President Trump has sent some pretty mixed messages about Jewish people throughout his political career.
He once tweeted a picture of Hillary Clinton next to a Star of David that read "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!" He said that some of the neo-Nazis at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, North Carolina who chanted "The Jews will not replace us" are "very fine people."
On Wednesday, he signed an executive order that says discrimination against Jews is a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — which "prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance."
It's believed that the order was signed to squelch anti-Israel protests on college campuses and was suggested by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is Jewish.
"The vile, hate-filled poison of anti-Semitism must be condemned and confronted everywhere and anywhere it appears," he said while announcing the order.
So neo-Nazis can be "very good people" yet we must confront anti-Semitism everywhere and anywhere? It looks like Trump is trying to have things both ways.
The president invited controversial evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress to speak at the Hannukah Reception where the executive order was also signed. His inclusion was clueless given the fact that he once claimed that Jewish people go to hell.
In 2010, he delivered a lecture in which he said: "God sends good people to Hell. Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism--not only do they lead people away from from God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell."
While saying that anyone is going to hell is an insult if there ever was one, Jeffress's speech does align with Christian doctrine.
"And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: 'Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved,'" Romans 9:27 ESV.
"And he said to them, 'Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned,'" Mark 16:15-18 ESV.
So maybe inviting a Christian fundamentalist to speak at a Jewish-themed event was a bad idea in the first place?
Conversely, Jewish people do not believe in hell, so they shouldn't be too worried about Jeffress's opinion of the place.
What we should all worry about are religious fundamentalists who espouse ideas that fan the flames of bigotry.
When Jeffress says that Mormons, Muslims, Jews, and Hindus are going to hell he's making them targets for religion-based persecution.
Isn't that what lies at the heart of anti-Semitism?
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