Dr. Peter Enns, Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University in Pennsylvania, refused to stand for the Hallelujah Chorus during the University Choir’s performance of Handel’s Messiah oratorio.
During the first London performance of Messiah in 1743, King George rose to his feet and remained standing until the end of the Hallelujah Chorus. Many believe that the king stood in honor of Christ the King of Kings. So everyone joined the king standing, and this became a tradition among Christians.
But Enns says enough is enough. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a God that oppresses Philistines and other non-Jews,” Enns told the Philadelphia Inquirer after the concert. “To me, this is bigger than Biblical studies, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”
Cailean Copernicus, one of his students, agrees with him, “There were tens of thousands of bodies littering the streets of Jericho and Ai, and Jews getting away with God-sanctioned genocide.”
Faith Samira, Pastor of the Mother Theresa Better Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim Religion of Peace, was pleased with Enns’ protest. “The Jewish God was an intolerant religious and racial bigot,” Rev. Samira said, “when he ordered Jews to slaughter all the peace-loving, innocent men, women and children of Canaan who tolerated the worship of Baal, Asherah, Molech and a host of other idols, including the Jewish God.
Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, offered a different view on Enns’ protest, “Why can’t all of us just preach on the love of God, not mentioning sin, blood and other offensive stuff, and have a better life now?”
Rob Bell, author of bestselling Love Wins, encouraged Enns to continue his protest against this God as long as pastors are preaching texts from the Bible other than 1 Corinthians 13.