Israel, but should be in support of them, as the LORD established it to be.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • James Dybas NY, NY
      • about 1 year ago

      Lets respect each other's faith and beliefs and not make others who are not of the Christian faith the "bad guys". We're all God's children.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Diana Stern WOODSTOCK, NY
      • about 1 year ago

      This is an effort to heal a division that still runs as a fault beneath our communities.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Lynn Schlossberger BATON ROUGE, LA
      • over 1 year ago

      I have been an Episcopalian for 20 years, but my Jewish roots will always be part of my identity. The passages of Christian scripture that are disrespectful of "the Jews" are deeply hurtful, and including them in the lectionary is unworthy of the core teachings of the Christian faith. Please, let's address this as a community.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • M W URBANDALE, IA
      • over 1 year ago

      My husband is Jewish, as are some of our friends. I worship comfortably in the temple or synagogue, but there are many occasions when the readings in the church I attend are hurtful for Jews to hear. They reinforce the lie that "the Jews" were Christ-killers -- something many Jews have been accused of by Christians since they were little children. Perpetuating this falsehood after all these centuries drastically undermines our Christian witness to the love of God and my own baptismal commitment to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving my neighbor as myself.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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