LOS ANGELES (Aug. 2)
Rev. Robert L. Hymers, the head of the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles who has been instrumental in leading the anti-Semitic-tinged protests surrounding Universal Pictures’ “The Last Temptation of Christ,” has been running an active outreach conversion program targeting Jews, while also maintaining close links with Jews for Jesus.
In the July 29 issue of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, reporter Leo Noonan, who interviewed Hymers at length, writes that the Baptist clergyman was married six years ago by Moshe Rosen, leader of Jews for Jesus, an organization Hymers admitted supporting financially.
Hymers gained sudden national prominence when he staged an updated Passion Play July 20 outside the home of Lew Wasserman, chairman of MCA, which owns Universal, charging him with responsibility for financing “Last Temptation.”
During the street demonstration, Hymers proclaimed that “these Jewish producers with a lot of money are taking a swipe at our religion,” while a dozen followers carried signs reading “Wasserman Fans Anti-Semitism” and “Wasserman Endangers Israel.”
Rabbi Ben Zion Kravits, executive director of Jews for Judaism who has collected news reports on the 47-year-old clergyman over the years, said that Hymers used to hand out missionary fliers to Jewish UCLA students.
Kravits said that Hymers’ support of Jews for Jesus has been detailed in a book on cults by Ronald Enroth of Westmont College, a small Christian institution.
Hymers and the Rev. Jerry Falwell, along with some other evangelicals and fundamentalists, maintain that the film — which none of them has seen — blasphemes Jesus, by portraying him as an indecisive man who has sex with Mary Magdalene in a dream sequence.