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Bush's plans to address Messianic Jewish group irks former aides
Former President George W. Bush plans to address a group committed to converting Jews to Christianity.
November 13th, 2013
05:34 PM ET

Bush's plans to address Messianic Jewish group irks former aides

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - Of course Tevi Troy has heard the hubbub.

He knows full well that his onetime boss, former President George W. Bush, plans to speak Thursday at a Dallas fundraiser for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute – a group dedicated to converting Jews to Christianity.

“I have yet to meet a Jewish person who hasn’t heard about this,” says Troy, who served as a Bush administration liaison to the Jewish community and was a former deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The topic of conversion can prompt a visceral reaction for Jews whose darker times have been marred by persecution, expulsion and forced conversions. Millions have died for and because of their faith.

“There’s good historical reason for the Jewish discomfort,” Troy says.

But before Troy, an Orthodox Jew, will tread into this controversy, he wants to discuss the Jewish value of hakarat hatov, or “recognizing the good.”

He says people should remember and appreciate that Bush was “a very good president to the Jewish people.”

He was a friend to Israel during the Second Intifada, Troy says. He was an outspoken opponent of anti-Semitism. And in the wake of the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl by al Qaeda in Pakistan in 2002, when Jews felt like targets, Troy says Bush took on terrorism.

That said, when it comes to Bush’s decision to speak at the annual banquet for this messianic group, one that believes Jews like this former aide need to be saved, Troy admits, “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.”

CNN tried to speak with five other former Bush administration liaisons to the Jewish community, but only two of those responded. Both suggested Troy could speak for them, too.

His words, though, are tempered. Others, such as Rabbi David Wolpe, who was dubbed America’s most influential rabbi by Newsweek in 2012, called Bush’s decision “infuriating.”

The Messianic Jewish Bible Institute is representative of a longstanding effort to convert Jews, one that dates back to Paul in the New Testament who said, in Romans 1:16, that the Gospel should be taken “to the Jew first.”

The institute's website features a menorah in its logo. Its chairman is listed as Rabbi Jonathan Bernis, a man who heads up another organization called Jewish Voice Ministries International, where an “Ask the Rabbi” feature includes an image of him wearing a yarmulke and Jewish prayer shawl.

CNN reached out to Bernis at Jewish Voice Ministries but was told by a spokeswoman that he was not allowed to comment on the upcoming fundraiser.

Then CNN asked where he had been ordained as a rabbi, and the spokeswoman hung up the phone.

We also called the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, which pulled down from its website any references to Bush’s upcoming appearance soon after Mother Jones broke the story. An institute spokeswoman said there would be no comment.

A source close to Bush, who didn't want to be named, confirmed to CNN on Wednesday afternoon that the former president still plans to speak at Thursday’s banquet, where tickets reportedly range in price from $100 to $100,000.

The source also said that Bush addresses all sorts of groups, secular and religious of varying stripes. Bush tells stories from the White House and speaks about his love for America, which includes a commitment to religious freedom and tolerance, according to the source.

Had Bush’s onetime liaison to the Jewish community still been working with the former president or been asked, Troy said he certainly would have advised against such an appearance.

Troy says the problem is most people don’t understand why talk of converting Jews stirs up such strong feelings in the Jewish community.

“It dates back to a time when forced conversion was a serious issue, when the church was imbued with the power of state,” he says.

Troy points to the Spanish Inquisition as an example, explaining how under duress and torture, Jews had to convert to Christianity or face expulsion from Spain in 1492. Those who stayed and exhibited any shred of Jewish observance were persecuted.

The Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, founded in the mid-1990s, includes in its mission the goal to "educate Christians in their role to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy and thus save some of them."

The institute's statement of faith also says that those who are born Jewish and "place their faith in Messiah Yeshua," Jesus, "have not disowned or separated themselves from their race and Judaic heritage, but remain sons and daughters of Israel."

Missionary outreach to Jews in America isn't new. It dates back to the 19th century. A Hungarian man who called himself a "rabbi" established a ministry in 1894 to target Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn, offering them assistance, education and New Testaments translated into Yiddish.

On the opposite coast in San Francisco in 1973, a Baptist minister - who was born Jewish - founded a proselytizing organization called Jews for Jesus. His small army has been knocking on doors and pounding the pavement ever since.

A less aggressive approach, preferred by others who might call themselves Messianic Jews or Hebrew Christians, has been the establishment of Messianic “synagogues” and organizations. They’re sponsored by Christians, and they incorporate Jewish symbols and modified Jewish rituals. They’re often led by leaders who call themselves rabbis, use Hebrew phrases and wear traditional Jewish accessories.

Critics cry false advertising, subterfuge and bemoan how such outfits, including the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, which built its base in the former Soviet Union, often target Jews who don’t know better – what Rob Eshman of the Jewish Journal in Los Angeles called, “the low-hanging fruit of Jewish identity.”

