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On The Charlie Ward Controversy

The recent controversy created by the reaction in the media and elsewhere regarding Charlie Ward's comments regarding Jews and Jesus is just the latest example of how many people who claim to believe in God and practice a faith are woefully ignorant of the scriptures that under gird their belief system, and how, because of that, individuals who claim Muhammad, Moses and Jesus, in particular, are made to succumb to the pressures of political correctness - even to the point of denying their faith. In addition, there are others who claim to believe and who do know the scriptures and in the midst of a political or cultural controversy outright deny the Word of God in order to "get along".

The reaction of Christians throughout this affair has been revealing as we saw or heard, on radio and television, Christian priest, after Christian pastor, after Christian layperson, denounce Charlie Ward's reported remarks. The most striking aspect to the reaction, in our opinion, was how, almost unanimously, every Christian that we witnessed repudiating Charlie Ward did not do so with any type of reference to the contents of the Bible. Their only reason for rejecting Charlie Ward's remarks that the Jews persecuted Jesus and had his blood on their hands was so that they could avoid the emotional and vocal protests of members of the Jewish community, and others who are like-minded or whom that community had already persuaded. Others, who are not even Catholic, decided that the best approach to handle the situation would be to hide behind a statement that the Pope and Catholic Church had long ago rejected the idea that the "Jews killed Jesus".

But in no case did we witness a Christian who claims to believe in God demonstrate the basis of their difference of opinion with Ward with the Book that they claim is infallible and directly or indirectly from God. This of course was interesting because, after all, isn't all of this stemming from Charlie Ward's interpretation of scripture? We thought so. And in that light we at least expected Ward's believing Brothers and Sisters to come to Ward's defense or articulate where in the New Testament his perspective was wrong. We got nothing of the sort. Even the Bible-thumping Christian Conservatives were made to bite their tongue in reference to Ward - even a few who themselves have said the exact same thing as Ward, for years.

Of all of the groups who could have possibly defended Ward's rationale it was so interesting for us to see that some of Ward's most vocal defenders were Jewish Rabbis who stated in numerous forums that Ward's comments were logical and reasonable based upon the New Testament. We saw one such Rabbi on the Imus In The Morning program, a few days after the affair, actually explain that he understood how Charlie Ward could say the things that he did in light of what is written in the New Testament. He did not say that Ward was right or wrong but he indicated that Ward's comments were reasonable, in light of what scripture says.

And that is where our interest was - in whether or not Ward's comments were reasonable in light of what the scriptures say about the plot to murder Jesus. We could only determine whether Ward's comments were reasonable or not by what the scriptures say about who wanted Jesus dead, who the planners were in his death and who felt they benefited from his death. Or basic questions that investigators look for in any death plot: 1) Who had the motive, 2) who had the means, 3) who had the power to cover it up 4) who benefited?

Many scholars and theologians have attempted to answer this question from an intense study of the scriptures and many have formed their own opinions. To get an idea of how serious such efforts have been, consider that there is a book, The Death of The Messiah, written by Raymond Brown which spends well over 1,000 pages, just examining the Gospels in reference to the last week of Jesus' life, among his disciples on earth. The question of who "killed" Jesus is covered in great detail in the two-volume set.

Are Charlie Ward's comments anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish and inconsistent with the Gospels and New Testament? That should be the true test, in our opinion. So we decided to review some Biblical passages in reference to all of this. We ask that you read the verses carefully. Here is some of what we found:

King James Version Matthew 26 1-5

And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, 2Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. 3Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him. 5But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.

King James Version John 7:1

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. 3His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. 4For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. 5For neither did his brethren believe in him. 6Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. 7The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. 8Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. 9When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee. 10But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. 11Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? 12And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. 13Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.

King James Version John 18: 1-14

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. 2And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. 3Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. 7Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. 8Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: 9That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none. 10Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. 11Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? 12Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, 13And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. 14Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

{Bold emphasis is ours}

While only a few verses, is it not reasonable for the reader of these verses to think that Jesus' life was sought by the Jews and that Jews were involved in the process of arrest that leads to crucifixion? If it is not reasonable then who were the "chief priests", "scribes" and "Caiphas"? What was there religious persuasion? Indeed, others like Jesus' own disciple Judas and the Romans were involved but is it so illogical to implement the Jews in the conspiracy to kill Jesus in light of what was written in the Gospels? Is it an exercise in hate for one to think like this?

More than a few Rabbis seem to think that such a conclusion, as Charlie Ward came to, is logical in light of the Biblical account.

The fact that more Christians who know the Bible in side out did not state the same thing and how few Believing Christians offered the same defense of Charlie Ward was maybe the most revealing thing of all.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said of Charlie Ward: "He will have to accept the reactions and judgments of fans and all fair-minded people who have been offended."

But we ask how can anyone be fair-minded about Charlie Ward's remarks if they are ignorant of what the Bible says of the relationship between Jesus and the Jews or if such individuals, even Christians, are afraid to include the Gospels in an evaluation of Ward's remarks?

And finally, what does it say about the world of religion when a person can be considered anti-Jewish for comments that come right out of scripture. We have witnessed numerous Christians, Jews and Muslims receive all type of criticism and condemnation for quoting verses tight out of the Torah, Gospel and Holy Qur'an. Why hasn't it come to the attention of the media that perhaps it is not Charlie Ward or numerous others that many believe are anti-Semitic. It appears that it is the Torah, Gospels and Holy Qur'an that many people believe are anti-Jewish literature.

Perhaps it is not Charlie Ward and others so accused of anti-Semitism, but actually Jehovah, God the Father and Allah whom these individuals really have a problem with.

Maybe someone should begin to ask that question...

Cedric Muhammad

Sunday, May 6, 2001

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