Zionism Unsettled: Presbyterian network pushes a new dialogue on Zionism

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
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Zionism Unsettled cover art

Zionism Unsettled cover art

The indomitable Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is at it again. They continue to do yeoman’s work breaking down walls over the challenge of resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict.  They’ve now published a 74-page illustrated study guide Zionism Unsettled, including a free CD,  to open a new dialogue and puts an “end to the silence surrounding the impact of Zionism.”

The guide engages, informs, and tackles important questions like “What role have Zionism and Christian Zionism played in shaping attitudes and driving historical developments in the Middle East and around the world? How do Christians, Jews, and Muslims understand the competing claims to the land of Palestine and Israel? What steps can be taken to bring peace, reconciliation, and justice to the homeland that Palestinians and Israelis share?”

Below is their recent press release with reviews by Rev. Cliff Kirkpatrick,  Walter Brueggemann, Neve Gordon, and Rashid Khalidi.

Press Release:

 

The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is pleased to announce the publication of its newest educational resource, Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study GuideThis Study Guide is a condensed and edited version of a longer book entitled Zionism and the Quest for Justice in the Holy Land which will be published in 2014 by Pickwick Publications, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers.

Released to immediate critical acclaim, Zionism Unsettled is published to help bring about an end to the silence surrounding the impact of Zionism, and to encourage open discussions on the topic in church and society.

Rev. Cliff Kirkpatrick, Visiting Professor of Ecumenical Studies and Global Ministries at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and former Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) sees a need for a deeper understanding of Zionism.  “I encourage pastors and congregations to take advantage of this new publication. Zionism Unsettled provides a valuable opportunity to explore the political ideology of Zionism. Our congregations need to understand not only the humanitarian crisis or the specific policies involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but also to examine the basic framework that lies behind these policies and crises,” said Kirkpatrick.

Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, remarks “The urgency of the Palestinian plight in the face of Israeli intransigence indicates that intentional, concrete, and sustained public action is necessary to respond credibly to the crisis. Zionism Unsettled is a welcome study guide. It will prove an effective vehicle for helping to mobilize public opinion so that both attitudes and policies can be transformed in the face of an imperious and exploitative ideology.”

What role have Zionism and Christian Zionism played in shaping attitudes and driving historical developments in the Middle East and around the world? How do Christians, Jews, and Muslims understand the competing claims to the land of Palestine and Israel? What steps can be taken to bring peace, reconciliation, and justice to the homeland that Palestinians and Israelis share?

Zionism Unsettled embraces these critical issues fearlessly with inspiring scope. The booklet and DVD draw together compelling and diverse perspectives from Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Israel, Palestine, the US, and around the globe. By contrasting mainstream perceptions with important alternative perspectives frequently ignored in the media, Zionism Unsettled serves as a guide to deeper understanding.

Prof. Neve Gordon, Israeli political scientist and author of Israel’s Occupation speaks of the need for Zionism Unsettled,  “In my work I am inspired by the great Jewish prophets’ struggle for justice and freedom, while simultaneously I am often astounded how certain strains in Judaism and Christianity invoke the Bible in order to justify oppression and social wrongs in Israel/Palestine. Therefore I welcome the effort to emphasize a conception of Judaism and Christianity that espouses universalistic ethics – whereby all humans are imago dei – and to use it to expose injustices carried out in my homeland.”

Dr. Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University in New York, notes “The denial of the rights of the Palestinians is largely driven by the exemption of Zionist ideology and its real-world implications from any serious scrutiny. Zionism Unsettled explains accurately and concisely why it is essential to look at the theological roots of Zionism, and how it has appealed to both Jews and Christians, in order to understand the true nature of the long ordeal suffered by the Palestinian people, as well as the real roots of so much of the strife in the Middle East.”

Zionism Unsettled, released today, consists of a 74-page illustrated booklet and an accompanying free DVD. A how-to guide for class leaders with focused discussion prompts makes this an ideal resource for multi-week exploratory educational programs in churches, synagogues, mosques and all classroom settings, faith-based or secular.

To order: http://store.pcusa.org/2646614001

I’ve already ordered mine (only $10!!!).

(Hat tip Betsy)

No Responses Yet

  1. W.Jones
    January 15, 2014, 2:35 pm

    Let me know if anyone here gets a copy, please!

    • Annie Robbins
      January 15, 2014, 2:45 pm

      i plan on writing a review after i read/view it w.jones, so you will for sure be hearing back from me. and i’ve heard mark braverman may also be reviewing it for us. we’ll be following up on this unprecedented effort.

