Meet Dr Jim West, Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at the Quartz Hill School of Theology and Pastor of Petros Baptist Church, Petros, Tennessee:
Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 will be hosted by Bethlehem Bible College. Raed Salah supporters Stephen Sizer and Ben White are due to speak there. Sizer is listed as an organiser.
Bethlehem Bible College has a worrying track record on antisemitism. They sent lecturer Alex Awad to represent the college, and share a platform with Hitler-admirer and Holocaust denier Frederick Tobin in Indonesia. Stephen Sizer also attended this conference in Indonesia, as did Iranian Holocaust denier and Faurisson admirer Jawad Shabarf.
Here is what CATC tweeted recently:
Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 also issues a request for its supporters to follow Dr West on Twitter.
Dr West’s blog post accuses Christian Zionists of being heretics. Dr West has previously written that Jews and Christian Zionists are co-conspiring to produce “the sickest sorts of behaviors” in Israel.On Israel selling arms to Argentina during the Falklands, he wrote:
If hatred of Jews is antisemitism, Jewish hatred of Brits must be antibriticism. I wonder how many antibritites there are in Israel. [...] It’s high time for Jews the world over to denounce antibriticism. That sort of ethnic hatred is intolerable in today’s world. It has no place here among the decent.
You can see already, why Christ at the Checkpoint organisers are interested in his writings. But there’s more. Here is Dr West on Martin Luther. Whilst he appears to denounce the work in his first paragraph, West then reveals his hand:
Luther didn’t hate the Jews- even when he wrote his tirade. He hated falsehood. And he hated falsehood whether it was found in Rome or Wittenberg. Those poorly informed historical ignoramuses who repeatedly denounce Luther as an anti-semite are simply wrong. They know nothing of Luther nor anything of the history of the Church. All they know is their own biases and prejudices.
Here are some excerpts from Luther’s tirade against the Jews, On the Jews and their Lies:
Did I not tell you earlier that a Jew is such a noble, precious jewel that God and all the angels dance when he farts?
I shall give you my sincere advice:
First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. [...] Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God. [...] I advise that safeconduct on the highways be abolished completely for them. [...]
I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3[:19]}. For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.
My essay, I hope, will furnish a Christian (who in any case has no desire to become a Jew) with enough material not only to defend himself against the blind, venomous Jews, but also to become the foe of the Jews’ malice, lying, and cursing, and to understand not only that their belief is false but that they are surely possessed by all devils.
Here is Jim West on the theologian Kittel: Gerhard Kittel: Was He The Nazi Devil So Many Presume?
Let’s be fair for a moment. Kittel was a jerk. A completely disgusting human being. Wagner was a jerk too who ran out on his creditors and lived like a vagabond beggar. Does that mean his music has no value? Are people’s works so intricately connected with their personalities that we can’t value their good contributions while damning their bad? Are we really willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater?
This strikes me as odd – Kittel is politically well-known for joining the Nazis, and well-known theologically for his racialist antisemitism. Outside the Nazi party, Kittel’s theological writings mostly focused on the evil of the Jews. Alan Steinweiss observes in Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany [pp.69-70]:
“Kittel was innovative in anchoring theological and religious differences in the divergent racial developments of Jewish non-Germans. [...] As a rhetorical device, Kittel suggested four possible approaches for dealing with the Jews: extermination, Zionism, assimilation, and guest status. Kittel dismissed the option of extermination on practical rather than moral grounds. [...] Kittel contributed his lecture and booklet on “The Jewish Question” at a time when the exclusion of Jews from German professions was not merely the subject of theological discussion, but a work in progress. In later years, the Nazi regime implemented similar purges in the fields of medicine and law, both of which, in Kittel’s characterisation, had been “over-flooded” with greedy, unscrupulous Jewish practicioners.”
James Lehman, providing an overview of Theologians Under Hitler for theNorthwest Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Ethnocide Education writes:
Gerhard Kittel came from a very prestigious and scholarly family. Prior to the war, Kittel was a professor of New Testament theology and a leading scholar in the field of Judaism and its relation to early Christianity. It was this relationship with Judaism that led Kittel to become the theological expert on the “Jewish Question.” Kittel joined the Nazi party in 1933 with the hopes that a religiously based anti-Jewish policy would prevail over radical and vulgar racism.After the end of the war, Kittel claimed that he was innocent, that he began disagreeing with and denouncing the Nazi party and Hitler at the onset of the war. However, there is no evidence of any criticism from Kittel. He did not even stand up for the Church when the Nazi party condemned the churches; rather, he demanded that the church must respond to the historical hour of the German people. In fact, Kittel’s scholarship made the extermination of the Jews theologically respectable.
How then, is there anything we can gain from Kittel’s theological scholarship – outside of his membership of the Nazi party – given that Kittel’s theology was largely driven by his antisemitism?
More pertinently, why is Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 delving into the sewers of Jim West’s blog – just to find some affirmation for their anti-Israel theology conference?
At the previous Checkpoint conference in 2010, speakers suggested that Jews had no Jewish blood, that jihadists have “every right” to attack people in other countries, and that it must look to Muslims, as if Jews were behaving like they did in Mohammed’s day, “repeating the hostile behaviour of Jews many centuries earlier towards the Prophet.”
However, the Checkpoint 2012 organisers appear to feel that, if they invite speakers like Richard Harvey to the conference, then they don’t have to deal with questions over antisemitism: