Sign Stirs Passions, Holocaust memories

Correspondence between Shlomoh and Internet friends
March, 2004

From: Grace Harris
Sent: Saturday, March 06, 2004
Subject: Sign Stirs Passions, Holocaust memories

So name me one pastor in one Christian church in America who is providing, as the context for this movie, the teaching that the Jews were Christ-killers.

From: "King Solomon"
Sent: Saturday, March 06, 2004
Subject: Sign Stirs Passions, Holocaust memories

There is a church on a main thoroughfare in Colorado with a billboard on its outside facing the highway. It says THE JEWS KILLED CHRIST. When the local rabbi asked them to take down the sign, they refused.

The Denver Post

Sign Stirs Passions, Holocaust memories
By Ann Depperschmidt and Claire Martin
The Denver Post
Thursday, February 26, 2004 -

Steven Metzler quietly walked through a crowd of about 200 protesters at Lovingway Pentecostal Church on Wednesday night, remembering 1944.

The year he entered Auschwitz.

"Acts like these are seeds of terror," he said after rolling up his sleeve to show the small tattooed "A-13192" that constantly reminds him of the Holocaust. "And that's how it started in Europe."

The church's pastor, Maurice Gordon, upset Denver residents with a message on his church's South Colorado Boulevard marquee - "Jews Killed the Lord Jesus."

By evening, someone had removed "Jews."

"For more than 1,900 years, this accusation has fueled anti-Semitism in the Western world," said Bruce DeBoskey, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

DeBoskey urged Gordon to remove the message, a reference to the Bible's 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15.

The verse appeared on Ash Wednesday, one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar and the day that Mel Gibson's highly publicized movie "THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST" opened in theaters.

"The purpose was to get people to open up their Bibles and take a look at it for themselves," Nate Hyatt said as he walked into the church to worship. Gordon is his grandfather. "It wasn't meant as a hateful thing to anyone. We don't want it to be distorted like that."

Gordon told The Associated Press he was inspired by the intense discussion leading to Wednesday's release of Gibson's film.

"I had been listening to debate back and forth on talk radio about who really did it," Gordon said. "What I did, right or wrong, was to give a citation from the Apostle Paul."

"You only want to do this maybe once in a lifetime," Gordon said. "At least hopefully it will get people to go back and read the fine print in the Bible."

A spokesman for the organization Gordon's church belongs to distanced his group from the sign.

"Rev. Maurice Gordon has acted individually and separately from the United Pentecostal Church International and all of its affiliates," said the Rev. B.E. Hale, Colorado district superintendent of the group. "Rev. Gordon's decision was made without support or contribution from the United Pentecostal Church International and does not reflect our position on this matter."

Bill McCartney, former University of Colorado football coach and founder of the the men's Christian group Promise Keepers, drifted into Wednesday night's crowd and offered a quick speech.

"We can rally the city of Denver around the Jewish community," he said as cars drove by honking in support.

The crowd peacefully walked along the sidewalk, holding signs that read, "Where is love at Lovingway?" and "Blame is not the answer."

The protesters had mixed feelings about the movie, but all seemed to agree the billboard sent the wrong message at the wrong time.

"I think if you're going to read the Bible, something like this will not make you run home and open it up," said Justin Kutner, a 17- year-old from Greenwood Village.

By Wednesday night the sign had been changed. It said: "God so loved the world that he gave ... and he's still giving."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From: Grace Harris
Date: Tue, Mar 9 2004
Subject: Sign Stirs Passions, Holocaust memories

What ASSHOLES. The Rabbi and his shul should purchase rights to the sign next to it, and proclaim in in big bold letters: JESUS WAS A JEW.

And I bet if you went into that so-called Christian church, they'd have a Nazi flag behind the cross too. Remember that not everyone claiming to be Christian is within the mainstream Christian culture. I know that any sign like that out here in California, Christians would be banning together to pressure the church to remove it. And while adults wouldn't sanction it, no one would feel toooooo bad if it were painted over by kids.

I know that a couple years ago, a skin head group burned a synagogue, and all the local churches reached out. The Anglican church shared facilities with them, and many other churches pitched in to help them rebuild, including mine.

