On March 24, 2014, I wrote about a new study guide from the Presbyterian Church (USA) entitled “Zionist Unsettled: A Congregational Study guide.” I noted that this study is an undisguised attack on Israeli politics and their conflict with the Palestinians that ignores the many other complications operating in the Middle East. The study guide is slanted against the actions and positions of Israel. My blog raised the question why an American denomination would make such an unbalanced attack on a Middle Eastern country. The study is not objective because it favors the Palestinians. In addition, I asked why a church would choose Israel and ignore the atrocities occurring in Syria –and I could add Egypt. Why single out this one country?
The Presbyterians aren’t the only denomination up to such antics. It now appears that other denominations are doing the same thing. Since churches were once in the theological business, why have some shifted to politics? That question is easily answered but takes up too much space here. Needless to say, these radical moves continue to cost them members and reduced influence.
However, the issue is more serious than a few misguided religious groups. The Boko Haram Islamist terrorists are a current example of a religiously motivated attack group. The Islamist terrorist group have kidnapped girls, forced them to dress like Moslems, and want to bring down the Nigerian state to create an Islamist nation. In their raids they attack Christians, burn churches, and spread hate. These overt expressions of terror come from a different world, but express the same basic thought patterns of religious groups who attack.
The assaults need to stop! Our world has enough political division and commercial animosity without the religious community going off the charts.
In The United States, churches have generally sent the pendulum swinging back in the other direction and now love Jews. The support of individual Jews is a relatively new phenomenon. However, the new form anti-Semitism has taken is attacking the state of Israel. Make no mistake about it, the problem of prejudice still burns in Germany. Vienna remains one of the most anti-Semitic cities in Europe. The subtle but nasty posture such discrimination takes was also expressed in accusing Israel of being apartheid because they built a wall between Israel and the Palestinians to keep suicide terrorists out. And if you keep track of such numbers, the wall has nearly wiped out such explosions.
As one who has spent time in Jordan, Syria, Israel, and Egypt, I know about weekend experts whose superficial views miss the essence of the issues. The religionists tend toward being opinionated and that’s the last position needed in the continuing sensitive debates.
Anti-Semitism is prejudice – not peace –and certainly not pastoral.