      • Susie Kneedler
        January 15, 2014, 3:12 pm

        Brilliant title. Thanks, Annie, for telling us about it right away, as usual.

        Hi W. Jones: The guide’s for sale–with discounts for bulk orders–at Annie’s link above, “Zionism Unsettled”: or here: link to store.pcusa.org
        link to israelpalestinemissionnetwork.org.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 15, 2014, 3:32 pm

        much appreciated susie but i can’t take credit for that title! the press release title is very close to that.

      • Susie Kneedler
        January 15, 2014, 5:49 pm

        And the whole idea of “unsettling” Zionism’s push to “settle” [steal] others’ land is perfect.
        Thanks, Israel Palestine Mission Network, Presbyterian Church (USA).

    • W.Jones
      January 15, 2014, 3:56 pm

      Annie,

      One thing I am particularly interested in will be the document’s take on the idea of “Supersessionism” or “Replacement Theology”. In theory, this is an idea that now all believers are God’s people, and that God has now chosen everyone to belong to Him instead of just one nation.

      In practice, however, Braverman explains that “repudiating… replacement theology” is one of the rules of interfaith dialogue that is used to affirm land claims in the Middle East:
      link to emeu.net (Beyond interfaith reconciliation, p.9)

      Thus for example in his Mondoweiss interview about the Church of Scotland Document, Braverman voices his belief that his statement was censored out after criticism because it sounded too much like the “Supersessionism”.

      For me, I think this is one of the most interesting areas of discussion. For Christianity, I think it is probably even more important that it is allowed to value and freely express its theology than even to critique Israeli politics.

      Of course one can do one and not the other, but as Braverman explains, the rule against “Supersessionism” is put forth as a “ground rule” that then encloses and redirects discussions along lines that in fact then confirm and support the premises of nationalism.

      Thank you for your work, Annie.

      • bilal a
        January 15, 2014, 7:19 pm

        In order to stop antisemitism, We must have Christianity and Islam both renounce their core beliefs on non racial tests for salvation.
        (supersessionism).

      • W.Jones
        January 15, 2014, 11:41 pm

        I think you are catching on, bilal.

        For the Roman Catholic Church, Vatican II in 1965 was a watershed event, as the Church undertook a long overdue examination of its attitudes toward the Jewish people. Christian-Jewish “interfaith” dialogue was originally undertaken to break down age-old barriers of fear and mistrust between the two communities. Today, however, this dialogue now follows clear rules… These rules are playing out in the academy, in the pews, in interfaith relations on the highest levels, and in everyday encounters. They are rendered more powerful by never being stated or acknowledged.

        The use of the historical argument to control… “dialogue” between Christians and Jews takes second place only to the imperative of repudiating replacement theology. In the June 2009 edition of CrossCurrents, a quarterly on religion with a progressive and interfaith bent, published an issue titled “The Scandal of Particularity.” The title of this issue, which features articles by Jewish, Catholic and Protestant authors, suggests a critical analysis of the claim of any religion to a superior or exclusive path to God. In fact, however only Christian particularity is targeted by this publication.

        Braverman then discusses one article:

        P. Mark Achtemeier, a Presbyterian pastor and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, contributes a piece entitled “Jews and Gentiles in the Divine Economy.” “History,” he observes, has…dramatically failed to unfold as supercessionist [sic] theologies would have led one to expect.” [H]e holds that the persistent survival and cultural vitality of the Jewish people is evidence of God’s enduring love for his entire creation. This theme carries through the entire issue, a publication purportedly devoted to the “scandal of particularity!”

        In fact, this is a mischaracterization of “supersessionist” expectations. In general, the main “supersessionist” writers actually did expect that the people would survive. Those of the supersessionist writers who expected full cultural vitality to return shared the belief of the medieval rabbis that it would await the Messianic era. Thus, even when/if their expectation was incorrect, it was at least partly in line with rabbinical thought.

        I am eager to see if the document follows the rule Braverman mentioned of opposing “supersessionism”.

      • richb
        January 16, 2014, 12:13 am

        Here’s a theological response to the accusation of so-called replacement theology. Best line, “Christian Zionists are obsessed with prophesy but are not prophetic.”

        link to vimeo.com

      • W.Jones
        January 16, 2014, 1:50 am

        Rich,

        He is a good speaker, Munther Isaac, and is actually a Baptist minister, I think.

