Skip to comments.National Council of Churches Ignores Christian Suffering
Posted on 09/30/2006 6:31:32 AM PDT by 13Sisters76
National Council of Churches Ignores Christian Suffering By Mark D. Tooley FrontPageMagazine.com | September 29, 2006
The head of the U.S. National Council of Churches (NCC) has a burden on his heart for prison inmates...if they are former al-Qaeda or Taliban operatives at Guantanamo Bay.
In his www.middlechurch.net blog, NCC General Secretary Bob Edgar records his chagrin that the U.S. government has denied his request for a visit with the Gitmo prisoners.
I was in prison and you visited me, Jesus says in Matthew 25:36. But the detainees at Guantánamo are not permitted visitors. I know this from personal experience, Edgar blogged. The National Council of Churches requested to visit these children of God simply to see how they were being treated, he piously shared. We simply wanted to visit these prisoners as our Lord commands in Matthew 25:40.
Edgars and the NCCs interests in prisoners seems to be very specifically confined to the dozens of interned terrorists at Guantanamo. But there are millions of prisoners around the world, most of them are genuinely criminal. But tens of thousands of them are incarcerated only for their political or religious beliefs, including thousands of Edgars fellow Christians.
My colleague Faith McDonnell, a prominent religious liberty advocate, has appealed to Edgar to take a break from his Guantanamo preoccupation and look at 12 or so specific Christian prisoners of conscience, several of whom are facing death sentences for believing in Jesus. The prisoners she identifies include several Chinese, a Vietnamese, three Indonesians, an Egyptian, a Cuban, an Eritrean, and a North Korean, all of whom suffer because they defied Communism or Islam. These sufferings interest the NCC not at all.
The Guantanamo prisoners are cause celebres with the anti-American international Left. While the detainees dietary and religious needs are carefully tended to, leagues of lawyers advocate on their behalf, the international media report their every hiccup, and ostensible human rights groups devote tens of thousands of man hours to argue for their legal protections. In return, the al-Qaeda and Taliban hooligans probably have only contempt for the Western secularists and leftist Christians who plead on their behalf. In a world governed by al-Qaeda, church officials like Bob Edgar would be beheaded, and the NCC suppressed into dhimmitude, i.e., subordination to Islamic law.
Meanwhile, the 350 Montagnard Christians imprisoned and tortured by the Vietnamese communist regime do not have much hope of media attention or international visitors. Neither does Pastor Gong Shengliang, formerly pastor of a 50,000 congregation, now into his fifth year of wasting away in a Chinese communist prison. Coptic Christian Hesham Azmy Iskender and six of his fellow Copts have been in an Egyptian prison since April, after their arrest at a Christian funeral for the victim of an Islamist knife stabbing. Eritrean Gospel singer has spent much of the last two years incarcerated in a shipping container for her evangelical beliefs. Indonesian Sunday school teacher Rebekka Zakaria is serving time with two of her Christian friends after being accused by Islamists of trying to convert Muslim children.
Western church officials love to visit Fidel Castros Cuba, but so far, not many have pressed to visit Christian dissident Jorge Luis García Perez Antunez. Hes been im prison for 16 years, often confined to a tiny, sealed cell with no light or bedding, typically overflowing with excrement and infested with rats and insects, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Unfortunately for him, as with the others listed above, they are not enemies of the United States. So Bob Edgar and his U.S. church council are not agitating for visits or disseminating news releases on their behalf.
In vivid contrast, a quick search of the NCCs website finds two dozen statements about the Guantanamo prisoners.
For example, in March 2004 the NCC organized a press conference and silent walk through Washington, D.C., on behalf of the Guantanamo prisoners, in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union, family members of the prisoners, and actress Vanessa Redgrave. Folk singer Peter Yarrow even joined in by writing a special song. The NCC renewed its request, first made in December 2003, for an interfaith delegation to visit to monitor the physical, mental and spiritual condition of the detainees.
The National Council of Churches has said that the denial of rights that inhere in the worth of human beings before God are not only a crime against humanity, Edgar declared at the 2004 press conference. They are a sin against God. All faiths share this basic teaching All persons are connected in the family of God. My rights, your rights and the rights of the detainees are inseparable.
Already by January 2003, the NCC had endorsed a friend of the court brief for the U.S. Supreme Court demanding that Guantanamo detainees be empowered to challenge their detention. The National Council of Churches has a long tradition of advocating for civil liberties and human rights, asserted Antonios Kireopoulos, the NCCs Associate General Secretary for International Affairs and Peace.
Early this year, the NCC emphatically supported" a United Nations report demanding that the U.S. close the detention center at Guantanamo. For the third time, Edgar asked permission for a small interfaith delegation just to peek in at the prisoners. Today we renew that request, not only for the benefit of the detainees but for the benefit of the reputation of our country in an increasingly skeptical world, Edgar intoned.