While Messianic Jews believe it’s possible to be Jewish while believing Jesus is the Messiah, others say this makes as much sense as a vegetarian who believes in scarfing down steak.

The historical concern may have been rooted in forced conversions, but Troy knows that's not an issue today.

In fact, the group Bush will address - and others like it - don’t really worry him. He’s more concerned about a recent Pew study that showed how a growing number of American Jews don’t identify with any faith, let alone their own.

About a third of American Jews born after 2000 answered “none” when asked about their religious affiliation, the survey showed.  Of everyone surveyed who was raised Jewish, according to the researchers, 6% now describe themselves as Christian - mostly as Catholics, Protestants or "just Christian."

Messianic Jews, Pew said, constitute a very small group. Meantime, though, the Pew survey also showed that 34% of those asked believe a person can be Jewish and believe Jesus was the messiah.

But the fundraiser in Dallas, even if it features the likes of a former U.S. president, isn’t what’s hurting American Jews, Troy says.

"Judaism," he says, "has other and bigger problems."

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: evangelicals • Judaism • Politics

soundoff (1,377 Responses)
  1. George Dubya

    This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating." –as quoted by the New York Daily News, April 23, 2002

    November 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Maddy

      Well, Cheney was the brains behind W's presidency, after all.

      November 14, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  2. George Dubya

    "Do you have blacks, too?" –to Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2001

    November 14, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  3. George Dubya

    "You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." –interview with CBS News' Katie Couric, Sept. 6, 2006

    November 14, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  4. George Dubya

    ""We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease." –Gothenburg, Sweden, June 14, 2001

    November 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  5. Randy

    It is amazing that people bring up things that happened elsewhere, long ago, as an excuse for "feeling" hurt. This is part of the victim-mentality we have fostered around the world. Even if you aren't personally a victim, you can say you are because of what happened in the past. The Messianic Jews are not forcing conversions, they aren't violent. Bush's beliefs are sincere and speaking to the Messianic Jews is consistent with his beliefs. Yet we decide this is a controversy and trot out the victims. Let's start seeing things as the are, not as they used to be. Let's be realistic about what things really affect us, what as the real wrongs of the world, and deal with those, not something made up.

    November 14, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  6. HS

    Disgusting. When will Christians learn that Jews are NEVER going to "become" Christians? Just STOP wasting your breath! It's insulting, it's a waste of time. Shame on Bush...but I guess he's showing his true colors.

    November 14, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • yoozyerbrain

      When will enough of humanity learn that all of this supersti tion is NONSENSE, including judaism? There is no room for these bronze-age supersti tions in a modern world, they only exist to divide and keep people in conflict. Which again, protects the phoney baloney jobs of the supersti tion as truth liars.

      Teach ethics, remove the supersti tious mumbo jumbo. Kids see right through that on a subconscious level leading to mis-trust of their closest loved ones. Why do you think most kids rebel against their parents? Cuz they know on some level that they can't trust their parents who have lied to them since birth on such a fundamental fallacy. They may not be able to enunciate this, so they act it out. Too bad.

      I always told the truth to my kids and let them grow up without the fundamental lie, so we still have loving trustful relationships now that they are successful well-adjusted adults who are productive contributing members of society..

      November 14, 2013 at 11:48 am |
      • Robert Brown

        Yoozyerbrain,

        Was this your experience? Either way, it is sad that you feel this way.

        November 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  7. lol??

    Obamascare, the new state religion. All get circ*umcised and their tonsils hacked off.

    November 14, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • midwest rail

      In your case, accomplished with one procedure.

      November 14, 2013 at 11:26 am |
      • yoozyerbrain

        ha ha ha right on!
        LOL hates the USA, he's one of the supersti tion-as-truth child abusers...

        November 14, 2013 at 11:36 am |
      • Maddy

        Ha! Excellent.

        November 14, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
      • lol??

        Well, wacked and hacked by a trull troll.
        "Maddy
        In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response ..."

        November 14, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Translation – lol?? hates getting doses of his own medicine.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  8. Giovanni

