The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shootings – Why and What’s Next?
Almost three weeks have passed since a hate-filled man walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and shouted, “All Jews must die.” Robert Gregory Bowers murdered 11 Jewish people and injured seven others in the Tree of Life Synagogue.
Many words have been used to describe what he did on October 27th, 2018. Diabolical. Tragic. Senseless. Evil. Heartbreaking.
As a believer in the Jewish Messiah, I am especially angered by anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is defined as “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.” Simply put, it is hatred of the Jewish people.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) monitors attacks against Jewish people and property. They report:
The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. rose 57 percent in 2017 – the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking such data in 1979. The sharp rise was in part due to a significant increase in incidents in schools and on college campuses, which nearly doubled for the second year in a row. 
I often meet churchgoers who view anti-Semitism as a hatred that impacts the outside world, not their world. Some think anti-Semitism has been expelled from the church. However, the anti-Jewish sentiments and actions of some who claim Jesus as their Messiah tell a different story.
For more than five years I have closely monitored Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC).  This group says they desire peace in the Middle East and justice for Palestinians – a goal all believers should support. However, some CATC narratives reveal an evident strong anti-Israel bias, and worse. “Anti-Zionism” (hatred of the State of Israel) is often the foundation for anti-Semitism.
Sadly, the Church is not exempt from the toxic poison of hatred, racism, and political extremism.
Only a few days after the slaughter in the Pittsburgh synagogue, CATC held a conference in Oklahoma. The conference was hosted by a church belonging to the denomination in which I grew up, now boasting 7.6 million members. According to an attendee at the event:
At one point, a speaker put up a slide of U.S. President Donald Trump surrounded by three of his advisers. The speaker asked the audience what was wrong with the picture. Audience members answered that the problem was that they were Jews, apparently angry that the American president had Jewish advisors involved in the effort to achieve a peace deal. 
Dexter Van Zile, a Christian scholar for CAMERA,  went on to say the following,
At the time, when the audience was complaining about Jews in the Trump administration, I was disgusted at their flagrant anti-Semitism. But now, after hearing that the Pittsburgh gunman said the American government was “infested” with Jews, I feel more than shaken by how it echoes what I heard at the Methodist-organized conference…. The notions of Jewish cruelty, corruption and infestation—those were all themes at the conference…. It’s now, literally, lethal rhetoric. 
If we claim to believe in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah from Israel, and hold to the Bible as our sole authority in life, these recent reports and the rise of anti-Semitic incidents across the United States should move us to action. For the sake of righteousness and our witness among the Jewish community we must oppose anti-Semitism.
Sin thrives in the darkness. People become more emboldened in their hate when we, as bearers of the Light, are silent. The late Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) famously said the following about his experience in Nazi Germany:
First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. 
Wisdom calls us to learn from the mistakes of previous generations and act accordingly. The Church, true believers in Jesus, must speak out against all hatred of any people. And right now, our Jewish friends need us to speak out for them.
I pray we will never find ourselves wishing we had spoken up for the Lord’s brethren. May we learn from Pastor Niemoller and speak out now.