      • richb
        January 16, 2014, 10:50 am

        While he may be Baptist he went to a conservative Presbyterian seminary and reflects Presbyterian views. The following remains from the original 1788 Presbyterian Book of Order:

        Therefore we consider the rights of private judgment, in all matters that re- spect religion, as universal and unalienable: We do not even wish to see any religious constitution aided by the civil power, further than may be necessary for protection and security, and at the same time, be equal and common to all others.

        As shown above American Presbyterianism has always been opposed to theocracy. Faux historians like David Barton have tried to create a myth of a Christian nation but at least for the Presbyterians and Baptists this was not the case. The Presbyterians fought the establishment of generic Protestantism in Virginia and the Baptists in New England. See the book Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an for more details.

        Furthermore, Presbyterians oppose Dispensationalism which is the theological core of Christian Zionism. The fundamentalist Carl McIntyre split with the conservative Orthodox Presbyterian Church in part over his adoption of Dispensationalism.

      • W.Jones
        January 16, 2014, 11:54 am

        The fundamentalist Carl McIntyre split with the conservative Orthodox Presbyterian Church in part over his adoption of Dispensationalism.

        Dispensationalism is not very “Orthodox”, is it, Rich?
        :)

    • Hostage
      January 15, 2014, 7:27 pm

      I just ordered a copy.

      • W.Jones
        January 15, 2014, 8:27 pm

        Excellent, Hostage.

  2. seafoid
    January 15, 2014, 2:47 pm

    Wallahi. It comes down to morality versus immoral ideology . If Judaism won’t do it the Christians will have to.

    Weren’t the bots really stupid to cross the Presbyterians ? The Dersh can scream anti-Semitism on high doh but the game is up for hasbara

    Suck on that, Israel

    link to youtube.com

    .

    • pabelmont
      January 15, 2014, 3:00 pm

      seafoid, as Khalidi suggests above, religions are malleable, and both Judaism and Christianity have been pushed around (of late — since 1945?) to give the OK for atrocious business in The Land, whereas both Judaism and Christianity ALSO have healthy “readings” which support the notions, also suggested above, that all people are made in the image of God, and that it is NOT OK to zap Palestinians just because they are deemed to be browner-skinned than Jews are deemed to be. Or whatever.

      • seafoid
        January 15, 2014, 3:14 pm

        Either we are all sacred or nobody is sacred

      • Citizen
        January 15, 2014, 6:30 pm

        That does not matter as much as who has the best guns.

      • seafoid
        January 16, 2014, 9:25 am

        Citizen

        It matters when you run an open consumerist economy. Guns won’t put food on the table.
        The nukes are useless in the face of BDS. It’s like paper-scissors-Dome of the Rock

      • RoHa
        January 15, 2014, 9:08 pm

        We are all descended from the Gods, so we are all sacred. Of course, some are in a more direct line from Amaterasu than others, and so are more sacred . She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed reminds me of this from time to time.

      • seafoid
        January 16, 2014, 11:00 am

        I think the Zionist interpretation is “we are all scared”

      • W.Jones
        January 16, 2014, 11:56 am

        ((I think the Zionist interpretation is “we are all scared”))

        I noticed that too.

    • W.Jones
      January 18, 2014, 12:11 pm

      Seafoid,

      Your video is down.

  3. ritzl
    January 15, 2014, 3:04 pm

    Isn’t the editor of this the same guy that managed the PCUSA debate on this? I thought I saw it on twitter but may be wrong. Maybe Betsy can background this a little.

    In any event, this is a great example that the Presbys aren’t going to let this drop, in their thorough, educate-and-decide way.

    Thanks Annie.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 15, 2014, 3:35 pm

      i really hope betsy shows up here ritzl

      edit, oh goodness she’s here already..

      ;)

  4. richb
    January 15, 2014, 3:31 pm

    It was interesting to watch the 2012 General Assembly debate concerning divestment. The Presbyterian Church has youth advisory delegates who don’t count on the final vote but vote before the voting delegates. The divestment motion for the Presbyterian Board of Pensions barely failed but the youth delegates nearly unanimously supported it. Generational overturn inside the Presbyterian Church will ultimately change things.

  5. Krauss
    January 15, 2014, 3:33 pm

    Interesting, Annie. I would love for you to review it on this site(if possible). I’m on a tight food budget right now, my books are costing me a fortune at the start of the year.

    • W.Jones
      January 15, 2014, 4:03 pm

      Yes.

