Thursday, March 03, 2005

Divestment movement rooted in anti-Evangelicalism?

This would be fascinating, if true:
The snowballing move by main-line Protestant churches to punish Israel with economic sanctions may be one of the prices the Jewish state is paying for the growing and visible support of Evangelical Christians in this country.

That ominous link emerged this week in conversations with interfaith leaders and in research by a top political scientist, as Jewish officials tried to solve the biggest puzzle in the divestment controversy: Why is the push happening now, just as the Middle East seems poised for a new peace process?

“My personal belief is that [divestment] is almost entirely rooted in this,” said James Hutchins, an activist in the United Church of Christ who is opposed to the divestment crusade touched off with a vote last summer by the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Except, as Chuck Currie has noted, Hutchins is something of a professional kvetcher, if you'll excuse the term. He runs a site that, as Currie puts it, "is put together by someone whose only intention is to catalog how he thinks the United Church of Christ gets things wrong."

So who better to opine on developments potentially unsettling for conservative Jews?

In fairness to Hutchins, UCC Truths is less conservative than the fundamentalist Biblical Witness Fellowship. The national UCC leadership could come out strongly in favor of Mother's Day, and hear from Hutchins that they were neglecting fathers.

Still, it's a bit dishonest to call him an "activist." Sh-t stirrer, is more like it--and that's coming from someone who's been called the same thing more than once.

At 12:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can learn more about this issue and how it relates to the UCC by visiting my post "Should The United Church of Christ Consider Divestment From Israel?" I hope the information is helpful.

Chuck Currie

At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Mary said...

I am a member of the Presbytery of St Augustine (FL) where the motion of divestment was originally put forward, and I attended that particular Presbytery meeting as an elder representative of my congregation. I can categorically state that the motion was NOT generated by any anti-Evangelical sentiment. Simply stated, the member church that made the motion had members who had been to Israel and who had been personally affected by what they had seen. They found the fence that was still being built to be particularly aggregious as it added to the poverty and powerlessness of the Palestinians. The person who presented the motion was one of the people who had visited Israel, so he was able to answer specific questions from the floor.

The discussion was not heated but the voice vote was too close to call so we literally had to stand and be counted.

At the time of the vote, no progress had been made on the roadmap to peace. Palestinians were using suicide bombs in public places, and Israel was responding with collective punishment. Arafat was still alive and Sharon had not shown any indication that he would compromise on settlement, fense, or Palestinian self rule. I may be mistaken, but I believe the situation had not improved at the time the General Assembly met.

Thank God the situation HAS changed now, and seemingly for the better.

In the Presbyterian governance, the motion, once passed, goes to the General Assembly, then (if passed there) back to the Presbyteries for ratification. It is a relatively long process, and no one should read unintended agendas into the timing. The motion was made out of compassion for human suffering and the desire to make a difference.


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