    I believe that there is a huge misunderstanding when it comes to understanding Messianic Judaism and the movement that follows it. The goal of being a Messianic Jew is not to go out and hammer Jewish people to believe in Jesus (or Yeshua as is his Hebrew name) as the crusades were or the Spanish inquisition which I can understand why people would get offended when those idea are brought up. Messianic Judaism is and being a Messianic Jew is about being able to able to believe the Bible (Torah, Old Testament and New testament also referred to as Brit Chadashah) with Jewish traditions and Jewish roots as it was originally intended to be. Believing in Yeshua is a very Jewish concept, As it was said in the Brit Chadashah, the purpose of Yeshua coming was not to start a new religion which is now called Christianity but rather to continue the Jewish religion hence the misquote from the article above 'Paul in the New Testament who said, in Romans 1:16, that the Gospel should be taken “to the Jew first.”' Paul was saying that at that time there were a lot of Gentile or non-jewish believers and he was making sure that they didn't live their Jewish brothers behind was reminding them that Yeshua did not come to start a new religion. The main point here is that the Messianic Jewish people are not 'targeting' Jews into making them believe in Yeshua. Yes, if questioned about their religion they will explain what they believe and will hope you understand but in no way will any decent Messianic Jew force their beliefs on a Jewish. They just want to be able to believe in Yeshua and keep Jewish roots and traditions. Ironically, Messsianic Jews fall under a lot of persecution from the Jewish community and even still some of the Christian community as well but still try and keep their faith strong. I know of Messianic congregations opening new buildings or moving to new places of worship and people waiting outside ready to hurt these people going into their congregation. On both ends of the scale that is not right regardless of what you believe. And as mentioned before the goal is not to target Jewish people quite the contrary most Messianic congregational members will not force their beliefs on a Jewish person. That is just not right from any religion.

    November 14, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • yoozyerbrain

      All these Abrahamic belief systems are about death, afterlife, armageddon, destruction, and disaster just so they can "bring on the second comeing", a nonsensical, brutal, fantasy. They want to destroy the earth because supersti tion has been taught as truth for so long. What a wasteful belief system. Harmful to the greatest country in the history of humanity- the SECULAR USofA.

      Read the history of cristy insanity and you'd be appalled that modern people subscribe to this anti-human being thought system. It's because of the fear that the purveyors of these lies engender, including the fear of knowledge, ie the knowledge that there is no need for a stupid god to explain natural phenomenons anymore. It's all about the corrupt purveyors of superst ition-as-truth protecting their phoney-baloney jobs. So Anti-American! Educate yourselves people, and stop persecuting your fellow man based on bronze age supersti tions! Heaven forbid...

      November 14, 2013 at 11:34 am |
      • AE

        Nope.

        November 14, 2013 at 11:42 am |
      • Live4Him

        @yoozyerbrain : stop persecuting your fellow man based on bronze age supersti tions! Heaven forbid...

        With this post, you've committed the following logic fallacies: Argumentum ad hominem, Argumentum ad nauseam, and Argumentum ad verecundiam. This is hardly representative of a person using reasoning skills.

        November 14, 2013 at 11:46 am |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Live4Him you teach that supersti tion to your kids? That's child abuse. Throwing Latin around doesn't establish your bona fides. I'm still waiting for supersti tionistas to prove their extraordinary claims with their extra ordinary proof. So far, nothing. Of course.

          Look Live4, I'm a history buff and just finished a nice volume detailing some of the time that includes the end of the Roman empire and beginning of Roman Catholicism. Disgusting! These supersti tions and especially the catholic one, are extensions of the Roman mindset, ie US vs THEM, anyone not US being heretic and therefore worthy only of death. Disgusting. I'd ask you to provide refutation but you can't, so why do you NOT read about where your belief system came from? Why do you NOT incorporate the political reality of the foundation of your superst ition into your thought processes? Why are you so afraid of objective scientific enquiry shedding light on the evils of supersti tion?

          Et semper res...

          November 14, 2013 at 11:56 am |
        • AE

          In my church we are taught when ever we draw a line and say "us" vs "them", Jesus is asking us to love "them".

          November 14, 2013 at 11:59 am |
        • yoozyerbrain

          how about 'them" are "us"? And since there is no jesus, who's making this statement? Your church is CONFIRMING the us v them reality with that self-serving prattle.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
        • AE

          Jesus exists and most of the people in my church are trying to follow Him. I understand you imagine something different, but the picture you have been trying to paint is wrong.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          AE said "jesus exists" to which I say "prove it"- extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof, so you must have that? Please show it and don't quote the bible.

          Santa Claus exists cuz I want him to.
          The 500ft pink potted palm at my feet exists because you can't prove it doesn't.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • AE

          If you honestly believe Santa Claus and The 500ft pink potted palm exist, go for it. I don't believe those things exist.

          I probably can't prove to you on a message board (ironically on a board devoted to religion) Jesus exists anymore than you can prove to me that He doesn't exist. If you honestly want to know Jesus I can try and help you.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          AE- I just have a hard time believing in mythical figures. History didn't start with the new testament. Mithra was born on Dec 25th of a virgin mother, died and was resurrected 3 days later, according to the mythology of another culture. All you've done is choose which cultural myths you decide are valid.

          There is no archaeological evidence for the existence of jesus. There are no third person accounts of his existence that are verifiable and contemporary with this non-person. First writings about him come later, with contradictory messages, and the coordinator, if you will, of all of this was the megalomaniacal lying murderer Saul/Paul. Consider the source.