    • irishmoses
      January 15, 2014, 6:49 pm

      Hell, Krauss, I’d contribute to your book fund. You’re becoming a much-treasured MW contributor (with minor and occasional exceptions, including some failures to respond to critical replies). (<: [humor symbol]

      I could scan my copy when I get it and send it to you. The mechanics of that would be up to you.

      • W.Jones
        January 15, 2014, 11:50 pm

        Irish,

        There is one particular topic that I would be anxious for you to check in your copy of this subversive literature, and this is whether they balance their opposition to C.Zionism with the standard fare denunciation of Christianity’s nefarious “Supersessionism”.

        Shalom, and Erin Go Bra.

      • seafoid
        January 16, 2014, 10:34 am

        “Erin go bra”

        Very few bikini wearers in Ireland in summer, really . It’s too cold.

      • irishmoses
        January 16, 2014, 11:43 am

        Plus, as I recall all those Erins burned their bras back in the day.

      • W.Jones
        January 16, 2014, 11:58 am

        Erin happens to like ice swimming on occasion.

      • irishmoses
        January 16, 2014, 1:18 pm

        I will check W. Jones. However, I must tell you that during one dark and stormy Lent in my tortured youth I made the ultimate sacrifice and gave up Catholicism. I doubt the leaders of Mother Church would want me mucking around in the archives, but I will check the article and get back to you.

        Any regret I may have had about my decision was dashed by our trendy new Pope’s recent fawning statement that “the Jews are really our big brothers.” Big Brother indeed. I won’t be darkening the doors of Mother Church any time soon.

        Also, I must dash any illusions you may have that I am truly Irish. I am US born and live in a small city west of Los Angeles. My nom de plume stems from my father’s history in Israel an his role in flying Jews from around the world to Israel in 1949-50. Ben-Gurion allegedly referred to him as the Irish Moses, hence my nom. (see my blog at http://www.irishmoses.com for further details).

        I do have an Irish surname and supposedly some Irish roots. From what I’ve learned on MW, this gives me an irrevocable Right of Return to the Emerald Isle, automatic Irish citizenship, welfare benefits, and the right to evict any semi-Irish undesirable family and move into their home. I expect all MW Irish citizens to welcome me with open arms and put me up for a few months until I pick a house I can seize. Unfortunately, the weather there sucks so I won’t be exercising my Right of Return until we’re further (much further) into Global Warming.

      • W.Jones
        January 16, 2014, 3:38 pm

        Irish Moses,

        You have quite a story. When I mentioned checking in the subversive literature, I meant checking in your new copy of Zionism Unsettled to see if it rejects words like “Replacement” or “Supers___”, as a kind of “disclaimer” that it is still following the new “rule” that the ancient promises, etc. are not to be re-interpreted.

        Regarding leaving “Mother Church”, I am aware there are real reasons why someone could get disillusioned.

        However, I would propose to you that the “elder brother” relationship is a possible way to look at relations between Christians and Jews. The fact that this is seen in a kind or respectful way I think is not bad. I think that there really are things to respect in the Old Testament. And writers like Braverman or Ellis, or those in Rabbis for Human Rights, do bring spiritual ideas to the table often or on occasion that are helpful.

        St. Jerome related the idea of the elder brother to the story of the Prodigal Son, which perhaps is a good reading of the story. In it, the younger brother becomes estranged from his family, and is separated, but then returns, which is like the idea of the nations who accepted paganism and idolatry then coming back to belief in God. The older brother however objects to all the attention the younger one is getting. But the moral of the story is that people should all be accepting of eachother anyway when they are part of the family.

        St. Jerome by the way is considered one of the old school “Supersessionist” thinkers who broke the “rules” Braverman mentions. Instead of there being just one family with one brother, there is a kind of unity of all people, where the younger brother is fully accepted by his Father and family. Ideally, the two brothers (Jews and non-Jews), separated no longer by religion, should care about eachother and share what they have as one group, rather than being divided.

        Yet this is the basic “Supersessionist” analysis of the writers of “Mother Church” that is considered “anti-semitic”.

        Paul on the other hand, makes it clear that being an older brother does not force a blessed status at all (noting the harsh verse ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau [the older brother] have I hated’).

      • seafoid
        January 16, 2014, 11:08 am

        I would too. Krauss is one of the best posters on this site. The more he (or she) knows, the more we all know !

      • irishmoses
        January 16, 2014, 1:22 pm

        Easy on the compliments seafood; they’ll go to Krauss’ head. Plus, he’s clearly far too young for true wisdom.

