Though I’m a Catholic Christian, I have often been extremely vocal in support and defense of our Jewish cousins. They are demonstrably the most persecuted identifiable demographic cohort over the two millennia behind us. When I encounter anti-Semitism on the Web, I slap it down hard.
But then, every so often, I encounter something like this:
“An instructional assistant at a Florida high school has reportedly complained about her co-worker’s parking space that quotes a verse from the New Testament, saying it offends her as Jewish person,” Fox News reported.
The offended party is named Marina Gentilesco, and she works at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Pasco County, Florida.
The horrifying verse in question? Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”
Now that’s some scary stuff.
Fox News noted that Gentilesco said her parents told her stories of the Holocaust, and that “the quote from an epistle of St. Paul brings back painful memories.”
“It brings me to the verge of tears because it brings me back to the 6 million that perished. Six million perished because of our faith — because we’re Jews,” Gentilesco said.
The Holocaust was bad, an evil that ranks with the worst in human history, but it does not justify the taking of offense for others’ expressions of their faiths. Christians are the best friends the Jewish people have ever had. We honor the Jews as the Chosen People because we’re aware that God chose them for the lineage of His Son. It wasn’t Christianity nor Christians who slaughtered the Jews of Europe. Hitler didn’t like us either.
While we have moved on from the Mosaic Law to Christ’s New Covenant, that neither compels you to do the same nor dishonors your faith and heritage. To invoke the Holocaust as a justification for taking offense at an expression of Christian faith is pure victimism. It’s a treatable malady, if you’re willing to seek professional help. Failing that, either put something inspirational from the Torah on your own parking space, or shut the hell up about your coworker’s expression of his faith. Preferably both.