NEW YORK (Jul. 18)
Rev. Brian Stiller, executive director of the Evengelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), disassociated the evangelicals of Canada from the anti-Semitic classroom preachings of former Eckville, Alberta public school teacher and former mayor James Keegstra, and condemned Keegstra’s equation that Jews are evil and involved in a worldwide conspiracy.
“His theory that a worldwide plan has been designed by Jews is false,” Stiller declared in a statement issued in Willowdale, Ontario and released to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “For sure there is a conspiracy. However, it’s not the Jews who are its source but rather demonic-Satanic. And whether he knows it or not, Keegstra has been lured into its trap by linking the Jewish people with evil.”
Keegstra, suspended by the Alberta school authorities after parents complained that their children were being indoctrinated with anti-Semitic propaganda, was charged with wilfully promoting hatred against Jews in his classroom.
TEACHING ‘BLATANT EVIL’
“Personally I’m embarrassed that Keegstra associates his views with the Christian church,” commented Stiller. “It’s nothing but blatant evil he teaches. What makes it so difficult is that he mixes his distorted views with Christian views and beliefs. And sorting those out is like picking wild oats out of a field of standing wheat.”
Before his discharge in December, 1982 from the school district of Eckville, a town with no Jews, Keegstra was teaching that six million Jews were not killed in World War II; Jesus Christ was not a Jew; Zionism is a plot to brainwash Christians; and that inflation, wars, and revolutions are caused by Jewish-controlled banks, lawyers, and universities. Keegstra was quoted as saying, “We’re tired of listening to this Holocaust. It is totally impossible for six million Jews to die in concentration camps.”
In response to Keegstra’s anti-Semitic stance, Stiller said, “Let the record show that evangelical Christians who believe in Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ, are saddened when they witness a person speaking in words and phrases which sound Christian but come from a worldview of hate.”
In an article scheduled for publication in Faith Alive, a Canadian bi-monthly evangelical magazine, Stiller states that by appealing to the Bible, Keegstra tries to legitimize a lie.
‘A LIE’ CLOAKED WITH RELIGIOUS PHRASES
“Keegstra’s interpretation that our world is trapped by a worldwide Jewish conspiracy is a lie he cloaks with religious phrases,” Stiller remarks. “For some, his interpretation of history resonates with their own conscious or unconscious racism.”
Stiller also regards Keegstra’s view, that the Jewish race was judged guilty because they did not collectively accept Jesus of Nazareth as their messiah as nonsense. As for Jews being involved with the death of Jesus Christ, Stiller stresses that it was the sins of the people of the world which caused Christ’s death, not the Jews.
Keegstra, who went on trial in Red Deer, Alberta, early last month following a lengthy preliminary hearing, submitted over 30 books and articles from which he claimed to have formed his opinions. This includes the view that the Talmud was the source of hatred, vengeance and materialism today, and was a medium through which Jews were enjoined to exterminate Christians. Stiller noted that the views expressed during the trial “do not represent the feelings and views of evangelicals in Canada. God chose that Jesus Christ be born of the Jews. That is a historical fact and for that we as evangelicals are grateful.”
“As Christians,” Stiller added, “we wish Jews everywhere to know of our respect as together we worship the God of the Scriptures and together are members of this human family. I am anguished as an evangelical Christian and wish to assure the Jewish community of our mutual concern.”