The incident occurred at the Church on the Rise in Westlake, Ohio, where Hudson was invited to preach guest sermons on January 4th and 5th. Pastor Hudson was invoking blessings upon small business owners, asking them to stand up, and praying for them to prosper. He told them that God wants to bless them just like he blessed the Jews, in the best way. But then he added the following:
“You know how to make the Jew jealous? Have some money, honey...You go to L.A. and they own all the Rolex and diamond places. Walk down a part of L.A. where we live and it is so rich it smells. You ever smell rich? They are all Jews, hallelujah! Amen.”
Two of the usual suspects crawled out of their lairs and starting shrieking about anti-Semitism. On January 9th, Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said “If you take out 'L.A.' from his rant, most people would guess that Hitler or Goebbels was speaking...It’s hard to believe that something good could emanate from the mouth of a preacher who is filled with such bigotry and hatred.” On the same day, Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement characterizing Hudson's remarks as unabashedly anti-Semitic, saying in part "We have seen [this stereotype] previously manifested in pop culture and in religious and political spheres. Church-based anti-Semitism historically has been one of the most virulent forms of this disease. We have made much progress in this country in terms of religiously based anti-Semitism. That’s why this manifestation is so disturbing. It is always much worse when it comes out on a religious platform – when an individual who is looked up to as a religious leader gives the old anti-Semitic stereotypes a patina of renewed credibility".
A story in The Blaze identified a few more minor players who joined in the attack.
Stung by the sudden attacks, Pastor Hudson decided to cave in and on January 10th, issued the following apology in the form of a letter to the ADL:
“I deeply regret the hurtful and ugly language I used in my message in Ohio. I have had a few days to think about what I said, and to listen to my words as they were understood by others.
I am not going to offer any excuse, or tell you not to think what I did wasn’t so terrible. I do insist, and God is my witness – that I am not an anti-Semite. If anything, my faith as a Christian reminds me, and always has reminded me, of my special closeness to the Jewish people.
But that is the point. We can do lots of harm even to those we love simply by using words irresponsibly. I used images about Jews rooted in the worst anti-Semitism in the past, images that at times led to the persecution and murder of Jews. I can’t tell you where I picked up phrases and descriptions that became part of my vocabulary. I used them without ever considering what they meant. I probably would have used them for the rest of my life, had people not pointed out to me their origin and evil purpose.
My joy in life is preaching – using words to call people to God. I understand the power of words, and the need for all of us to think twice before using words that can hurt or harm others. I apologize for the hurt that I caused my Jewish friends. With the help of God, it will not happen again.
Sincerely, Keith Hudson.”
Foxman welcomed Keith Hudson's apology and believes he now better understands why his words were considered so anti-Semitic and hurtful. In contrast, Marvin Hier offered no absolution. Good cop, bad cop.
The Church on the Rise told CNN in a statement on Tuesday January 10th that Hudson’s words were taken out of context. “Keith Hudson was praying for different individuals and groups of people and he asked for business men and women to stand so that he could pray for them to be blessed and prosperous in their business pursuits,” the statement says. “The comment was intended as a compliment, not as a criticism.”
Paul Endrei, senior pastor at the Church on the Rise, added in a voicemail left with CNN that the congregation is a very pro-Jewish church. “I know from talking today to Keith [Hudson] that he definitely is not, you know, anti-Semitic, or was intending to say anything negative at all. In fact, the statement he was trying to make was positive, but it was taken out of context,” said Endrei. Endrei also spoke with the Wiesenthal Center's interfaith director, saying he was deeply hurt by Hudson's rant, that his congregation does not share his views and pledging proud support for the state of Israel. Endrei added that Pastor Hudson will not be invited back to preach anytime soon, although he believes Hudson's apology was heartfelt and sincere. Subsequently, on January 11th, Endrei held a special prayer service where 70 people gathered to pray for Israel, Jewish people and Katy Perry's family.
Furthermore, according to The Blaze, Pastor Hudson and his wife have given thousands of dollars to Jewish charities and they have supported Pastor John Hagee and Christians & Jews United for Israel. Pastor Phil Tammy Hotsenpiller, an expert in spreading faith in Hollywood, characterized the Hudsons as some of the most pro-Israel people he knows, adding that there‘s rarely a conversation they have that doesn’t talk about blessing Israel and praying for Israel. Of course, that didn't matter to Foxman and Hier, who saw an opportunity to play the anti-Semitic card and keep the donation spigot cranked open, even if they had to step on a shabbos goyim.
So basically, Paul Endrei and Keith Hudson are now holding a contest to see which one can become the Shabbos Goyim of the Year.
The sincerity of Pastor Hudson's apology is irrelevant. It's clear that the apology was delivered under political duress, and because of that alone, it has no credibility. Unfortunately, his apology confers even greater, and undeserved, credibility upon the ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.