“messianic Jew” convicted of murdering doctor

Christian fundamentalist Scott Roeder, an anti-abortion activist described as a “messianic Jew”, was convicted last Friday of first-degree premeditated murder. The victim, Dr. George R.Tiller, was the medical director of a clinic which performed late term abortions. He was shot in his church at point blank range by Roeder. In addition, Roeder was convicted on two counts of aggravated assault for threatening to shoot two individuals as he fled Tiller's Reformation Lutheran Church in Kansas.

A number of blogs, news sources and publications are reporting on Scott Roeder’s connections to fundamentalist Christian and messianic “Jewish” groups. For the record, Roeder was born a Christian and born-again a Christian.

[note: the Tiller killing is but one in a number of murders and violent incidents attributed to the radical right over the issue of abortion in America.]

While testifying, Roeder credited Pat Robertson for his born-again conversion TV experience via the “700 Club”. And during the investigation into the murder it was reported that a messianic “rabbi” and messianic Christian members of Roeder’s bible study group had been questioned.

Roeder was apparently affiliated with “Operation Rescue”. And Operation Rescue has supported the efforts of Be’ad Haim - a Messianic pro-life organization in Israel.

Another Christian anti-abortion organization Bound4Life has a messianic Israeli counterpart called Dror Cha’im, and in 2007 a Hebrew version of their anti- abortion campaign was produced by the Or HaCarmel Messianic Ministry in Haifa.

In an article published two years ago in the Jerusalem Post, this writer cautioned Israel against importing the great American abortion conflagration, as both the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice camps hold positions which are a far and brutal cry from most halachic opinions on the subject of terminating pregnancies.

At the time of that writing, evangelical organizations and well as politicians affiliated with the Christian Right were meeting with Israeli spiritual and political leaders with the intention of influencing the Jewish state to adopt a more clear-cut “Judeo-Christian” legislative stand on abortion. In response, I had penned :

“It is essential that everyone understand that Israel is a unique nation, with uncommon obligations, and that the Jewish people are certainly entitled to ensure religious continuity, seek moral clarity and formulate legislative solutions for our own people in our own way.”

Messianic Draft Evasion:
Murder isn’t the only crime “messianic Jews” are being accused of these days. In Minsk, the draft evasion trial of Ivan Mikhajlau, a parishioner of the Messianic Jewish community “New Testament” is underway. It appears military service contradicts Ivan’s religious beliefs.

Messianic Harassment:
And then we have “Sizergate”. It seems blogger Joseph Weissman (aka Yeze of the messianic Rosh Pina Project) was abruptly woken up to the sounds of British cops knocking on his door.
Anti-Israel Anglican Vicar Stephen Sizer was maddened by Yeze’s tactics and posts and complained to the authorities.

Depending on which side of the political spectrum one stands on, Weissman aka Yeze aka Mordechai Ben Emet, is either a cyber-hero or suffering from multiple blogger personality syndrome.

At any rate, Weissman buckled and took the offending post down - so he won’t be going to jail. And it’s a good thing, because a “messianic Jew” just can’t get a good kosher meal in prison – because they’re Protestants.

Jewish Israel views Yeze as a theologically and politically confused sort of guy who likes the prefix ”anti”. Based on his “coming-out” post, it is clear that he is no practicing Jew (take note Pamela Geller):

"I am a Christian strongly opposed to anti-Semitism…I attend an Anglican evangelical church occasionally, and also a neo-charismatic church more regularly…I reject the extreme positions taken by both Christian Zionists and anti-Zionists. These are political arguments which are not assisted by their confusion with theology…Christians should neither support the radical Jewish settler movement … or rationalise Islamism and jihad against Israelis. Jewishness is also a big part of my life, as I was born Jewish, I attend a Messianic fellowship, and will always identify as a Messianic Jew. I should stress that I am the third generation of my family to believe that Jesus is the Messiah…This is not some new-found faith for me, but a belief with deep roots. I have never been anything other than a believer in Christ."

Jewish Israel is no friend of Reverend Stephen Sizer, but Yeze does tend to push the blogger envelope a wee bit far, and he does what he can to push all the wrong buttons.

Back in October he graphically prejudged our post on religious freedoms in Israel. And twice last November he posted a letter from Leah Ortiz which accuses Jewish Israel of incitement to violence.

The blogosphere is a viable alternative to a politically correct and warped mainstream media, but one would hope that those reveling in the freedoms of cyberspace would try to play fair and keep it civil.

(For those evangelical and messianic Christians who seem to feel that it’s “radical” Orthodox Jews with a proclivity to violent crime, we hope you found this post enlightening. Bottom line: “messianic jews” do crime, too)

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Comment by Jewish Israel on February 2, 2010 at 3:05pm
You're right, Charles - which is why the term is in quotes.
The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus got themselves in a bit of hot water when they tried to introduce "Judeo-Christian" as a cultural term at a womans' conference. Janet Parshall - who was co-chairwoman of the event - left the Caucus in a huff and wrote that, "Judeo-Christian values have no meaning apart apart from Scripture… the proclamation of the Good News is the ultimate Judeo-Christian value”.

So it seems that we have a problem, as Jews try and use this non-term to describe Western civilization and culture, whereas devout Christians tie it to the gospel.

Rav Soloveitchik was opposed to use of the term. He recognized the validity of "a Judeo-HellenisticChristian tradition within the framework of Western civilization," but he noted that "people confuse two concepts when they speak of a common tradition uniting two faith communities such as the Christian and the Judaic." He called it "absurd" to speak of the "commensurability of two faith communities which are individual entities."

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