Before reading the New Testament for the first time at the age of 18, I didn’t know Jesus was Jewish. Thing is, I grew up Jewish myself. I didn’t know anything about Christianity, except for Christmas carols. What’s this guy’s excuse? From the Jerusalem Post:
A local Italian politician said that he felt offended because a Holocaust survivor and senator for life noted that Jesus was Jewish, Italian media reported on Friday.
Fabio Tuiach, a member of the municipal council of Trieste, made the comment ahead of a council vote on a motion proposing to award Auschwitz survivor Liliana Segre the city’s honorary citizenship.
“As a devout Catholic, I was confused and also a little offended by the fact that she said that Jesus was Jewish,” he then said, slightly mumbling as he added that “he was the son of God, he was God for me; therefore I will abstain.”
In the end, after his fellow members of the council had laughed at him for his cluelessness, he voted for the motion, which passed unanimously.
Many of the commenters on the article, noting that Tuiach is a professional boxer (former Italian heavyweight champion), made the obvious joke that he’d been hit in the head too many times. But that’s not what’s going on here. Tuiach describes himself as a “devout Catholic,” of which Italy has fewer and fewer these days. So how in the name of Rabbi Hillel did he get through Confirmation class? Does he even listen to the Scripture lessons during Mass?
This is just one bone-headed politician saying something stupid, but we all know that he represents countless Christians who are similarly unaware of Jesus’ Jewishness. I’ve been unable to find any data on this subject–as opposed, say, the number of evangelicals who think the Bible says “God helps those who help themselves” (81%)–but if a significant percentage of American Christians can’t name any of the Gospels, or don’t know what the first book of the Bible is, it’s a sure bet that they have no idea that Jesus isn’t the Aryan youth portrayed by Salvador Dali (see above image).
And that of course leads to the $64,000 Question: if Christians don’t know something as basic as the fact that Jesus was Jewish, what else don’t they know? And the follow-up: what sort of ignorant nonsense is the basis for their actions? Not to mention the natural companion question: what is the church going to do about rectifying this entirely avoidable ignorance?