      • irishmoses
        January 19, 2014, 5:08 pm

        Seafoid,
        Just noticed that I referred to you as “seafood” in the above post. That was an inadvertent typo that I regret not catching. No misplaced humor or disrespect intended. My apologies.

      • irishmoses
        January 20, 2014, 10:04 am

        W. Jones,
        Thanks for your thoughtful reply. As to the pope’s big brother comment, I’d much prefer he focused on the oppression of the Palestinians than sucked up to a religion that either supports or remains silent about oppression that is being committed in its name to gain an exclusive state in its name. If this pope wants to have a moral impact he needs to start pointing out real evil and demanding real change. Kissing the feet of the poor is meaningless.

        As to Jerome, Paul, and all the others, not to mention debates about supersessionism, I remain ignorant. I will try to find the time to read and digest your many posts on this thread about these interesting topics but that will probably have to wait until I receive the Zionist Unsettled materials.

  6. Betsy
    January 15, 2014, 3:34 pm

    @ritzl — do you know the name of the editor? I dunno who it is, as I immediately tried to order it & it was *already* sold out, like instantly sold out, so I don’t have any details. When you say managed, do you mean the fellow who moderated the debate in the General Assembly? PCUSA is governed a lot like Occupy (many rules, many committees, geeky fascination with process). The moderator is elected by the commissioners who are elected via multiple layers of participating churches & presbyteries. The 2012 Moderator was: Rev. Neal D. Presa, pastor of Middlesex (N.J.) Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth Presbytery. The next General Assembly is Detroit June 14 to 21, 2014 link to oga.pcusa.org and I’m engaged in arcane church political maneuvering to get myself anointed as a commissioner :)

    @ritzl–let me know if I answered a question you weren’t asking…

    Here’s a list of folks who have endorsed this Guide — a really impressive group! link to israelpalestinemissionnetwork.org

    @Annie ;) back

    • ritzl
      January 15, 2014, 3:40 pm

      Yeah, I shouldn’t have just tossed that out there. I think his last name began with an R and he was from STL. But I’ll try to find the tweet and connect some dots.

      Thanks. Good Luck!! Commish. :)

    • ritzl
      January 15, 2014, 6:27 pm

      Sorry Betsy, I don’t know what I thought I read but can’t seem to find it. My bad.

    • irishmoses
      January 15, 2014, 6:53 pm

      Great to see Chas Freeman on the list, but what a shame such a treasure is kept out of government. His stepping down from his Obama appointment was the first indication that Obama lacked the backbone to be an important president.

    • irishmoses
      January 15, 2014, 6:59 pm

      I just ordered mine and got an immediate email confirmation; nothing about out-of-stock or back orders.

    • richb
      January 16, 2014, 11:46 am

      It looks like GA will look even more like Occupy than before due to greater influence of the new form of government.

      If approved by COGA, the Detroit Assembly will feature a 90-minute Thursday morning (June 19) plenary that will be given over to prayer, small group discussion and questions-and-answers about potentially controversial business items rather than parliamentary procedure and debate.

      CRBA member Glenn Bell, a Sarasota pastor, said the session “should streamline debate and give committee leaders to outline their work informally and pastorally.” The idea, said Hay, “is to model thoughtful, relational behavior in advance of the debates.”

      Based on its initial analysis of Assembly business, committee members speculated that marriage issues, the Middle East and proposed changes in the Board of Pensions benefits plans are the three issues most likely to be chosen for the informal plenary.

      “We’re just trying to model what we want General Assembly to become: a place of dialogue, respect, prayer and discernment,” Van Dyke said.

      • Betsy
        January 16, 2014, 12:54 pm

        @richb — whoa!! how cool!

      • richb
        January 16, 2014, 2:11 pm

        Sending the Confession of Belhar for inclusion in our Book of Confessions to the presbyteries for approval should also be on the agenda for GA.

        From last GA:
        link to pc-biz.org

        Here’s a taste:
        link to pcusa.org

        Therefore, we reject any doctrine which, in such a situation sanctions in the name of the gospel or of the will of God the forced separation of people on the grounds of race and color and thereby in advance obstructs and weakens the ministry and experience of reconciliation.

        and

        Therefore, we reject any ideology which would legitimate forms of injustice and any doctrine which is unwilling to resist such an ideology in the name of the gospel.

        This is not just some DVD for a Bible study. Rather, this will probably become part of the confession of the Presbyterian Church.