          Then consider the history of the church and the Roman empire and look at the politically-driven nonsense they promulgated. It's all there for the reading. Remember the Donatists? Arians? No? That's cuz they were labelled heretics and MURDERED by the holy church. They were a POLITICAL threat.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • AE

          Nope. The Bible does not say Jesus was born on December 25th. That is an American tradition. Not all Christians observe Christ's birth on that day.

          And Mithra?

          He was born from a mountain and no birth date known. Noting about a virgin in his story.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/06/better-atheist-fact-checking.html

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithra

          November 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          my spiel about Mithra is incorrect, sorry... unfortunately I have to go and can't give the correction I'd like to give. The name was wrong but the specifics are correct...

          November 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Though I incorrectly identified Mithra, the ROMANS put jesus' bday on Dec 25th so christy insanity could be grafted over the extant greek holy day....either way, all supersti tion...

          http://voices.yahoo.com/the-ways-greek-mythology-christianity-similar-5450385.html Just an article on similarities not a comparitive study or anything...

          November 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • AE

          What day Christ's birthday is observed or what tradition in replaced in ancient Romans lives seems irrelevant when I take into consideration what Jesus Christ says and asks me to do.

          Peace and thanks for talking.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
      • Giovanni

        I would have to disagree their is no ultimate goal to intentionally destroy the earth by human causes for the end times in any of these religious scriptures. But just like any religion there are extremists who extract meanings from the writings they believe in and make it their own mission. For example, the Crusades were carried out 'in the name of Jesus' but if you were to read the scriptures that these extremists based their belief in from start to finish you would realize that in no way in these scriptures does it say to cause other people harm for your own agenda in fact it says quite the opposite. Starting as early as the Old Testaments 10 commandments it says:

        -You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

        – Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

        – You shall not murder.

        – You shall not commit adultery.

        – You shall not steal.

        – You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

        – You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

        So based on just these common principles found in any religion that gets its footing from the Bible any kind of extremist activity involving human destruction for personal gain or bringing 'the end time' is completely non religious by any means because it goes against all and any principles that faith is based on.

        November 14, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Sorry Giovanni, that's just crap. There is one rule, treat others as you'd have them treat you. The ridiculous supernatural stuff is ridiculous. Heck, the commandments EXPLICITLY state that there are gods other than the ridiculous yahweh/adad of Sumer, right? "have no other gods before me" is a statement of "one among many"....so many inconsistencies in supersti tion

          By the way, "Treat others as you'd have them treat you" is a two way street. Want to know how someone wants to be treated? They "treat others as they'd have them treat you" so when someone is abusive they are asking to be abused. Don't let them not bear the consequences of their actions. Maybe it will open their eyes to have abusiveness thrown back at them since then they may realize they don't want to be treated that way and will modify their behavior. Maybe anyway...

          November 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
        • Observer1

          yoozyerbrain
          You are not qualified to teach about the golden rule. Looking at the evidence (your words) suggests you need to study it.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • Giovanni

          @yoozyerbrain In reference to being multiple God's, the reason why that commandment was stated is because in that time in history there were other people obviously living around the Jewish people that were not Jewish that believed in other God's the commandment does not state that there is more than one it sates not to worship any others but Him because worshiping other Gods would be know as idolatry. Making a God out of something that is not God. Just of curiosity though, where do you think the idea of "Treat others as you'd have them treat you" came from? I would believe it to stem from biblical roots no? The Bible and the scrolls have been around way longer than the modern English language right? But I'm not saying to believe what I say, you seem like a very scholarly person and I challenge to read the Bible start to finish and compare what it states to what has happened in history. Your opinion is yours to have but I'm sure you agree research has to be done first?

          November 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Observer1 I am treating people like I want to be treated. I am speaking in absolutes because I am trying to re-frame the debate towards objectivism. I know it can be jarring but that's on purpose. I see "teaching-superti tion- as-fact" as child abuse and evil, and anti-American. It's a simple argument I am putting forth but yes I am using confrontational language in an attempt to re-frame the debate. Thanks for observing and commenting.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
        • AE

          "I see "teaching-superti tion- as-fact" as child abuse and evil, and anti-American."

          Intolerance toward religious freedom is anti-American. Spreading a lie that all religious people are child abusers in anti-American. Come on!

          November 14, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Giovanni- HISTORICALLY, the jews worshipped baal and el during their initial foray into canaan....why were they all of a sudden told not to? Because Abraham felt his phoney baloney job was threatened. That's not from the bible, by the way. That comes from reading both the ot and actual history/archaeology books. The ot and nt are fully discredited when one researches the NON supersti tious aspects of life at that time.

