Anti-Semitism Rears Its Ugly Head in Ohio

Anti-abortion extremists have no shame but, even by that standard, an  anti-Semitic tirade by Ohio minister Reverend Katherine Marple was appalling. The reverend was incensed by testimony about anti-choice bills by the co-president of the National Council of Jewish Women Columbus Section. The NCJW officer pointed out that “lack of reproductive choice is a violation of our religious liberty.” In response, Reverend Marple blasted “the ultimate hypocrisy of God’s chosen people” on her website,

“The Jews were God’s chosen people and throughout history, they have historically turned their back to God, His only Son, and the New Covenant. God separated His people through circumcision and Faith. And this is what He gets in return – Jewish women advocating their own private holocaust: ABORTION.”

Ohio RCRC asked Rabbi Howard L. Apothaker, Ph.D., spiritual leader of Temple Beth Shalom of Columbus/New Albany, Ohio, to comment, and these are excerpts from his passionate remarks.

Oh, here we go again, Jewish leaders are “hypocrites” … so said Jesus in six times Matthew 23, adding in his description of these Jews, in a most kindly tone, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” (v. 33)

How lovely for the peaceable Pastor Marple not only to have referenced her Bible but also to have referred to the vengeance to be meted out (vv. 34-36) for those Jews in Ohio who expressed support from the floor and gallery of the Ohio House of Representatives for the U.S. Supreme Court’s reading of the United States Constitution….

Anti-Semitic remarks are not “harmless,” the rabbi notes:

The gentle reverend invites violent solutions offered by her anti-choice co-conspirators by implying that Jews are [again?] turning their backs on God (“You have one master, the Christ,” Matt. 23:10) and engaging in a private (sic) holocaust. With her Bill-O’Reilly-inspired references to doctors who would perform legal abortions as guilty of “Nazi stuff,” the Rev. Marple re-ups the license to Army-of-God-like vigilantes such as the killer of Dr. George Tiller.

The Holocaust begin by inciting “a pathological fear” of Jews as “the other”:

As for the reference to the Holocaust, the enslavement and murder of Jews by the Nazis did not begin with killing. It began, among those who would gain power, with a pathological fear of otherness, a fear-turned-hatred that was satisfied only when blame for everything bad could be shifted to that other – the Jew. It was successful because a single, radical strain would not allow for difference, would not allow for choice; would force all to follow suit, to line up religiously, ethnically, racially, ideologically.

But it was successful because good people were silent:

It was successful because those who disagreed would not speak up, were too passive to be involved, and/or were too afraid to make waves.

My wife will soon become a co-president of the local chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women. This is the way she hears the Rev. Marple’s characterization – as a verbal “wink and nod” to those who would perpetrate violence against her for having a different religion with a different point of view on the matter of when a fetus takes on the status of a fully human being.

Family –  and if one chooses, one’s faith –  should guide decisions, not government:

Unlike many issues that separate conservatives and progressives on “human life,” there is broad consensus on this issue. In Jewish terms, “human life,” by which is meant, a life that attains the prerogatives of individuated infant human beings, begins when a fetus is able to survive outside of the womb. 

Although rabbis have permitted abortions for a variety of reasons, none would condone the act for the sake of convenience. Certainly, for that matter, none would put it in the hands of authorities outside of the family. The consequences, for better or for worse, were left to God, not to senatorial ideologues from the State of Ohio.


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