What the Pence & Jacobs Religious Comedy Hour Means for American Jews
When Vice President Mike Pence brought Loren Jacobs onstage during a Michigan rally for Republican Congressional candidates he ignited a firestorm of protest from Jews all over the world. Rather than recite the ancient and traditional prayer said over the dead, Kaddish, “Rabbi” Loren, in full tallit, recited a homemade prayer that offered generous reference to “my lord and savior, Yeshua, Jesus, the Messiah…”. Loren Jacobs went on to name Republican candidates in his prayer while mentioning none of the Pittsburgh shooting victims.
The Vice President’s office has distanced Pence from the actual decision to bring Jacobs to the rally. According to Pence’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Jarrod Agen, Pence heard Jacobs praying behind the scenes and offered to bring him on stage so everyone might hear. An e-mail from Pence’s office to Vox claims he did not hear the prayer prior to inviting Jacobs onstage.
Certainly Pence isn’t guilty of arranging for Jacobs’s presence at the rally to start with. That honor would appear to belong to Republican Congressional candidate Lena Epstein, who, by all accounts, follows normative Judaism at Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Epstein defended her choice on Twitter, claiming: “Any media or political commentator who is attacking me or the Vice President is guilty of nothing short of religious intolerance and should be ashamed. This was an effort at unity, yet some are trying to create needless division to suit their political goals.”
In this instance to a reductio ad absurdam, because Jacobs’s appearance in that particular context suggests that Jews are really people who accept Jesus Christ as our personal messiah, creator of the universe and whose grace is the only path to everlasting salvation. In short, Christians.
This is certainly how Messianics view those of us who have not accepted Jesus as our personal savior — we are “incomplete” Jews. Given that Jesus himself was a Jew, what could make more sense than for modern Jews to get on board, grok what millennia of Christians already know?