Need modern examples? Take this bit of devotional writing from Jimmy Carter. Now please keep in mind that I love me some Jimmy. I'm impressed with any nonagenarian who builds houses for the poor while battling cancer. But Carter has been preaching Jesus as an anti-Pharisee for decades. For example:
So there you have it. According to Carter, American racists are just like "the Jews" of Jesus' day.
During almost ten decades in the South—and throughout America—very few of us, even in our churches, condemned or criticized total racial segregation. We accepted the legal premise of “separate but equal.” . . . Even the most enlightened pastors would say, “Well, that’s a social problem. We just preach the gospel.” We shake our heads now, but that’s the way we lived back then, and that was the way we had lived for generations. We accepted the “fact” that we white folks were “superior” and that people of a different color were “inferior.”
In the time of Christ, the Jews believed that Gentiles stood outside the purview of God’s covenant with Abraham. Naturally, this caused Jews to feel superior. But in this encounter with the people of Nazareth, his hometown, Jesus emphasized that God want to bless all of us, simply because God loves us. . . . Jesus says, “Love others, regardless of who they are.” Let’s pray that we might eliminate discrimination, animosity, and grudges from our lives as followers of Jesus Christ (Through the Year with Jimmy Carter, 204.)
Or consider this especially lamentable statement by Pope Francis: the Pharisees were “rigid on the outside, but, as Jesus said of them, ‘rotting in the heart,’ weak, weak to the point of rottenness.” Again, nobody I know would accuse Francis of impure intentions. I choose the examples of Carter and Francis because I admire them a great deal and believe that they are committed to the infrastructures of peace. This would include inter-religious understanding. Both have done far more than I will ever do to make the world a better place. But somehow we liberals repeatedly lack self-awareness when it comes to parroting anti-Jewish rhetoric. Examples of this are numerous and varied (see my chapter on "underdogma" in this book for a fuller treatment). At least I think that it is a lack of self-awareness and not overt anti-Semitism that brings this out.
So I want to give the benefit of the doubt to a complete stranger (to me) named Mark Sandlin. Sandlin and I would probably get along great if ever we met. Perhaps we'd have suds and find ourselves in a tattoo parlor. Perhaps we'd both get Amy Grant lyrics inked into our necks and share our deepest secrets. Surely, our politics are similar. But I must take issue with this statement: "while the Pharisees encouraged discrimination against women, tax collectors, the poor, and even Samaritans, Jesus went out of his way to radically include them all." Surely Mark Sandlin means no harm. But this is the sort of statement that reinforces an anti-Jewish ideology with a particularly catastrophic legacy.