December 15, 2018

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Christian periodical in the 1930s warned that acting Jewish causes antisemitism

Continuing on my reading of  The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel by Caitlin Carenen, we see that the influential Christian Century magazine was against persecuted Jews immigrating to Palestine.

But they were also against Jews coming to America, too.

 “There is no ethical principle that requires either an individual person or nation to expose itself to a condition sure to involve a moral overstrain….Our immigration laws should be maintained and even further strengthened. Christian and other high-minded citizens have no need to feel apologetic for the limitations upon immigration into the country,” it said.

Part of the reason is that the immigrants were so…Jewy. The magazine gave a not so friendly warning to American Jews: 

 As the decade progressed and persecution against Jews in Germany increased, the Christian Century continued its assault against Judaism. In editorials and articles, the journal warned Jews against maintaining a separate ethnic identity in the midst of Protestant America. In an editorial written in 1937, for example, the editors encouraged Jews to abandon Judaism’s particularistic aspects in favor of its universalistic elements in the hope of “achieving a higher integration of social relationships in the United States.” Reflecting the inherent tensions between democracy and religion, another editorial insisted that maintaining religious particularity at the expense of a °higher synthesis” with Protestant America would only result in ‘”the spirit of American tolerance shriveling up.” 

Those devout and progressive Christians were okay with tolerance, as long as the people they had to tolerate were just like them.
And that if the Jews decide to keep acting like Jews, then, well, who can blame the people who will discriminate against them? 

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