A new poll finds that 26 percent of Americans believe the Jews killed Jesus. They’re historically ignorant, but they do read their Bible—that is who the New Testament blames, after all.
A poll released last week by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reports that twenty-six percent of the American public continues to believe that “Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus.” Although the number has dropped from 31% in 2011, the ADL described it as “surprisingly large.”
In many ways it is strange that anyone continues to think this. In the wake of World War II a number of Christian leaders and organizations issued formal statements on this topic. The Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church categorically stated that the Jews as a whole could not be blamed for the death of Jesus.
And yet, some fifty odd years later, a quarter of regular Americans still think that Jews are to blame.
For all of the surprise over the results of the poll, there’s no real mystery about the origins of this idea. The claim that Jews were responsible for Jesus’s death is in the New Testament.