Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Divesting, Demonising – & In Decline: The Ultra-Liberal Churches That Are Targeting Israel

Photo: Joshua Lott, New York Times
This is a guest blog by Professor William D. Rubinstein:

A few days ago, the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to divest its investments in three companies doing business with Israel on the West Bank.  The vote (310:303) was extremely narrow.  At the same time, the church voted to endorse “gay” marriage.  I don’t agree with either action, but as I am not a member of that church its actions are none of my business.

However, in this guest blog I would like to highlight a number of important characteristics of some mainstream Protestant churches such as the Presbyterian Church (USA) which may not be known to many readers, and focus on two such churches in particular.

These characteristics are:
(a)    Each is a small, now ultra-liberal Protestant denomination;
(b)   Each is obsessed with Israel’s alleged crimes, while utterly failing to criticise far worse and more barbaric activities by other countries, especially in the Islamic world;
(c)    Most importantly, each of these denominations is rapidly and demonstrably losing membership, to the extent that they may well disappear.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) was once a fairly conservative mainstream Protestant sect, deriving from Scotland in the Reformation.  Fifty years ago, it would obviously not have endorsed either policy referred to above.  As it has shrunk in size and importance, the church – like many others of a similar type – has moved ever further to the Left, losing ever more of its conservative members.

Israel is absolutely central to the church's current foreign demonology, not North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or (God forbid) Cuba.  One might imagine that this focus is due to the age-old, inglorious tradition of Christian antisemitism, and although this may well be a component of the church's stance, it would be more accurate to see it as a facet of the church’s anti-conservative, anti-American, anti-Western world-view, especially since it ignores the barbarism carried out every day in the Islamic world.

The main point I want to highlight here, however, is that the Presbyterian Church (USA) is, literally, dying on its feet.  Its membership has declined (see Wikipedia) from 3,101,000 in 1984 to 1,176,000 in 2013.  In 2012 and 2013 alone, it lost over 10 per cent of its total membership.  According to one church spokesman in 2013, “projections are for an anticipated loss of perhaps 500,000 members over the next three-four years, about 25 per cent of the denomination’s membership”.

Any business with this record of abject failure would, of course, sack its entire management at the first opportunity, and adopt an entirely new business model.  Not so the Presbyterians.  The more they jump on every looney-left bandwagon that rolls along, the emptier their pews become, a fact obviously not lost on whoever is in charge of this church.

Then there is the United Church of Canada, a merger of the Methodists, Congregationalists, and some Presbyterians.  Its website is a veritable pastiche of every conceivable leftwing “politically correct” bandwagon that happens on by.  “Happy World Pride”, given prominent space, turns out to be an endorsement of the “International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia”.  “The United Church of Canada Celebrates World Pride Day”, it proclaims.  “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission” (á lá post-Apartheid South Africa) is “a comprehensive response to the legacy of [Canadian American] Indians".  And so it goes: “Fast For The Climate”, “Call For Justice For Victims of Extrajudicial Killings”, automatic opposition to the Canadian pipeline, and so on.

You guessed it: only one foreign policy issue figures prominently on their website, and it ain’t North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Cuba.  Members of the church are called upon “to take concrete action to support the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories”.  What is highly questionable is the highlighting of this conflict itself, and the utter silence of the church about, say, the enormities and barbarities carried out on a daily basis throughout the Islamic world against women, non-Muslims, Muslims of the wrong sect, political dissidents, and virtually everyone else – the usual double standards of the left-liberal politically correct brigade throughout the West.

Indeed, in 2012 the church voted in favour of BDS as triumphantly reported on Press TV, to which the church kindly gave a statement.  There is more on its BDS activities here and on its history, embraced causes, numerical decline (see below), and attitude to Israel here.

Canada is a democracy, and if the United Church of Canada wants to endorse BDS or anything else, that’s its own business.  What is striking, as in the case of the US Presbyterians, is that this church is losing members at a rapid and ever-increasing rate of decline.  According to Wikipedia, the church’s membership peaked in 1964 at 1.1million.  By 2008, it had a membership of 525,000, less than half of its membership in the 1960s, with only 200,000 attending on a regular basis.  By 2010, the membership had fallen to 490,000.  According to one analyst, “it lost 55 per cent of its members while Canada’s population grew 78 per cent”.

The last Canadian census showed that two million people claimed to belong to this denomination, but the next time most of them are likely to attend a service is when they are the only person in the room unable to hear the eulogy delivered in their honour.

That church’s consistent left-wing orientation has not escaped the attention of the Canadian press and commentators, with many critics condemning the church’s stance.  “The United Church [Is] Little More Than a Left-Wing Club”, one columnist noted in The Calgary Herald (24 August 2012), and many other similar opinions are available online.  “Canada’s United Church: Christianity? Or Now Simply Another left-Wing Activist Cult?” goes one.

Here's a relevant video, highlighting the church's hypocritical double standards where Israel is concerned:

  
I suppose that, within a generation or so, this church will virtually disappear.  Many will say “Good riddance”.  What is true of this church is also true of most other ultra-liberal Protestant denominations throughout the West.  The points made here could be multiplied a dozen times.  As to the Canadian scene, to quote Wikipedia: “Non-denominational churches and conservative denominations like the Assemblies of God and Christian Missionary Alliance are growing.”


(Daphne adds: See the US Presbyterian Church's Facebook page where it is getting angry messages from Jews and Xians alike to its recent vote; more opposition outlined here and here. In view of the widely shown photo at the top of this post [credit: Joshua Lott, for New York Times] of jubilant Israel-haters shown in the the throes of a seemingly orgasmic thrill over the gift from the church of a shoddy BDS victory, it's not surprising that some pro-Israel elements on Facebook and elsewhere are reminding them that to be true Israel-boycotters they'll have to forsake their computers!  Below: crowing over the Presbyterian vote on, of all things, the propaganda channel of that notable abuser of human and Christian rights, the Islamic Republic of Iran!)



3 comments:

  1. Although I am a supporter of same sex marriages, this is a great essay on the direction of the PCUSA and the UCC, who like the American Studies Assoc, have decided not only to "start somewhere" in the case of Israel but are broadly silent about truly egregious human rights abuses if not actually supplying human shields to protect totalitarian thugs.

    If the former is expected to lose roughly 50% of its membership within the next three or four years, it won't be a generation's time before it is gone. It will be much sooner, and good riddance.

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  2. David Duke also applauded the decision of PCUSA, that tells you all we need to know

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  3. Antisemitism in the Presbyterian Church (USA) itemised in brief:
    ngo-monitor.org/article.php?viewall=yes&id=4261
    Full report here: NGOM_IPMN_June_2014.pdf

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