  7. richb
    January 15, 2014, 3:42 pm

    Cliff Kirkpatrick is a former board member of Churches for Middle East Peace. He is pushing for the anti-apartheid Belhar Confession to be added to our Book of Confessions. The 2012 GA started that process. Here’s a presentation he gave on this:

    link to pcusa.org

  8. Nevada Ned
    January 15, 2014, 3:48 pm

    If I recall correctly, the Presbyterian Church and some other liberal Protestant denominations seriously debated divestment a few years ago, but in the end did not divest. Since then, the problems faced by the oppressed Palestinians have only worsened.
    The decision by the ASA to join the boycott movement, and the publication of Max Blumenthal’s new book, have created a new situation. It’s good to see the PCUSA revisiting the issue.
    The PCUSA is studying the responsibilities of Jews and Christians (not just Jews) for the oppression of Palestinians. And although its adherents don’t play much of a role on the Mondoweiss website, Christian Zionism is an important political and moral force in the US, influencing roughly 40% of the US population, especially among Southern whites.

    • Citizen
      January 15, 2014, 6:44 pm

      A 2006 Zogby International poll commissioned by the CNI Foundation showed that 31 percent of those surveyed in the national poll strongly believe or somewhat believe in the ideas behind Christian Zionism, defined as “the belief that Jews must have all of the promised land, including all of Jerusalem, to facilitate the second coming of the messiah.” Other polls back then bear similar messages, that 53 percent of Americans believe that Israel was given by God to the Jews (Pew), and that 59 percent of the American public believes the prophecies contained in the Book of Revelations will come true (CNN/Time).

      I know a few of these folks; they are good, hard working people, most without even a college degree, but when it comes to Israel, they will send their own kids and yours to fight for Israel in a heartbeat, and they will back any amount of taxpayer money to give to Israel, no conditions attached. It’s simple for them: the Jews are God’s chosen people, and if you love Jesus you will obey Israel, come what may, to assure your ticket to heaven.

      • bilal a
        January 16, 2014, 5:39 pm

        They are beginning to learn how many Zionists treat Christians, when they have the power to do so:

        A few weeks ago, a senior Greek Orthodox clergyman in Israel attended a meeting at a government office in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul quarter. When he returned to his car, an elderly man wearing a skullcap came and knocked on the window. When the clergyman let the window down, the passerby spat in his face.

        The clergyman prefered not to lodge a complaint with the police and told an acquaintance that he was used to being spat at by Jews. Many Jerusalem clergy have been subjected to abuse of this kind. For the most part, they ignore it but sometimes they cannot.

        link to haaretz.com

  9. just
    January 15, 2014, 5:28 pm

    Thank you to the ‘The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).’ The endorsements seem quite extraordinarily solid, and I am truly grateful.

    On my wish list: Zionism Unsettled (or Exposed): A CONGRESSIONAL Study Guide (for idiots).

  10. dbroncos
    January 15, 2014, 6:00 pm

    Great news! Ten years ago the subject of Zionism was officially left alone in the Philly activist circles I was involved with at the time. Calling attention to Israeli injustice, without citing the ideology from which it sprung, was the focus of all the groups I was familiar with, at least that was my understanding of the general approach.

    At that time Presbyterian Church USA had members who grumbled about Israeli injustice including a man who got in hot water for saying that his “fact finding” mission received a warmer welcome from Hezbollah in Lebannon than they did from their Israeli hosts. However, the church as an institution still walked on eggshells concerning all things Israel. A lot has changed since 2004.

  11. JohnWelch
    January 15, 2014, 7:59 pm

    The United Methodists — General Board of Church and Society and the Global Board of Ministry (?) — have not been snoozing. I never remember the acronyms, but both are connected to the United Methodist Kairos Response.

    Take a look at:
    link to umc-gbcs.org

  12. bilal a
    January 16, 2014, 5:32 am

    Zionism unsettled?

    ‘The Wolf’ and the Jewish problem by Rob Eshman, publisher and editor-in-chief of TRIBE Media Corp./Jewish Journal.

    These days, we are deep in the pit arguing over the American Studies Association’s (ASA) boycott of Israeli academics and whether Jewish students at Swarthmore College’s Hillel should open their doors to anti-Zionist speakers. We have devoted so many smart words and fiery sermons to these issues, you’d think the entire Jewish future depended upon them. Never mind that there are bridge clubs bigger than the ASA, and that the State of Israel, with its history, power and genius, may just survive the withering onslaught of a panel discussion in suburban Pennsylvania. The Jewish world never lacks for turbulent conversations. My only concern is whether they’re the right ones. Talking about Israel is easy — talking about money is uncomfortable.

