The Shameful Racism of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

As a Presbyterian, albeit a member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) it grieves me to see headlines like this, from Commentary:Presbyterians Escalate War on Jews.

This story follows another, called Presbyterians Declare War on the Jews, and details the Presbyterian Church, USA’s outright embrace of anti-Semitism. Fresh off a closely defeated attempt to join the fringe BDS movement, the church has actually disseminated racist tracts and shunned a leader who had the audacity to visit Israel in cooperation with mainstream Jewish groups. Jonathan Tobin explains, first regarding the anti-Semitic tract:

As the Times of Israel reports, the Presbyterians’ Israel Palestinian Mission Network (IPMN) has issued a “study guide” about the Middle East conflict that will forever change the relationship between the church and the Jewish people. The 74-page illustrated booklet and companion DVD entitled Zionism Unsettled was published last month for use by the church’s 2.4 million members. Unlike other left-wing critiques of Israel, the Presbyterian pamphlet isn’t content to register disapproval of Israeli policies and West Bank settlements or to lament the plight of the Palestinians. The booklet is a full-blown attack against the very concept of Zionism and seeks to compare Zionism to the Christian anti-Semitism that led to the Holocaust and other historical atrocities. Its purpose is to brand Israel as an illegitimate entity and to treat its American Jewish supporters as having strayed from the values of their religion. Zionism Unsettled not only swallows the Palestinian narrative about Middle East history whole, it is nothing less than a declaration of war on Israel and American Jewry.

Next, Tobin examines the case of the shunned pastor:

What has happened is that a Virginia Beach pastor who was slated to take a leadership role in a church forum at its annual General Assembly has been pressured to resign by Presbyterian Church USA officials. What was his offense? Taking part in two trips to Israel sponsored by a Jewish group. As Rev. Albert Butzer relates in a piece he wrote about his experience for The Presbyterian Outlook, he had looked forward to being the official moderator of the Committee on Middle East Issues at the denomination’s General Assembly. But he was forced out when it came out that he had gone to Israel on trips organized by the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, Virginia. Though he had previously been to the region on two trips organized by the Palestinians, the mere fact that he had been exposed to Israel’s side of the story in the conflict was enough to brand him as untrustworthy.

I’d encourage you to follow the links and read the entire accounts. The pull quotes don’t do justice to the seething hatred. Follow the links and despair at where fashionably Left devotion to “social justice” leads.

This, combined with the church’s acceptance of legalized abortion — a racist, eugenic construct that has taken a horrific toll on minority communities — represent acts of evil. Would Christ traffic in the lies spread by jihadist death cults and shun the only Middle East democracy that protects the liberty of His followers?

Tobin says, “Jews and all Christians and people of faith who truly care about peace should make it clear that so long as the Presbyterian Church USA is waging war on the Jews, they will treat it as a hate group masquerading as a community of faith.”

Exactly so. The PCUSA – in its long migration from orthodox Christianity — is shaming itself and damaging the very name of the church. Will its fellow-travelers in the religious Left, those who pride themselves on opposing racism in all its forms, condemn this blatant hate?

I’m not holding my breath.

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  • Ben Daniel

    I notice the author provides no link to the study “Zionism Unsettled,” nor does he commend it to his readers as original source material so that we can read it and see for ourselves wether or not the alarmist concerns are merited. Nor does the author note that the body responsible for the study does not speak for the PCUSA as a whole, but it is merely an advisory board. I’ll save my thoughts about not bearing false witness against one’s neighbor for another time; here is a link to the study (which unfortunately is not being distributed for free): http://www.israelpalestinemissionnetwork.org/main/component/content/article/70/256-zionism-unsettled

  • RustbeltRick

    I refuse to believe a conservative would be sloppy with the truth!

  • Yonah

    This game by certain Presbyterian leaders has been going on for a long time. That they ramp up their hatred over time is just the natural devolutionary trajectory of still needing something to do with resident hatred within. The same has been true of certain characters in all the mainline churches. These people do not represent many in the pew and are often countered by the pew through protest and petition. These are people that are many times removed from the funding that supports them by use of corporate denominational compartments. At every turn, they seek to evade accountability to their own pew. This is of course is one example of an overall mentality which has spawed conservative split-off denominations and resident organized protest movements within these mainline denominations. I am not a conservative, but I know very well the abysmal politically corrupt way that these people seek to use the overall funding from the pew for their agenda. Such is an unrighteous relationship with people you disagree with. If any want to counter Israeli state policy, let them do it from their own fronts…and their own money…without the claim they speak for people in their pews. In anticipation that such people will always claim their rights by fact that, with much much work, they are often able to facilitate gerry mandering of denominational delagates in order to pass certain denominatioal resolutions in denominational conventions…what they don’t tell folk is that such resolutions often take multiple attempts with different wording in order to pass. Word-smithing is a timeless art in politics and in using any organization including the Church to further policies that are little connected to the average persons who fund the whole system. Your attempted defense utilizing the compartment methodology is lame….and quite late. For indeed, EVERYONE has been there and seen the movie before. It’s why most people don’t trust any western institutions anymore.

  • Ray Roberts

    First, Butzer was not asked to resign because he went on the trips to Israel, but because he did not disclose that he went on two trips paid for by Israelis. There is a rule requiring transparency and he did not follow it.

