Monday, August 15, 2005

A wall that holds back understanding 

John Hinderaker has written an excellent review of the ELCA's regrettable denial of Palestinian responsibility for Middle East unrest, laying blame instead on Israel's protective wall. Two quick points I would add: First, the World Council of Churches tends to be the instigator of these resolutions. I recall the one time I was unable to participate in a service one Sunday was due to a text the pastor chose to use from the National Council just before the election last year that was a thinly veiled denunciation of George Bush. (Scroll down that last link to "church bulletin inserts" to see the kinds of things NCC/WCC wants included in your Sunday service.)

Second, I don't find this imbalance at all surprising. In my congregation, actions of the Palestinians are seen to have a religious basis, but Israeli actions are seen as political. Since we cannot bring ourselves to a moral clarity that understands the blasphemy of Palestinian violence against Islam, largely because we don't understand it, neither can my fellow parishioners understand the humanizing, ethical value of Israeli democracy and the desire to protect it. One wonderful thing our church (like John, I'm an ELCA Lutheran) has done is to use Bible study time to understand other world religions. I wish we'd do more, but it's a start. I don't know what John does to bring that discussion into the ELCA; I'm busy trying to get them to understand market economics.