          As for the bible, I have read it and I just can't choose a single source and claim it's all knowing. Especially THAT inconsistent source. If there is a god that created my brain, that god would be incensed that I don't use said brain for thinking, creating, and discerning. The main message of superst ition is "you don't need to think about it, just attribute it to god and shut down your brain. We'll tell you what to think." So that's evil to me, especially when you account for all of the immorality in the bible, ie god said it was ok to go and kill the neighbors and take their wives for baby making. After all the neighbors' god's name is different so they must not be worthy of life. Evil.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
        • Giovanni

          @yoozyerbrain Im not sure what bible you have been reading but please tell me where 'ie god said it was ok to go and kill the neighbors and take their wives for baby making. After all the neighbors' god's name is different so they must not be worthy of life.' as I have never heard of that before. And as far as following 'Actual history' books, Id like to know where you are getting these facts from. But as I said before I'm not going to force you to believe what I believe and vice versa so if that's where you stand then that's totally acceptable I just thought I would put into perspective how I believe it was meant to be.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          AE let's try this- I want to come over and teach your kids Mithraism as the only true path to god. And I want to tell them that if they don't believe what i tell them god will torture them ETERNALLY, because he loves them. OK? See the problem here?

          As for religious freedom and America, the ENLIGHTENMENT Founding Fathers wrote extensively on the evils of religion. The NON Enlightenment Founding Fathers wouldn't pass the consti tution unless it included the 3/5ths Compromise. These are the Founding Fathers who thought of the US as a christ ian nation.. Cuz the bible sanctions slavery- if you want it to.

          So I ask you AE -Are you ENLIGHTENED or NON Enlightened? Wouldn't you have been a 3/5ths Compromiser if you'd been around back then?

          November 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Giovanni- I enlisted the aid of America's Best Christian to answer your question...Hosea 13:16 is a relevant passage. That's at about 30 seconds on the vid below

          [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cq3U09DeKpg&w=640&h=360]

          November 14, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
        • AE

          yoozyerbrain

          "AE let's try this- I want to come over and teach your kids Mithraism as the only true path to god. And I want to tell them that if they don't believe what i tell them god will torture them ETERNALLY, because he loves them. OK? See the problem here?"

          What are you talking about? Is that what you imagine all Christians teach about Jesus or something? You imagination is getting carried away...

          "So I ask you AE -Are you ENLIGHTENED or NON Enlightened? Wouldn't you have been a 3/5ths Compromiser if you'd been around back then?"

          I'm NON enlightened. My ancestors came to America to escape religious persecution – and chose to come here because they would be free to practice their religion.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          AE you mis understand. I'm not advocating supersti tionist persecution I'm advocating education and freedom from brainwashing. How about if we don't let kids into churches prior to the age of 18, or treat it like alcohol and make it illegal up to age 21? It shouldn't matter right? They'll still be supersti tionist won't they? Oh right, maybe they won't because their minds would be free to make the rational, instead of the fear-based, choice. That's all I'm saying. If you hadn't been taught from birth to close your mind to these arguments, you'd see too how pernicious is the influence of supersti tion and the those who purvey it.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          AE- and don't forget your puritan ancestors didn't leave europe just to escape persecution. They came here to make this place a puritan country, everyone believing as they did. Just like they tried to do in europe. You could say that the Europeans wanted them gone so that THEY, the Europeans, could have religious freedom. But there I go again, reading into human behavior my 50+ years of life experience. Darn this brain!

          I think there's a real problem when people proudly claim that they are NON enlightened because of their supersti tion. I feel a little sorry for you AE, although it wouldn't surprise me if we'd enjoy each others company if we met. We'd probably enjoy the repartee...

          November 14, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • AE

          use your brain,

          How do you imagine my choice to believe in God is not rational? How is it fear-based?

          I wasn't taught from birth to close my mind to those arguments.

          And I don't believe your opinion that my beliefs are supersti tious.

          I am educated. I am free. I am not brainwashed. And I follow Jesus Christ.

          You seem to be very arrogant and insist your opinions are facts. In my experience that is just not true.

          Thankfully I can look at the evidence and see many religious people that are successful well-adjusted adults who are productive contributing members of society.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @AE
          And I, for one, do not begrudge such people their gentle delusions.
          The man widely considered to be Canada's greatest Prime MInister routinely conferred with the spirits of dead family members, including that of his dog.
          He was nuts, but he was still a great PM.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • Giovanni

          You have misquoted Hosea 13:16, just as many people have misquoted it with mention to abortion. This chapter in Hosea is explaining that the Israelites had been worshiping false idols and that consequence from other nations would befall them . The scripture in its entirety is explained that the people of Samaria are to get captured and taken away if you study the scriptures and that scripture in particular is not to say that women will have babies torn out of the womb but rather symbolizes the fact that there will no longer be women giving birth in that land.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • AE

          Doc Vestibule

          Is this an example of one of your delusions? Or what?

          You Said:

          –Hope in the midst of tragedy comes not from gods, but from our own indomitable human spirit.

