Roman Catholics and all Christians must push back against antisemitism, especially now because of the rising violence and threats around the world directed against Jewish people, declared Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts.
“This ultimately is the plea: to lean into our institutions in which there is truth and beauty and goodness and to use those institutions as tools—as weapons if we must—to eliminate antisemitism. That’s the call for those of us who are Roman Catholics,” Roberts, a Catholic, said to an audience at Franciscan University, a Catholic university in Steubenville, Ohio. “We must be part of the solution if we are part of any institution of faith.”
Roberts joined the Philos Project and Franciscan University to launch a new coalition: Catholics Against Antisemitism.
“Now is the time for faithful Catholics to unite with our Jewish neighbors to defend and promote our shared Judeo-Christian tradition,” the coalition stated on its website.
Studies have shown that antisemitic violence is on the rise. “Not only is antisemitism on the rise, in some measures, it has doubled and tripled in its prevalence,” Roberts said.
There are two main ways to fix this problem, according to Roberts. One is to “shed light on darkness” and raise awareness. The other aspect is to do something about it institutionally, “which is to say that those of us who have the privilege of leading institutions have to be more active, energetic, vocal, courageous—dare I say—about what we do,” he said.
Roberts said he believes that it is a “Christian duty” to call out any antisemitism. One example is that even if “some tiny semblance of an anti-Jewish trope is allowed to be met with silence in a conversation, that we’re not living out our own Christian duty; we’re not being faithful to our own Christian duty to correct an error.”
“And as a matter of faith, the Bible imposes on Christians, as you know, a special responsibility of friendship and protection of the Jewish people,” he said. “We want to be on the side of God’s chosen people.”
One of the reasons antisemitism is rearing its head on U.S. college campuses in the wake of Hamas’ attack on Israel last month is that so many American college students are unfamiliar with the Jewish faith and the history of Israel, said Roberts.
He warned against the skeptics who say we can’t eradicate antisemitism. “Let’s not fall into that trap, because we also know the omnipotence of our God, especially His unlimited love for His chosen people,” Roberts said.
“You know well, no doubt, the beautiful message that President George Washington wrote to the Hebrew congregation of Newport, Rhode Island: ‘May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell on this land continue to merit and enjoy the goodwill of the other inhabitants, while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid,’” Roberts shared with the audience.
He asked for prayers for political leaders to fight antisemitism: “We will leave those prudential decisions to political leaders and pray, whatever their party affiliation, whatever we think of them, whether we voted for them or not, for their great unending discernment and courage in fighting antisemitism.”
“And let us, in a nod to our Jewish brothers and sisters, take solace from the Prophet Isaiah,” he said, sharing with them Isaiah 40:31: “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be wary. They shall walk and not faint.”
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