Skip to comments.Concern about Palestinian Christians?--The religious Left’s revealing silence.
Posted on 04/14/2009 5:32:01 AM PDT by SJackson
The international Religious Left has very little interest in human rights or religious liberty in the world, outside territories occupied by or supposedly victimized by Israel. Never critical of radical Islam or Arab regimes, groups like the World Council of Churches (WCC) have an obsessive interest in the plight of Palestinians, whose plight would otherwise bore the WCC, if Israel, and by extension, the U.S., could not be blamed.
Last month, the WCC dispatched a "Living Letters" team to Israel and "Palestine," purportedly to show solidarity with Palestinian Christians. But the attitude of Hamas and other Islamists towards the dwindling Christian minority among Palestinians was not prominent on the WCC radar screen. Apparently Palestinian Christians would be thriving if it were not for Israeli policies.
The WCCs "Living Letters" met with Latin (Catholic), Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican prelates in Jerusalem, all of whom mostly told the WCC want it wanted to hear, though some of them at least obliquely acknowledged that Islamists are sort of a problem too. The WCC evidently did not press them to elaborate. Nor did the WCC seemingly consider that Christians in the Middle East at lest superficially gain political points by joining in the ritualistic denunciations of Israel, while publicly criticizing Islamists only earns death threats and even greater persecution.
"Don't leave us alone," the Latin Patriarch told the WCC "Living Letters" sympathy team, according to a WCC report. "We still pray," he said. "And we believe in the power of prayer. We are hopeful with the new US administration. But we need countries around the world to support us." The Patriarchs prayers are undoubtedly sincere. But the WCC is probably more interested in his criticisms of Israel than in his prayers.
Naturally, the WCC abhors pro-Israel Christians. So the "Living Letters" must have smiled when the Lutheran bishop denounced the "extremism" of "ultra-orthodox personalities" in the Israeli government, "strong support for Israel by Christian Zionists," and the "quest for power among Islamic fundamentalists." Whoops, the Lutheran is concerned about radical Islamists! The WCC would not even have acknowledged the quote, were the bishop not politically protecting himself by lumping Islamists in with equally distasteful Christian Zionists and "ultra-orthodox" Jews.
The Lutheran bishop regaled the WCC team about his visit to Gaza, for whose sufferings he exclusively faulted Israel, at least as the "Living Letters" heard it. "The children of Gaza cannot smile," the bishop said. "Where is the conscience of the world?" The Lutheran urged churches to be "prophetic voices" about "justice," which entails "sharing of Jerusalem, an end to the occupation, and a viable state for Palestinians, living side-by-side with the state of Israel."
Does "justice" also require Palestinians to abandon their dreams of eradicating Israel? If the Lutheran bishop privately thinks so, he dare not say so publicly. And if he did, the WCC "Living Letters" certainly would not have been all that interested. Hamas tyranny and terrorism in Gaza do not merit the WCCs prayerful concerns.
The inevitable host for the WCC "Living Letters" was Anglican clergy and Palestinian activist Naim Ateek, chief of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. Ateek is a chief organizer and publicist for anti-Israel activism among Western Christians. If they cant visit him in Jerusalem, he will gladly come to them in Europe, Canada, or the U.S. Of course, the anxious WCC team made it easy for Ateek by coming to him. "If all the churches were willing to speak up, we could work miracles here," Ateek told the attentive WCC delegation. "We have great weight, which we have not used." Like the WCC, Ateeks concern about Palestinian Christians seems to extend only to their utility as props for condemning Israel.
It was an additional blessing for the WCC "Living Letters" that President of the United Church of Christ (UCC) John Thomas just happened to be in the Middle East at the same time. The dwindling UCC, one of Americas fastest declining denominations, has no significant presence in the region, but Thomas was there to visit "ecumenical partners," i.e. to add his own solidarity to the anti-Israel cause.
Thomas was terribly shocked by increasing "illegal" Israeli housing, by Israeli checkpoints, and the "growth" of the "Separation Wall" that Israel has thrown up, seemingly without cause, except to be unfriendly. "The sense of abandonment and vulnerability is profound, the sense of political powerlessness pervasive," Thomas bemoaned about the afflicted Palestinians, identifying Israel as the chief cause for Palestinian troubles.
"The question for us is whether we can be brave enough to challenge an occupation seeking to claim the souls of all involved, and that demeans and dehumanizes even those it seeks to privilege," Thomas told the WCC, attempting to sound profound. He inevitably named the ultimate source of strife in the Middle East, even beyond Israel. "As citizens of the nation that provides billions of dollars a year to support the occupation, we are deeply complicit, and therefore called to a particular responsibility to say, 'No longer in my name!'"
The few remaining members of Thomas UCC denomination, along with other members of the over 30 U.S. churches that belong to the WCC, might also say of their presumptuous clerics who claim to speak for them when they demonize the U.S. and Israel: "No longer in my name!"
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World Council of Churches = Matthew 8:21 christians