A friend of mine posted a photo on facebook of a Star of David with a Cross inside of it. People commented on how beautiful and meaningful it was to them. I made the comment that to Jewish people, this symbol was offensive because of the long Christian history of Antisemitism. Someone responded that they were sorry for the holocaust but it wasn’t their fault.
I pointed out that the issue is not simply the Holocaust. Christian history is a history of antisemitism from the second century onward. The church fathers said horrible things against the Jews. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered by the Christian Crusaders. Hundreds of thousands more were murdered by the Catholic Spanish Inquisition, Orthodox church pogroms in eastern Europe killed hundreds of thousands more, and even the Holocaust followed exactly the words of Martin Luther – author of the protestant reformation. The church has a very long legacy of hatred against the Jews IN JESUS NAME. The symbol of persecution of Jews by Christians … was the cross. So forgive me if I don’t want to accept a symbol that has been polluted by Christian hatred of Jews throughout the ages. Am I oversensitive? I don’t think so. Do I forgive? Yes I do. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting. Every time I want to share about Yeshua with a Jewish friend or relative, they don’t even listen, because of the actions of Christians over the centuries. How would that make anyone feel about the cross?
People started commenting about how they were not ashamed of the Cross and that it is the Gospel, and if people were offended, that was their problem. I commented that I find the symbol offensive because to me, it doesn’t symbolize God’s love, but people’s hatred directed against Jews in the Name of Yeshua. People got defensive, accused me of being bitter, and said they were not responsible for the holocaust and they loved Jewish people and that I was wrong for not embracing the Cross.
About this time, I was sorry I even jumped into the discussion. I was dismayed that people really didn’t care if others were offended or not, and that they felt if someone wanted to embrace Yeshua, they needed to ignore what was offensive to them and just accept Yeshua on Christian terms rather than Christians, God forbid, modify their presentation in order to let the real message be understood and embraced. This was more offensive to me than any symbol. What bothered me most was that they just did not get it. If people really want their friends, Jewish or not, to embrace Yeshua and come into a genuine relationship with God, it seems to me that they would be happy to remove offensive symbols in order to make the substance of their message clear.
The truth and beauty of the Besorah is Yeshua’s sacrifice on our behalf. It is NOT the symbol of the Cross. I have no problem with that symbol for the Church. I understand that for them, it symbolizes God’s love for them. I do have a problem sticking a Cross in a Star of David, or worse, nailing a star of David on a cross and thinking Jewish people would be OK with it. It conveys a very different message to Jewish people than the one people are trying to communicate. Effective Communication only occurs when the message you seek to communicate is the message that is correctly understood by those you are trying to communicate with. What I have been trying to say is that the message that people are trying to communicate is not the message received or understood by Jewish people when they see a cross or especially a cross blended with a Star of David. If people don’t care enough to accurately communicate a message, they shouldn’t be sharing it in the first place.