Bigotry in the Church, True Story….

A long distance friend of mine whom I speak to time to time related this story to me some time back and it really makes me think about the people around us and how prejudices die hard.  My friend, I’ll call M, is of the Jewish faith.  Now I have no dog in any fight and what religion a person chooses if fine with me. Who am I to disapprove?  Anyway M is also a Rabbi and had a synagogue but over time the Jewish community where he lived shrunk to the point it was just best to close it and move on.  And so he did.  He did services for other synagogues when he could, but the travel to and from them was getting further and further and even that slowly came to a halt after a while.  M was very active in the community and his wife had a good job so it was not a matter of needing a job but rather wanting one and he easily filled his time with community activities.  Of course outside of moving there was no employment for a wanting Rabbi to get.  Like I said M was very active in the community and for whatever reason he began attending the local Episcopal Church. He liked it there and they seemed to like him.  Now there is no doubt he was not going to switch religions, he just wanted to have a spiritual family to worship with.  M is very outgoing and fitting in came easily to him.  The preacher occasionally let him read the Old Testament reading during the service.  He was welcomed into the choir and loved it.  He taught, once again, the Old Testament during Sunday School.  At Christmas time when they did their Lessons and Carol’s program he was always given a lesson to read.  I cannot tell you how many times he bragged on this Church to me.  Everything however was not as rosy as it seemed.  There were, I believe, two couples who did not want him there.  Two German couples.  Now whether they were direct descendants or a generation or two removed I cannot say, but they wanted him gone and were at the time somewhat reserved about it.  The preacher was a strong man but his time had come and he moved on for reasons I don’t know.  During the interim and as the new preacher was to come on board the couples made it known, either he left or they did.  How strong a connection they had with the church I don’t know this either.  There may have been a couple more, but regardless their feelings were out.  The new preacher being a man of God was not going to turn anyone away from his Church, especially telling someone they had to go, and whatever the couple chose to do was of their doing.  M was terribly hurt by this as he had never wronged anyone there and everyone knew it.  By hearing this pronouncement from the couple he left the Church terribly hurt.  He could not stay regardless of everyone else almost pleading with him to remain.  He got phone calls and when he ran into members on the street they would ask him to return and don’t worry about the bigoted couple.  But he couldn’t, the damage had been done.  As far as I know to this day M has not returned.  Ask yourself if you were a member, or even the preacher, how could you face these bigoted folks and not have it ever present in your mind what they did or how they believe?  Have them sit amongst you praising God and knowing how they believe. And from the preachers stand point blessing them every Sunday, forgiving them of their sins while knowing their real beliefs.  If I were a strong member in good standing I would have a tough time holding my tongue.  Would you???

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