          In 1996, a box was uncovered in Washington, DC that contained 50 or so drawings made by ja/panese children who survived the Hiroshima bombing.
          None of the pictures reflected the horror that these children had endured less than two years earlier. Instead, they depict self portraits, a cityscape, festival flags and kites flying against a bright blue sky, children on a playground, cherry blossoms in bloom, city traffic on a bridge....

          The children had experienced first hand a level of devastation that had never been imagined, and yet they remained focused on beauty and joy, not pain and destruction.–

          What's Up Doc? said:

          –In 1996, a box was uncovered at the home of a parishioner of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington D.C. In that box were nearly 50 colorful drawings made by children as thanks for gifts received from the church fifty years earlier.

          http://www.hiroshimaschoolyard.com/about.html–

          – Why did you omit the part about the church?

          November 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Giovanni- I went looking but couldn't find it, I recently saw a line from the Tao that was equivalent to the golden rule but I have so many history books open at one time that I can't find the exact quote, sorry. The Tao predates the bible, but I can't say it's in there until I find it. I'll concede to you that point if you'd like.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @AE
          Becuase it isn't relevant.
          The children were not Christians (Ja/pan has very, very few Christians).
          The church was Unitarian – perhaps the only church of which you can be a member "without requiring adherence to any particular interpretation of religion or to any particular religious belief or creed."
          It is a Humanist church, not a God based one.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Ae
          What difference does it make that they were opened at a church...they were from ja panese children, who do not have gods per se...they have spirits of their ancestors, and their emporer is a living god ( at least the one at the time was)

          They do not believe in your christian god

          November 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Giovanni- single-source attribution that is open to interpretation isn't my thing.

          AE- I just can't agree that your choice to be supersti tious is not fear-based. I do agree that it's my OPINION, though, based on my life experiences.

          It's ok to have your delusions and for me to have mine. My problem really comes from the supersti tious majority trying to force their beliefs onto America as though we need sharia to keep us straight. And like I said earlier, I BELIEVE that supersti tion is harmful because it accepts non-rational explanations where rational answers are at-hand.

          Also, I use the word "supersti tious" instead of "religious" because I am trying to re-frame the debate towards objectivism. Religion has a different connotation than supersti tion, but they are at their core one and the same. Religion puts a facade on the supersti tion and insti tutionalizes it as reality. It's not. It's belief. It's supersti tion.So I fight the nomenclature battle to attempt to re-frame the debate. Nothing personal. I just believe the USA is the greatest thing to happen to humanity and don't want to see it compromised by paleolithic thought-models.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • AE

          use your brain

          "I just believe the USA is the greatest thing to happen to humanity and don't want to see it compromised by paleolithic thought-models."

          Talk about putting a facade on supersti tion and insti tutionalizing it as reality.

          Most of humanity would disagree that the USA it the greatest thing to happen.

          Ask all the people we have enslaved to produce our goods.

          Why do we consume way more than any other nation? Why do we produce, as a minority, the majority of the trash polluting this planet?

          Your opinions just are not reasonable or logical. And your blind patriotism seems dangerous.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
        • AE

          Richard Cranium

          It seems like an important aspect. The children drew the pictures as grat itude to gifts given to them. I think because a church was involved Doc left that fact out.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Yoozyerbrain,

          “I just believe the USA is the greatest thing to happen to humanity and don't want to see it compromised by paleolithic thought-models.”

          Earlier you said you were into history. I am glad you love your country. You may also want to read some American history. This country was established by believers.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @AE
          You understand that there are atheist Unitarians, right?
          That the "Church" is a gathering of humanists from all religions (and NO religion) that just want to do good.
          They do not pledge allegiance to any God – not Jahweh, Jesus, Krishna, Allah or any other supernatural enti/ty.
          They " promote the full participation of persons in all of its and their activities and in the full range of human endeavor without regard to race, color, s.ex, disability, affectional or se.xual orientation, age, or national origin and without requiring adherence to any particular interpretation of religion or to any particular religious belief or creed."
          THEY ARE NOT CHRISTIAN.
          That they call themselves a Church is not relevant to the story of the NON-CHRISTIAN children of Hiroshima who thanked a group of people who offerred them charity – charity given not in the name of Christ (or any other God), but rather as a demonstration of humanism.

          Can you name a Christian denomination that would welcome into its fold a openly gay, unrepentant atheist?

          November 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • AE

          Richard

          I attend Unitarians services and I'm very familiar with them. I have not met any atheists at a service though. I belong to ELCA, they would welcome an openly gay, unrepentant atheist. We start each service with repentance and confessing our sins (not loving others the way we should, leaving things undone, etc), but I guess they could just stand there and think about how great they are or something.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • AE

          Sorry, that was for Doc ^^^

          November 14, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Richard
          The ELCA accepts the following creeds as true declarations of the faith of this church:
          The Apostles' Creed
          The Nicene Creed
          The Athanasian Creed
          The Bible is the norm for faith and life - the true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.

