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Moron of the Day

As usual, it’s a crowded field, but I couldn’t go past the pastor.

A Baptist pastor has admitted telling Jewish leaders that Jews were “going to hell” and faced a fate “worse than the Holocaust” because they had not accepted Jesus as their saviour.

But Pastor Kevin Harris of the Illawarra Community Baptist Church in Wollongong says his comments were “misunderstood and misquoted” in a mass email circulated yesterday by the chief of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Vic Alhadeff.

Mr Harris, a US-trained minister from Virginia, said his comments applied to all people who rejected Jesus, not only Jews, and were based in scripture. “The Bible says that all have sinned and all are worthy of hell,” he told the Herald. “That includes everyone, until we receive Jesus as our saviour.

“Jesus and the Apostles were Jewish. They explained that the Old Testament Jewish faith looked forward to the messiah and the New Testament reveals Jesus as the messiah.”

But despite Mr Harris’s attempt to clarify his remarks, Mr Alhadeff said he was shocked to hear the leader of a Christian congregation speak so bluntly.

“It was a chilling experience,” he said. “While one is only too aware that there are fundamentalist beliefs and extremist preachers out there, his brazen approach and the fact that he is influencing others on a daily basis are the issues of real concern.”

Mr Alhadeff and the board’s education manager, Lynda Ben-Menashe, met Mr Harris six days ago on a tour of the Shoalhaven region to consult religious leaders, including Anglican and Catholic bishops. He told the Herald that Mr Harris’s comments reflected a “religiously charged attitude”, rather than racial anti-Semitism.

“The pastor was extremely welcoming and had a smile on his face throughout the meeting,” Mr Alhadeff said. But he feared such language might provoke racial hatred towards Jews.

Mr Harris said his comments were made in a private meeting “in my lounge room” and admitted using the word “holocaust” but said it was Biblical language.

“I explained that I love the Jewish people very much and that some awful times were coming for them but I did not wish that upon them at all.”

I know he’s not alone in these misguided beliefs, but he gets bonus moron points for his “Hey, you won’t be alone in hell” defense.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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