What about persecuted Christians?
The Church of Scotland needs to ask itself why it is ignoring the suffering of Christians (and other religious and ethnic minorities) who are suffering terrible acts of violence outside of the Holy Land
Here we go again. Christians are under attack in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia, and yet another Christian deliberative body is gathering to talk about – who else – the Jews.
This time it is the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, slated to begin on May 18th in Edinburgh. In addition to conducting the business necessary to maintain the church as a going concern, the 850 attendees at the assembly will deliberate on a text titled The inheritance of Abraham? A report on the ‘promised land.’
The 10-page report is largely based on the Kairos Palestine Document (KPD) written and released in 2009 by a group of Palestinian Christians from the West Bank and Jerusalem who have made their careers from blaming Israel for the suffering of the Palestinian people while failing to hold Palestinian leaders accountable for their misdeeds.
The Kairos Palestine Document lambastes Israel for polluting the Promised Land with its acts of violence while describing Palestinian terrorism as “legitimate resistance.” And the report has its fans and defenders in a number of mainline Protestant churches in the United States even though it was declared anti-Semitic and supersessionist by a group of liberal rabbis in the United States – the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR).
So here we are in 2013. The Church of Scotland has apparently decided it wants to join the fray by issuing a document that restates and builds on what was stated in the Kairos Document four years ago.
The document put before the General Assembly posits a tension between the Jewish desire for a sovereign state of their own and the rights of non-Jews in Israel, as if Israeli Arabs do not enjoy more rights in Israel than Arabs do anywhere else in the Middle East.
It describes Israel’s creation as a response to Western guilt over the Holocaust, completely ignoring the presence of huge numbers of Jews from Arab countries who moved to Israel to get out from under centuries of Muslim oppression.
And like the Kairos Palestine Document it is based on, the document before the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly invokes the notion of the Holy Land to highlight Israeli sin while saying nothing about the manifest sins perpetrated by Arab and Muslim leaders.
In sum, the document is written as if Zionism was the only ideology affecting life in the Middle East, as if the Jews are the only people who can be held accountable for their actions in the region, and as if Islamism did not exist. The document is simply not a reliable map to the moral and ethical concerns facing Christians today.
Looking at the blue book of the Church of Scotland’s upcoming General Assembly, it’s pretty hard to find any reference to the ongoing destruction of Christianity in the Middle East and North Africa, which used to be the church’s center of gravity.
Maybe I missed it, but there doesn’t seem to be any expression of outrage, or even concern about the mistreatment of Christians in Muslim-majority countries. If I’m not mistaken, it’s simply not on the agenda, and if it is, it doesn’t seem to generate the same amount of attention that the Arab-Israeli conflict does.
The word “Egypt” appears three times in the assembly’s blue book but these references seem to be associated with the Old Testament. Did the printer leave something out? Is there an appendix I’ve missed? I hope I did miss something, but experience suggests I didn’t.
The word “Copt” appears nowhere in the blue book for the upcoming General Assembly. Just to make sure, I even plugged the word “Copt” into the church’s website and got three links referencing a helicopter crash. Is the plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt even on the Church of Scotland’s radar?
The Church of Scotland needs to ask itself why it is ignoring the suffering of Christians (and other religious and ethnic minorities) who are suffering terrible acts of violence outside of the Holy Land. Is their blood less valuable to God because it is spilled in Cairo, Baghdad or Damascus and not Jerusalem?
If the Church of Scotland is not careful, its upcoming General Assembly will become an orgy of Israel-bashing and a whitewash of Islamist violence against Christians.
We’ve had enough of that, now haven’t we?
Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
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