From: Jim Massey
Date: Sat, Mar 6 2004
Subject: Sign Stirs Passions, Holocaust memories

This makes me mad. It is a rogue church whose denomination flatly said this is not the denomination's position. I would have torn down the sign with my own hands, and then berated them to their face the way Paul berated the Galatians (and if you ever read it, you know he was no nice guy when it came to stupidity in the church), and that woul dhave been too good for them.

By the way, this is not germaine to the issue, but the United Pentecostal Church in general is about as sectarian as one can get without being a downright heresy. Its basic doctrine is that there is only one God, and it is Jesus (no Trinity).

From: "The Denver Post by Email" (
Subject: Pastor Apologizes For Church Sign Saying Jews Killed Jesus
Date: Sun, Mar 7, 2004

This article was emailed to you at the request of Shlomoh Sherman -

Followup to Denver article View this article View The Denver Post

Pastor Apologizes For Church Sign Saying Jews Killed Jesus
By Jim Kirksey -
Denver Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 27, 2004 -

Pastor Maurice Gordon is so sorry that he said so on the marquee outside his Lovingway United Pentecostal Church on South Colorado Boulevard.

"I am deeply sorry for offending the Jewish people whom I love," the sign now says.

Gordon admits to creating a "firestorm" of protest Wednesday with his marquee message about the Jews having killed Jesus, along with a biblical reference.

The earlier sign, in conjunction with the opening of the controversial motion picture "THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST," was intended only to instigate discussion and debate, Gordon said Thursday night.

Since, he has had protesters marching outside his church and "hundreds and hundreds" of telephone calls and e-mails from all over the world.

"I've heard more cursing and swearing in the last couple of days than since I left the Army in 1953."

He's had intelligent conversations with Jewish people who were offended by his effort, and he's heard from anti-Semitic "whackos," Gordon said.

"We never intended to hurt any people," he said. "I never dreamed we would be inciting hatred for Jews." The message "spun out of control," he added.

"For the 29 years we've been here, we've done nothing but love people. We support Israel," Gordon said.

He's learned a lesson.

"I have learned to be more discreet."

From: Grace Harris
Date: Wed, Mar 10, 2004
Subject: Pastor apologizes

Sorry isn't enough. He needs to do penance. Shlomoh, is there any way you can track down his email or address? I really do want to have a tactful but firm conversation with the man.

The website is at

From: Carl Fortunato
Date: Wed, Mar 10, 2004
Subject: Pastor apologizes

When I first read this, I wondered how on earth this guy could actually be surprised that and sign saying "JEWS KILLED THE LORD JESUS" would be considered Anti-Semitic.

Hunting around, I found this site:

The man isn't so much anti-semitic as much as he's stark raving bonkers.

From: Grace Harris
Date: Wed, Mar 10 2004
Subject: Pastor apologizes

Carl, the United Pentecostal Church as a whole is borderline bonkers.

These people believe that a woman cutting her hair or a kid watching a video is evidence of probably going to hell and even people going to sister pentecostal denominations have questionable salvation. No one can question the pastors. Some pastors keep sissors inside the pulpit in case any little girl wears ribbons to church. A friend of mine who is a former UPC pastor went through terrible persecution when he began to leave, including financial attacks, and is now completely shunned.

Scary, nutty, cultlike stuff.

From: Jim Massey
Date: Wed, Mar 10 2004
Subject: Pastor apologizes

If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. I am glad of this.

From: Grace Harris
Date: Wed, Mar 10 2004
Subject: Pastor apologizes

Jim: repentence isn't just saying you are sorry. Right now, he is only at the intial stage of being aware that he did wrong. Repentence is turning around 180 degrees and walking the other direction. I need to see him do this. What he did hurt Jews, and created barriers between Jews and Christians. True repentence, then, means he will do things to heal Jews, and to build bridges between Jews and Christians. Until he shows signs of true repentence, they are under no obligation to forgive him.

From: Scott McMeekan
Date: Wed, Mar 10 2004
Subject: Pastor apologizes

I completely agree. Penance would *really* show he was sorry, and would do wonders toward showing a true understanding of his feelings toward Jews.


Grace Harris converted to Roman Catholicism from Holiness Religion over 20 years ago.

Jim Massey is a Lutheran

Scott McMeekan is a Lutheran transitioninig to Roman Catholicism

Carl Fortunato is an Episcopalian who attends the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, where he is on the Vestry and where you may see him swinging smoke if you ever drop by on a Sunday. See his vestry website at

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