Almost amusingly, in late 2004, Edgar denounced the U.S. for detaining Chinese Uighur Muslims at Guantanamo. The Uighurs had been in Afghanistan under the Taliban. Having found them no longer a threat, the U.S. wanted to release them, but could not return them to China, where they would have been imprisoned or killed. Edgar demanded that they be given immediate refugee status in the U.S., since Uighurs are a persecuted minority in China. It was a rare and no doubt grudging admission for Edgar that all is not well in communist China. Rejecting Chinese demands for their return, the U.S. ended up sending the Uighurs to Albania, about which Edgar appears not have commented.
Edgar had offered the services of the NCCs relief arm in the Uighurs potential U.S. resettlement. Such hospitality! The NCC has also helped to transport family members of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. for media events. Who knows how much the NCC has spent on its Guantanamo advocacy, but it is a safe assumption that this budget line item is exponentially larger than the NCCs line item for persecuted Christians.
We have a long way to go before we can truly stand as a beacon of Christs light for the rest of the world, Edgar penned in his blog about Guantanamo. I pray that Congress and the Supreme Court may continue to apply pressure on the president to meet the basic standards of the Geneva Convention; I pray that those people of faith who courageously wrote letters, rang phones on Capitol Hill, and spoke boldly about the love of their Lord may be given the gift of perseverance.
We can also pray that persecuted Christians, whose imprisonment, torture and death sentences do not much interest Edgars Guantanamo-obsessed NCC, will also be given the gift of perseverance.
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The following churches are members of this leftist organization http://www.ncccusa.org/members/index.html
African Methodist Episcopal Church
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
Alliance of Baptists
American Baptist Churches in the USA
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Church of the Brethren
The Coptic Orthodox Church in North America
The Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Friends United Meeting
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Hungarian Reformed Church in America
International Council of Community Churches
Korean Presbyterian Church in America
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Mar Thoma Church
Moravian Church in America Northern Province
and Southern Province
National Baptist Convention of America
National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.
National Missionary Baptist Convention of America
Orthodox Church in America
Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in the USA
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
Polish National Catholic Church of America
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.
Reformed Church in America
Serbian Orthodox Church in the U.S.A. and Canada
The Swedenborgian Church
Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America
United Church of Christ
The United Methodist Church
See also: The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA)
Evil sure has a lot of friends in these times.
Anyone who contributes money to a mainline church is contributing to this guy's salary.
Dr. Harry F. Ward, known as the "Red Dean" of the Union Theological Seminary, was a leader in the founding of the Federal Council of Churches, the forerunner to the NCC. In a career spanning 40 years, Ward influenced hundreds of Protestant ministers and leaders to philosophical, if not outright Communism. There were few Communist fronts in which Ward was not involved. Ward stated on a radio broadcast, May 21, 1946, that "The Soviet Union is progressing and growing up economically and politically
while Capitalist society is starving and going down".
HCUA staff director Richard Arens testified on Feb. 25, 1960 concerning the NCC as follows:
Thus far, of the National Council of Churches of Christ in America, we have found over 100 persons in leadership capacity with either Communist-front records or records of service to Communist causes. The aggregate affiliations of the leadership, instead of being in the hundreds as first indicated, is now, according to the latest count, into the thousands, and we have yet to complete our check, which would certainly suggest that there is infiltration of fellow travelers in churches and educational institutions is a complete understatement.
The chairman of these hearings, Francis Walter (D-PA) pointed out that:
This is not to say that these persons are necessarily consciously supporting Communist enterprises, but the net result is, for all practical purposes, the same.
Dr. Walter Rauschenbusch, in 1893, wrote that "the only power that can make socialism succeed is religion. It cannot work in an irreligious country". Rauschenbusch saw Socialism as the goal with religion serving as a vehicle toward that goal, a means to an end. Rauschenbusch was referred to by FCC president Dr. A.W.Beavan as "the greatest single influence on the life and thought of the American Church in the last 50 years".
Former American Communist official Manning Johnson, in Congressional testimony, stated that "once the tactic of infiltrating religious organizations was set by the Kremlin, implementing the new line (would require) Communist agents in the seminaries and divinity schools. A small Communist minority (would) influence the ideology of future clergymen in the paths most conducive to Communist purposes". Manning Johnson, a former Negro Communist, died shortly after his fascinating testimony, definitely a subject for future research.
The destruction wrought by this Communist influence in the American church is two fold. What we have is an organized attempt, conscious or otherwise, to subvert American institutions and our culture with ideas that are antithetical to our American way of life. We also have a deliberate watering down of mainstream American Protestantism that has traditionally served as a moral force for good. This infiltration has become internalized over the decades, particularly since the demise of the Soviet Union. With true believers in philosophical Communism in groups like the NCC, there is no longer a need for an external "party line".