Why Jews Don't Like Evangelicals


The most popular religious group in America is the Jews. Jews, however, do not particularly care for their Evangelical admirers.


That is the conclusion of a massive survey published this summer by the Pew Research Center. The study asked Americans of every race, religion and political persuasion how they felt about a variety of religious groups. Of all the different groups, Jews ranked highest (63 degrees on the warm survey meter)and second were Catholics (62). Muslims finished dead last (a cold 40).


Of the people who like the Jews, Evangelicals warm the most to the tribe (a hot 69). Those warm fuzzy feelings, however, are not mutual. American Jews scored white Anglo-Saxon Evangelicals a frigid 34 degrees. Only atheists disliked the Evangelicals more than the Jews (29)!


These chilly Jewish attitudes towards Evangelicals should be a wake up call for those trying so hard to win the Jews over with Christian love and support.


So what's wrong with Evangelical Christians anyway?


To begin with Jews don't like to be evangelized, and Evangelicals are, well, Evangelical. Jews do not like missionaries either, especially when Christians try to tell them that their 4000- year-old Jewish religion is outdated. As the People of the Book who gave birth to Christianity, many Jews feel disrespected when Christians try to convert them without any sensitivity to their Jewish traditions.


Modern Jews in general don't like being told how to live (who does?) and feel uneasy with excessive Evangelical proselytizing. In spite of all the good will and support Evangelical Christians shower on Israel (and even that is waning), Jews remain suspicious.


Liberal Conservatives


Truth be told the majority of Jewish people do not hold many of the Comics same values so important to Evangelical Christians. Take homosexuality for example. Tel-Aviv, Israel's largest city and home to the largest population of Jewish people in the world had become one of the most popular destinations for same-sexuals in the world.


Evangelicals like to take a strong stand against divorce (though in practice they are divorcing almost as frequently as other religious groups). Jews and Judaism are much more lenient allowing divorce and remarriage without the religious and social restrictions common to Evangelicals.


Adultery, prostitution and premarital sex are other examples of how the majority of Jewish people tend to be more liberal than Evangelicals. For better or for worse, many Jews feel threatened by strict Christian Evangelical moral requirements.


Conservative Liberals


One might assume that the strong support by Evangelicals towards Israel (that is waning as well) would impress Jews. But that is not always the case. Under Republican George Bush's administration there were 13 Jewish Senators and 27 Jewish Representatives. All of them were Democrats except for Joe Liberman (Independent Ct.), Bernard Sanders (Independent Vt.) and Eric Cantor (R-Va.). The current Congress has exactly the same number of Jewish Congressmen except for Joe Liberman who is no longer in Congress.


So while some American Jews are turning to the Republican party which is strongly favored by Evangelicals, the overwhelming base of Jewish involvement in politics remains with the more liberal Democrats.


So Why Don't Jews Like Evangelicals?


The most common argument is that Jewish people prefer a liberal agenda where the rights of minorities are protected. Many Jews still fear conservative Christian politics that could lead to Jewish and other minorities being excluded or even persecuted by a strong White Anglo-Saxon Protestant majority -- a phenomenon that occurred not that long ago in Europe.


The strict adherence by Evangelicals to standardized theological doctrines also tends to intimidate Jews who have experienced Inquisition, Crusades and Pogroms because of dogmatic Christian beliefs.


Messianic Fears


In some quarters Evangelical support for Messianic Jews contributes to

Messianic Jewish Worship
Beit Immanuel Congregation

the negative views Jews hold towards Evangelicals. While the return of a growing number of Jewish people to faith in Jesus the Messiah is challenging traditional Jewish beliefs, Evangelical support for Messianics is only a minor factor in determining negative Jewish attitudes towards Evangelicals. Some Evangelical groups try to avoid Messianics hoping to build closer relationships with Jews, but according to this important Pew survey, they are still being left out in the cold.


There is a lot of concern among local Christians that Evangelicals are turning against Israel and that is disturbing on many levels. But the fact that Jews do not like Evangelicals is even more critical for the preaching of the Gospel.


That is why it is so important that all of us continue to work together to help show our people that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah for the Jewish people. Thank you for partnering with us to reach our people with the Good News that Jesus came "to the Jew first and also to the Gentile." 

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