Here’s an article that serves as a big exclamation point to David Brickner’s article above: “Jews for Jesus offends Jews and Christians” by Ethan Frenchman and Seth Mayer, October 3, 2005 from Chicago Maroon online edition. (Chicago Maroon is the independent student newspaper of the University of Chicago.)
The last paragraph of the article reads, “JFJ’s disturbing presence at the university is a threat to religious understanding and meaningful cultural pluralism. Their distortions undermine any form of religious meaning or significance. Disregarding any notion of ‘genuine understanding,’ Jews for Jesus cynically uses manipulation in a manner that disgraces itself and hurts both Judaism and Christianity.
A letter to the editor from a pastor who lauds the article is also a perfect illustration of “America’s Favorite Pastime.”
As a Presbyterian pastor laboring down here in the Bible belt, I want to express my deep appreciation for the article “Jews for Jesus Offends Jews and Christians” by Ethan Frenchman and Seth Mayer (10/3/05). Writing in a culture where civility towards and respect for the religious beliefs of others seem to be rapidly disappearing, the authors remind us not only of pertinent facts of Jewish identity, they also challenge us to be respectful of those long-standing facts. I plan to share their article with my congregation and my colleagues. Thank you.
Gerald Stephens, Jr., Pastor
Bold Springs Church
The Jews for Jesus Chicago branch leader also sent in a letter to the editor that was published as follows:
It’s with disappointment that I read your recent article “Jews for Jesus Offends Jews and Christians.” I have been reading the Maroon for well over 20 years and know it to be a fine newspaper. But your recent article fails to live up to the journalistic standards the Maroon has upheld through the years.
Frenchman and Mayer never called Jews for Jesus to verify any of their allegations. In fact, it looks like they just went to an anti-Jews for Jesus website and cut and pasted the typical accusations leveled against us.
We’re accused of using deceptive methods. Oh please! Handing out literature with Jesus emblazoned across one’s shirt, do Frenchman and Mayer really feel that the University of Chicago’s student population is that thick that they would not know they are receiving something about Jesus? “Duh! What could they be handing out?”
You know there’s something wrong when the article says, “The group refers to Jesus as Yeshua, which they claim to be His Hebrew name.” A simple phone call to the Oriental Institute would have confirmed to Frenchman and Mayer what everybody else seems to know: that Jesus is not Italian, that the Gospels did not happen in Norway and that His mother didn’t call him Jesus. His name is Yeshua; He was born in Israel and claimed to be the Messiah of the Jewish people. Those are not our claims; those are the claims of the New Testament.
At least I can take comfort in one thing. I know that University of Chicago students are able to recognize the difference between real dialogue and a hatchet job.
Midwest Regional Director
Jews for Jesus