    But these are the conversations we need to be having. What’s the right way to make money? How much is enough? How much must we share, and with whom? We are blessed to be living at a time of unparalleled Jewish power and wealth, and it makes us so uneasy, we prefer to talk about everything but. We have benefited from an economic and political structure that is becoming less and less just. We are enjoying unprecedented wealth as millions struggle on minimum wages, facing hunger, unemployment, benefit cuts, homelessness. We look to our rabbis and institutions for guidance, but too many of them are afraid to upset the wealthy donors upon whom they are dependent. So we talk instead about Israel, about Swarthmore, and our communities become breeding grounds for the next Madoff, the next Belfort.

    That’s not a movie. That’s a shame.

    link to jewishjournal.com

    • seafoid
      January 16, 2014, 10:38 am

      The World Economic forum named income inequality as the biggest risk over the next 10 years

      link to www3.weforum.org

      This and apartheid. If it were a stock it would be profitable to short Zionism.

  13. Citizen
    January 16, 2014, 6:04 am

    More good news in this area is that there’s a movement growing inside the Evangelicals to take a more balanced view than the standard moral and material blank check to Israel. The newer generation of Evangelicals are more open to the plight of the Palestinians, especially the Palestinian Christians: link to veteransnewsnow.com

    • Annie Robbins
      January 16, 2014, 11:38 am

      that would be amazing citizen. keep us up to date if you find other sources. thanks!

      • richb
        January 16, 2014, 6:07 pm

        Christ at the Checkpoint is where the video of Munther Isaac I posted earlier came from. Bethlehem Bible College is an evangelical school in Bethlehem. Lynne Hybels attended the 2012 conference. She is the wife of the pastor of Willow Creek Church, one of the largest mega churches in the country. There was also many Wheaton College students there. Other famous evangelicals speaking at the conference included Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne, Joel Hunter, and Ron Sider.

      • W.Jones
        January 16, 2014, 8:22 pm

        Annie,

        Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding is a major organization working in that field.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 18, 2014, 2:40 pm

        thanks rich, w.jones..will check them out.

  14. amigo
    January 16, 2014, 7:13 am

    OT

    These crazy zios are everywhere.Below is a letter to the Ed Irish times today.

    Sir, – Ariel Sharon was not the bloodthirsty tyrant suggested (Denis Staunton, Opinion, January 13th). He was the personification of ancient Israel. He might well have stepped straight out of the pages of the Book of Judges, a warrior hero raised up to defend Israel and deliver peace to the land. – Yours, etc,

    ENA KEYE,

    Wasdale Park,

    Terenure, Dublin 6.

    I like to believe that the IT published this for the entertainment (light) value.

    Self imposed Myopia anyone.

    link to irishtimes.com

  15. Betsy
    January 16, 2014, 10:53 am

    I get lost in much of the intricate theological debate re/ Zionism of the last 10 to 15 years. But, here’s another question re/ ‘supersession’ that seems to me to be crucial, but is not directly enough engaged. That is: should & can we critique the violent land grab in the Old Testament stories–which suggest that G_d is blessing the taking of land from peaceable indigenous peoples, with particular animus against Earth-based, pantheistic spirituality? To me that’s possible without being anti-Judaism — because there seems to me to be so much more to Judaism — e.g. a wealth of spiritual revelation & ethics that rises above or transmutes the tales of taking other people’s lands. All religions have an ugly particularity, that can & should be critiqued, while honoring the beauty of other aspects of the religion.

    In other words, it looks to me as if there is a kind of ‘supersession’ built into the theology of the Old Testament — which is a violent attack on indigenous peoples & condemnation of religions that see divinity within places & natural entities (note that I do not use the word “Pagan” or “polytheistic” because I feel they have negative connotations after years of triumphalism re/ the so-called ‘monotheistic’ religions). There is a lot of sexism in this also — because the ‘monotheistic’ gods tend to be described as ‘male’ & the ‘nature’ ones as ‘goddesses’.

    As you all know, I’m a devout Presbyterian, but I’m increasingly uncomfortable with what I see as supersessionism in the Old Testament focused on an idolatry of “the land”.