    Second, I encourage Reverend French to speak with Palestinian Christians and see if they would agree with his assertion that Israel protects their liberties. He might start with the President of Bethlehem Bible College, an evangelical.

    Third, as an orthodox member of the PCUSA, I am saddened by his characterization of me.

  • Jeremy Forbing

    Racism and questioning the morality of Zionism are not the same thing.

  • Yonah

    It is the same. The notion that the word “Zionism” can be slung around as denoting some monolithic ideology can only be grounded in what Bill Maher has called “the world’s oldest hatred”.

  • Fiddler On The Roof

    So if Jews are a race, doesn’t that make Israel a racist state? It’s on record that they’ve given out DNA tests to immigrants to determine who’s qualified to come in and who’s not.

  • Yonah

    Jews are not a race, and you’re using David Dukes’s website spin on the issue. First, you exhibit no logic here. The fact that one political unit of the Israeli government went to the idea of using recent dna technology to adjudicate tricky cases of former Soviet Union Jewish identity establishment has nothing to do with Zionism or even the historic criteria for Jewish identity. The fact that Russian Jews take umbrage at the policy itself establishes that they do not subscribe to what you have attempted to assert…thus, your total lack of logic and thinking through a post before posting it. More generally, the whole field of dna testing has been more utilized to strengthen Jewish identity claims…as in Africa and Northern India. Israel’s politics are as robust as Americas with all positions across the spectrum. Many issues forwarded by government agencies are countered by Israeli courts just like in America. So. If I as a convert am opposed by an Israeli government office on the issue of Jewish identity, but then I win in the Israeli courts….are then Israel and Jews at large racist or not….depending on how my case comes out?

    Or. As I am an American and live in the same country as Joe Arpaio and David Duke, am I a racist? Are you?

  • Fiddler On The Roof

    Hey, you’re the one who said that hating on Zion–oh I’m sorry, JEWS, is racism. You’re backpedaling, bud, but nice attempt at distracting away from that by implying that I dissed Russian Jewish immigrants when I did no such thing.

  • Yonah

    After thousands of years of the same old hatred, any Jew knows that anti-Zionist hate is done by people who hold to a false belief that Jews are a race (that they hate) and that Jews think of themselves as a race…and a superior race at that. Jews know their opposition. The BS Detector comes standard with circumcision.

  • Fiddler On The Roof

    “For most of the 3,000-year history of the Jewish people…[Jews] usually referred to themselves as a ‘race.'”
    – David Duke

    HAHA, wrong attribution actually. That’s actually from…a Jewish website.

    http://forward.com/articles/155742/jews-are-a-race-genes-reveal/?p=all

    Whoops.

  • Jeremy Forbing

    Wikipedia defines Zionism as “the national movement of Jews and Jewish culture that supports the creation of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the Land of Israel..” It goes on to say, “Defenders of Zionism say it is a national liberation movement for the repatriation of a dispersed socio-religious group to what they see as an abandoned homeland millennia before. Critics of Zionism see it as a colonialist or racist ideology that led to the denial of rights, dispossession and expulsion of the ‘indigenous population of Palestine.'” Is the existence of that last sentence on Wikipedia a sign of racism? Am I being racist by re-posting it here? Just because it is not monolithic doesn’t make questioning it racist– are the Jews (religious and non-religious) who question Zionism being anti-Semitic?

  • Yonah

    Your post is a text book example of why this old school teacher will always say, Wikipedia is not a valid source for research. You’re quoting anonymous writers. Go talk to Jews. You’ll find all kinds of Jewish definitions of “Zionism”.

    The typical game is to is to use the word “Zionism” as a shield or shill for “Jews”…to be anti-semitic without being caught at it.

    For all the anti-Zionist Jews I keep hearing about, I still haven’t met any. There are ultra Orthodox who harbor such views for religious reasons, but I don’t think they are the ones being alluded to in the oft expressed claims of anti-Zionist Jews.

    Personally, I know of Jews who oppose various Israeli state policies toward Palestinians who still claim to be Zionist…and more loyal and proper Zionists at that. I am one. To assume that the Israeli/Jewish left is, or should be, anti-Zionist is trying to write the rules for Jews from the outside. Ain’t gonna happen.

  • http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/02/muslims-our-natural-allies Edward Kefas

    The Presbyterians beware, look whats happening to the Pope:

    Jerusalem authorities ask Catholics to take down banner welcoming Pope Francis
    http://mondoweiss.net/2014/05/jerusalem-authorities-welcoming.html

  • andre

    hinduism is a peaceful religion that honors all life ,abrahamic religions are self destructive-muslims and christians kill each other and persecuting their parent religion judaism—islam,christians they are the most cruel humans existing only dharma can save the world.they talk about1000 muslims in gujarat why not ask iran,iraq of killing 2 millon muslims in a useless war.ask bahrain why bahrain destroyed 55 shia mosques.till date no hindu has harmed shia mosque and babri masjid was abondoned neglected by itsmuslims for years.also ask saudi why they destroy mohammed’s mother grave and his house.stop the hypocrisy. Also remeber that no hindu harmed adescendent of prophet while muslims killed hussain and other descendents.jesus was jewish just imagine how many of his aunts,uncles were killed by christians!

  • Harmony

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