Jul 6th, 2006 · Categories: PCUSA · No Comments

PCUSA: Poisoning the well (updated)

Update: This story was originally posted on the author’s previous web site on November 1, 2005. The 2006 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) acknowledged “that the actions of the 216th General Assembly (2004) caused hurt and misunderstanding among many members of the Jewish community and within our Presbyterian communion. We are grieved by the pain that this has caused, accept responsibility for the flaws in our process, and ask for a new season of mutual understanding and dialogue.” The assembly also took steps that seemed aimed at ending the divestment process.

In 2004, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) – the denomination’s highest governing body – passed a resolution to “initiate a process of phased, selective divestment in multinational corporations operating in Israel.” In 2005, Iranian president Ahmadinejad announced that “Israel must be wiped off the map.” Is there a connection? Clifton Kirkpatrick, the chief elected officer of the Presbyterian Church (USA) was understandably upset about Ahmadinejad’s remarks. Most sentient beings would be. But he and his cohorts seem unable to connect the two dots – the divestment resolution and the Iranian president’s remarks.

Following the approval of the resolution, statements from PCUSA officials revealed the politically correct thinking that produced it: some PCUSA leaders believe that Israel alone is responsible for the violence. The Washington Office (our little unregistered PAC) equated Palestine to South Africa under apartheid. The Presbyterian “Peacemaking” Program ignored a 57-year history of war and terrorism against Israel and endorsed the idea that “occupation remains the root cause of the conflict and of the continuing suffering in the Holy Land.” [The PCUSA’s enthusiastic endorsement has disappeared from the denomination’s web site, but the original statement can be found here.]

Such statements aside, the resolution was a cynical, feel-good gesture intended to enable General Assembly commissioners and PCUSA leaders to enjoy the pleasant sensation of having “done something” to promote peace in the Middle East. There was never the remotest possibility that any economic impact would ever be felt by Israel or by anyone doing business in Israel or that the cause of peace would in any way be advanced. (It is an interesting irony that the fattest target of disinvestment is Caterpillar, whose stock has risen steadily and enriched its stockholders – including the PCUSA.)

But there was an unintended impact. Kirkpatrick and other supporters of divestment can wring their hands over Ahmadinejad’s comments but they can hardly claim to be surprised. The Iranian president simply expressed the same policy that Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization did when it massacred eight Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. To side with these same Palestinians, even with an action as toothless as the divestment resolution, is to side with the murder and genocide that have been actively promoted by Muslim states and practiced by Muslim terrorists since 1948.

(In fairness to members, not all Presbyterians were blind to the implications of the resolution. The reaction against divestiture was swift and vocal and continues today. Sadly, it has not yet born fruit, as PCUSA leaders continue to defend their actions.)

I doubt that Ahmadinejad even knew that the PCUSA – alone among major Christian denominations – had indulged in this foolish act of anti-Semitism. But the PCUSA and its leaders nonetheless bear responsibility for tossing a little more poison into the well of Mideast violence. Did they suppose for one moment that adding to the toxicity with their bigoted approach to peace would somehow promote healing?

Any sign that the West is prepared to abandon Israel can have only one effect – to embolden the jihadists and invite them to escalate their efforts to do what the Arab states have sworn to do all along – wipe Israel off the map.

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 6th, 2006 at 2:56 pm and is filed under PCUSA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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