          In other words, you must accept Christ as your saviour to be a Lutheran.
          You must be Baptized in order to be a practicing Lutheran.
          You cannot be an atheist Lutheran, but you can be an atheist Unitarian.

          November 14, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @AE
          I did the same thing!
          Poor Richard.

          November 14, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • AE

          Doc Vestibule
          I don't recall having to declare anything to join my church. I don't know why an atheist would want to join, unless they think it would be a good venue to help the poor and provide aid to those that need it. And our church welcomes atheists to use our facilities (12 Step programs, neighborhood groups)

          November 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  9. robertholt

    George bush is planning to speak to a group of Jews who have accepted the Messiah (Jesus) as their Savior. Well heck, what about a group of former Buddhists who have accepted Jesus as their Savior? What about a group of former Muslims who have accepted Jesus as their Savior? What about a group of former Hindus who have accepted Jesus as their Savior? It’s always a good idea for anyone, no matter who they are or what they are, to come to Christ. I commend George Bush for speaking to this group.

    November 14, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Cal

      Probably because the God that Bush worships chose the Jews as His chosen people over all the others you mentioned.

      November 14, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I'm pretty sure George W. Bush would be happy to accept invitations to speak at $100 – $100,000 per plate dinners from whatever Jesus followers who care to invite him.

      November 14, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • yoozyerbrain

        Me too! Pay me enough and I'll go out and tell fantasy stories to any adult group. I won't go out and lie to kids though, that's child abuse...happens in churches all over the world every friday, saturday and sunday, though..

        November 14, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  10. M Sisson

    It's unfortunate the reporter's bias is obvious from the second sentence. It's categorically false to call MJBI, "...a group dedicated to converting Jews to Christianity." MJBI would agree that placing one's faith in Yeshua (Jesus) and Judaism are NOT mutually exclusive. They would encourage Torah observant Jews who believe in Yeshua to REMAIN Torah observant Jews. Moreover, Jews seek the Messiah. There is nothing more Jewish than to believe an Orthodox Jewish carpenter from the Galilee (Jesus) IS the Messiah.

    November 14, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  11. Brainwashed christians

    An evening with a d0uche bag

    November 14, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Brainwashed atheists

      Ya!

      November 14, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  12. Steve

    Funny idea to create a religious group whose only purpose is to pester another religious group. Choosing Bush as a guest speaker is only logical for such a venture I guess.

    November 14, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  13. TERESA VOEGELE

    So is it OK to be an athiest and still be Jewish?
    How come it is OK to not believe in the G-d of Israel, and still be Jewish, but if you are Jewish and believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah that you are no longer Jewish?

    November 14, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If your mother is Jewish, then so are you.
      Period.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • Brainwashed christians

        Wrong Doc.... you don't inherit your parents religion.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:50 am |
        • Michael Girouard

          It's an ethnic distinction. Jews trace their ancestry, not their religion, through the mother's side, since motherhood is demonstrable,

          November 14, 2013 at 10:52 am |
        • Brainwashed christians

          Really? so if my mother converted from christanity to Judaism im not really a jew?...... please..

          November 14, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Michael Girouard

      Lots of Jews are atheists, including Vladimir Lenin, for one.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:49 am |
      • Brainwashed christians

        You can't be a jew AND an atheist since jews believe in a god and atheists don't.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:54 am |
        • Here

          Judaism shares some of the characteristics of a nation, an ethnicity, a religion, and a culture, making the definition of who is a Jew vary slightly depending on whether a religious or national approach to ident.ity is used.

          Generally, in modern secular usage Jews include three groups:

          –people who were born to a Jewish family regardless of whether or not they follow the religion,

          –those who have some Jewish ancestral background or lineage (sometimes including those who do not have strictly matrilineal descent),

          –and people without any Jewish ancestral background or lineage who have formally converted to Judaism and therefore are followers of the religion.

          (it can be like saying someone is Albanian or Egyptian or Turkish or Chinese – it's just that those cultures don't happen to call their ancient religions by the same name as their culture)

          November 14, 2013 at 11:57 am |
        • Michael Girouard

          Why are you defining what it means to be a Jew?

          November 14, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • Richard

        Lenin was never Jewish, but Trotsky was Jewish. I believe that President Bush is making a mistake in addressing a Messianic organization, but it is his choice. We all make mistakes.

        November 14, 2013 at 11:43 am |
        • Brainwashed christians

          Yea, and bushy has sure made his share! LOL.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Brainwashed christians

      "Judaism is a monotheistic religion, with its foundational text, the Torah (also known as the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible), and supplemental oral tradition represented by later texts such as the Mishnah and the Talmud. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenantal relationship God established with the Children of Israel"

      November 14, 2013 at 10:52 am |
      • M Sisson

        Which is why the New Testament so clearly states Jews who came to faith in Jesus (Yeshua) REMAINED Torah observant Jews....

