The Emperor Constantine is known as the first Christian emperor of the Rome. I've got my doubts that he was a Christian, but who am I to judge? That's God's job. Nevertheless from Constantine on, the church has undoubtedly contributed and been party to anti-semitism throughout history. To my mind this is wrong and we need to own up to our history. Here are some quotes:
1) The first "Christian" Emperor, Constantine (315 ad), legally branded the Jews a "vicious and perverse sect."
2) Emperor Justinian (527-565) decreed:
"They (the Jews) shall enjoy no honors. Their status shall reflect the perverse condition they have desired in their souls." Under Justinian’s Law Code, Jews were not considered credible witnesses against Christians in a lawsuit. Jews were forbidden to teach the prophecies concerning the physical restoration of the nation Israel.
3) "Brothel and theater, the synagogue is also a cave of pirates and the lair of wild beasts...Living for their belly, mouth forever gaping, the Jews behave no better than hogs and goats in the lewd grossness and the excesses of their gluttony...Jews are possessed by demons." St. John Chrysostom
4) In 1215, Pope Innocent III and the Fourth Lateran Council ordered Jews to wear distinctive Jewish hats and yellow arm badges. The Jews were ordered segregated into Ghettos in every city. “Jews, against whom the blood of Jesus Christ cries out, although they ought to be slain lest the Christian people forget the Divine law, ought nevertheless to be dispersed over the earth as wanderers so their countenance might be full of shame and they might seek for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." Innocent III
5) According to a Papal Bull issued July 12, 1555 by Pope Paul IV:
"In Rome and all the other cities of the Papal States, the Jews shall live entirely separate from the Christians, in a quarter or a street with one entrance and one exit. They shall build no new synagogue nor own real estate."
6) When the Black Plague of 1348-1349 killed 1/3 of Europe, the Jews were blamed for it. They were accused of poisoning Christians wells. They were also accused of using Christian babies for sacrifices. Angry mobs wiped out hundreds of Jewish Ghettos.
7) Martin Luther “What then shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews?...Let me give you my honest advice. First, their synagogues or churches should be set on fire, and whatever does not burn up should be covered or spread over with dirt so that no one may be able to see a cinder or stone of it. And this ought to be done for the honor of God and of Christianity in order that God may see that we are Christians, and that we have not wittingly tolerated or approved of such public lying, cursing and blaspheming of His Son and His Christians... Secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed. For they perpetrate the same things there that they do in their synagogues... Fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach any more." "Against the Jews and Their Lies”
8) "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the almighty Creator; by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” ADOLPH HITLER Mein Keif
Hitler had many of the clergy of Germany in his pocket going along with him as Germany moved towards the Holocaust. There were a few notable exceptions, not the least of them being Dietrich Bonhoffer, who we'll talk about at another time.