4/29/2008

Bible Thumping

Several groups, spearheaded by the Yad L’Achim counter-missionary group, are trying to disqualify an 11th grade girl from the International Bible Quiz (Chidon TaNaCh) because, though Jewish by birth, she belongs to a Messianic congregation (link, link).

I really don’t see the issue. Let a Christian or Moslem or Buddhist or whomever win. Besides, this sets a dangerous precedent; next year they might decide to disqualify Chabadniks.

I guess if I ran a counter-missionary organization I’d want to make a stink about it also. After all, alarmism is a great fundraiser. When you’ve got a hammer, the whole world becomes your nail. Yes, indeed. They will have you believe that millions of impressionable Jewish kids who have nothing better to do with a day off than watch an event with all the drama of a spelling bee (OK, I admit. I cried like a baby at the end of Akeelah) will be amazed at this (probably very nerdy, if experience is a good indicator) girl’s mastery of the Jewish Bible (she’d clean up the New Testament competition) and suddenly develop an interest in Christianity.

For me, the most disturbing element is that the quiz is only open to Jews in the first place. Is that just to get Jewish Agency funding? I don’t get it. Let ‘em all join. I think it’s impressive that this girl knows TaNach so well – I’ve met missionary Messianic Jews (or so they claimed) and they didn’t know much Bible beyond Isaiah 53 and Jeremiah 31:31 (in fact, I once replied to a missionary who asked me – while I was working on building the College Park eruv – whether I was familiar with Jer 31:31 by saying, “Yes. Are you familiar with 31:30 or 31:32?”. Needless to say, he was not). So let her compete. What are we really so afraid of, for chrissake?
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