        Acts 21:20 "When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: "You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the Torah.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:57 am |
      • lol??

        "................be the expression of the covenantal relationship...................."

        Well somebody missed something somewhere.

        "Jer 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:"

        November 14, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • lol??

      Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circu*mcision, which is outward in the flesh:
      *
      Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circu*mcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

      The Nation of Israel is not Jewish

      November 14, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  14. hannah1

    This Southern bigot has no business addressing Jews with the purpose of "converting" them. Leave them alone. They were around long before "Christianity" and seem to be doing just fine without "W". What a jerk.

    November 14, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  15. Lynne Buchanan

    Many Christians believe in the mandate of their Apostle to take the gospel of Jesus to the Jews first. The Jewish community is strong and should not feel any threat because a famous person is speaking at a Messianic organization. While I don't particularly like the idea of trying to convert others from their religion, many Christians believe the conversion of "Israelites" to Christianity hastens the return of the Messiah/Jesus. Today, people are quick to find fault with those who follow their conscience when following their conscience happens to conflict with someone else's POV. Rabbi Singer has spent a lifetime trying to convince young Jews not to be swayed by Christian proselytizing. TAs he admonishes, the Jewish Community needs to ramp up their efforts to keep young Jews in the faith.

    November 14, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  16. Joseph smith is god

    Jews should accept Mormonism instead of the pagan evangelism...
    Requirements:

    1 accept The Lord
    2 give us a statement from you accountant saying how much you make a year

    November 14, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      You missed a step
      3) Give us 10% of your net worth.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:39 am |
      • Joseph smith is god

        You see the difference between us is that we charge more, and evangelicals only %10... Not a good amount for now a days!

        November 14, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  17. Doc Vestibule

    Jews are one book short on their Bible.
    The Mormons have one too many.
    Christianity is the porridge that Goldilock chose!

    November 14, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Yes, it is just right.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:34 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        And both the Bible and Goldilocks teaches us that naughty children will get mauled by bears.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:36 am |
        • Robert Brown

          They had obviouly reached the age of accountability. Probably 20 something year old punks.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • sam stone

          as opposed to snivelling sycophants of any are, robert?

          November 14, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • JesusSuperHero

      Interesting that you compare religion to children stories.

      Religions come and go, in a large time scale.

      1000 years ago there were people still believing that Zeus created lightning.

      As for Christianity, Judaism, and Islam... well ... this too, will pass.
      In the end, the difference between Zeus creating lightening and Yahweh (or Elohimm), making lightening is very small.
      Or the belief in Superman ...
      A belief in magic is a belief in magic.

      According to historical record, Monotheism and the idea of God was invented by humans 4 thousand years ago.

      Before that, did multiple gods rule the universe? Did one defeat the others?

      November 14, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  18. dutch shults

    All religion is the most destructive creation in the history of humanity...its sickening.

    November 14, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Robert Brown

      There is corruption in some organized religion. Those who have been reconciled to God by his grace obtain peace, hope, and joy for themselves and exhibit the fruits of the spirit to others.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:33 am |
      • Richard Cranium

        Robert
        If there are people involved, it is corrupted.
        All organized religions are corrupt.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:45 am |
        • Robert Brown

          Richard Cranium,

          Can be, Richard, I don’t believe all people or religions are corrupted. There are people called by his name. I know of churches where the people are in unity.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:04 am |
      • hannah1

        SOME???????

        November 14, 2013 at 10:46 am |
        • Robert Brown

          Yes Hannah.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:05 am |
      • sam stone

        reconciled to god?

        they do not exhibit "fruits of the spirit", they exhibit pompous certainty

        November 14, 2013 at 10:52 am |
        • Robert Brown

          sam stone,
          Reconciled, saved by grace through faith.

          Galatians 5

          22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

          23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

          24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

          25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:06 am |
        • sam stone

          thanks for illustrating my point so well, robert

          your quotes are only valid to those who accept the authority of the source

          November 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • Science Works

        Corruption is here too RB !

        The Child-Ra-pe Assembly Line | VICE United States

        by Christopher Ketcham posted on November 14, 2013 01:45PM GMT

        IN RITUAL BATHHOUSES OF THE JEWISH ORTHODOXY, CHILDREN ARE SYSTEMATICALLY ABUSED

        http://www.vice.com/read/the-child-ra-pe-assembly-line-0000141-v20n11

        November 14, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Ever heard of a Taoist holy war?

      November 14, 2013 at 10:43 am |
      • Robert Brown

        Doc Vestibule,
        No

        November 14, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        But nevertheless Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" is Taoism applied to military strategy.

        November 14, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  19. Joseph smith is god

    Jew should accept Mormonism instead of the pagan evangelism...
    Requirements:

    1 accept The Lord
    2 give us a statement from you accountant saying how much you make a year

    November 14, 2013 at 10:22 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.