The Jewish community is grieving and the nation is in a state of shock after the recent massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue took the lives of 11 worshipers this past Saturday. The impetus of this violence can be derived from the social media posts of the perpetrator Robert Bowers. It was simply, “…to kill Jews.”
Robert Bowers, the 46 year-old-man who walked into into a synagogue with violence on his mind had a history of anti-Semitic rhetoric, was a holocaust denier, and wrote on his social platforms that “Jews are the children of Satan.” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said the following about Bowers and the pure hatred he had for the Jewish people — and why he targeted the Tree of Life Synagogue specifically:
“He had sought out this one synagogue because of the activities they had done working with refugees and immigrants.”
Bowers’ hatred and rhetoric turned deadly when he walked into the synagogue, armed with three handguns and an AR-15. He killed 11 innocent victims, which included a husband and wife, two brothers, along with a 97-year-old woman. Four police officers were also injured during the attack.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) claims the attack is more evidence of the rise of anti-Semitism within the country.
“We saw a 57% surge of acts of harassment, vandalism, and violence directed at the Jewish people across the country,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblat said.
Of course, this most recent attack goes well beyond this type of behavior and enters into another realm altogether of hatred towards the Jewish community.
Many leaders shared their thoughts on the attacks, including President Donald Trump.
“This evil anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us, it’s an assault on humanity,” he said.
Ivanka, the President’s daughter, also shared her thoughts on the attack.
“All good Americans stand with the Jewish people to oppose acts of terror and share the horror, disgust and outrage over the massacre in Pittsburgh,” she said.
Ralph Reed, who is the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition added his thoughts: “Virulent, violent anti-Semitism remains a serious problem in the US and the world at large. We condemn this hateful act of violence on a sacred place of worship of the Jewish faith and vow as Christians to oppose and defeat anti-Semitism in all its ugly forms.”
Although the Jewish faith differs from the Christian belief system, the two share a rich Biblical history. After all, Jesus was a practicing Jew during his life on earth. However, even if the two faiths were polar opposites, there is no reason for any people of faith to be subjected to evil, hatred, violence, and even death while they are worshiping peacefully.
As attorney general Jeff Sessions said about this massacre, “This was not just an attack on the Jewish faith. It was an attack on all people of faith, an attack on America’s values. It cannot and will not be tolerated.”
Across the nation, various political and faith leaders are calling for an end to violence and leading moments of silence to honor the lives lost in this tragedy. Anytime innocent lives are taken in a senseless manner, such as this attack, it drives the country to find a “reason for the attack.” To answer the question, “why?” Some leaders believe the increased hatred towards Judaism and people of the Jewish faith is the primary motive, which makes it all that much more important for Christians to stand alongside the Jewish people in unity and solidarity.
Believers of all faiths must support each other’s rights to worship here in America. After all, freedom to worship in peace, without the fear of death, is one aspect that makes this country superior to all others in the world.
~ 1776 Christian