Southern Baptists: Give Jews Respect, Not Prayers, Says UAHC's Rabbi Eric Yoffie
NEW YORK, September 7, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, decried the Southern Baptist Convention's request that its members pray that Jews find Jesus during the upcoming Days of Awe. The request came in a new prayer booklet distributed by the Southern Baptists' International Mission Board. Information can be found on the Southern Baptists' Web site at http://www.sbc.net/Articles/1999/09/03/BPA2.asp
Rabbi Yoffie's statement is as follows:
"We are deeply offended by the decision of the Southern Baptist Convention, calling on their members to pray for Jews to convert to Christianity during the High Holiday Season.
"We respect the right of Southern Baptists to hold beliefs that are different from our own. But we do not welcome a campaign that singles out the Jewish people for conversionary activities, and which suggests that Jews must relinquish their faith for Baptists to strengthen their own. We are particulay saddened that this campaign comes during the holiest time of the Jewish year, shortly after a number of violent, anti-Semitic acts have been committed in cities throughout America.
"Respect for each other's religious beliefs and the celebration of America's pluralism are fundamental American values. The Jewish people has survived for more than 3000 years with a strong commitment to our own traditions, and strong faith in a God who cares for all peoples and all faiths. We remain committed to dialogue with our Christian brothers and sisters, and will continue to work closely with all those who share our devotion to interfaith cooperation. For such dialogue to occur, no group must single out another as target and prey for its proselytizing efforts."