    The important PC(USA) document called “Tearing down the Walls” (about 10 years ago) was an attempt to reach out to Jewish interfaith networks — but it was fiercely condemned by the big pro-Israel groups. In that document, there was a very mild statement re/ the pain & discomfort that one feels reading the Old Testament (or should I say Jewish scriptures? what’s more respectful?) stories of slaughtering people to take their land. This was denounced as an anti-Semitic refusal to listen to Jewish theology & an inability to understand the special relationship to “The Land” — in short as a kind of Christian supersessionism. I lack theological sophistication to say this right — but to me it seems to be a legitimate query as to whether there’s a kind of violent supersessionism built into some of these stories? And, isn’t this a pervasive problem in Christianity & Islam & all monotheisms that condemn Nature-based & pantheism and claim to supercede them in universalizing ways (which have been immensely destructive of indigenous peoples)? At least, in interfaith conversations, shouldn’t we be able to raise this issue?

    Btw, I’ve been periodically attending Temple with a good friend, so that I stay in community across faiths. The last time I went, I feel into conversation with my friend’s friends in the pew (are they called pews in Temple?). All were older women. I was hoping to get educated on Judaism so asked something about G-d & was dazzled when one of them said “Oh, I belong to the atheistic branch of Judaism. I don’t believe in God”, then another said, “Well no, I believe in God as the Earth Mother, the whole earth is sacred” and *all* of the five grandmothers nodded happily & enthusiastically. I was stunned & fascinated. They seemed to relate to Judaism as a kind of ethical tradition & family history — but have a separate diffuse Earth based spirituality. Since, this experience of God fits mine…we had a splendid discussion of our own spiritual experiences, but I didn’t have the nerve to ask them how this fits into their Judaic theology…

    • puppies
      January 16, 2014, 11:24 am

      @Betsy: “They seemed to relate to Judaism as a kind of ethical tradition & family history”…
      “I didn’t have the nerve to ask them how this fits into their Judaic theology…”

      What “Judaic theology”? They told you in so many words what is at the core of all this hooha about temples being turned into nationalist Zionist hotspots. They couldn’t care less about religion; one was clearly an atheist and yet they were there to support their invented nationalism. And their racism. You are extremely nice: calling it attachment to “family history” has to be distinguished as the euphemism of the century. Was the “theology” in full display in the shape of an Israelian occupation flag smack in the middle of the temple or not?

      • Betsy
        January 16, 2014, 12:08 pm

        @puppies — I will be asking them….I know & love my friend & have worked with her on many many many causes of social justice (in which she’s been a stalwart & courageous ally)– I’m not about to judge her nor judge her views until I understand them better…I fault myself for being squeamish in the past about asking where she’s at on Zionism…

      • Citizen
        January 16, 2014, 12:44 pm

        @ Betsy
        It’s simple. If you know I-P conflict history, you will not side with those who support Israel’s conduct for so many decades. Get real.

    • JeffB
      January 16, 2014, 11:50 am

      @Betsy

      I’ve stopped replying here because of the censorship but as a Jew who groks Christianity I thought I’d give this a shot. Christianity, especially Protestantism is a credal religion. As a Presbyterian you are saved sola fide, it is your faith in Jesus which defines whether you are one of the elect or one of the reprobate. Whether Christ died for you is determined ultimately by what you believe not by what you do. Specific practices are much less important. This is why for example your church takes the anti-Donatist position that the spiritual state of the minister has no effect on whether communion is the cup of salvation, it is sacrament regardless, your faith not his perfection makes communion effectual.

      Judaism is a religion of practice. Belief matters little if at all. An atheistic Jew who keeps the mitzvot is a better Jew than a firm believer who ignores breaks them. Jews don’t have the same notion of salvation. But if they did every Jew (exempting messianic Jews) has a “works based salvation”. They all believe that God wants you to do good stuff. Jewish sects split on issues of practice not on obscure issues of theology. There is nothing like the Lutheran / Calvinist divide in Judaism, people that close theologically would happily belong to the same sects.

      Since you mentioned “temple” that means you were talking to Reform Jews. Reform Judaism explicitly endorses theological diversity, “We embrace religious and cultural pluralism as an expression of the vitality of Jewish communal life in Israel and the Diaspora.” (Pittsburg convention). Where Jews are likely to have “denominational splits” is over issues of practice.

      Judaism has some theological speculation but mostly doesn’t have a deep theology. Judaism like Islam would never try to enforce a particular theology about the nature of God so something like the trinitarian / modalist / arian debate could never occur. Judaism doesn’t have the same kind of harsh differentiation between canonical and non-canonical texts rather there is a lot of grey so books can be semi-holy. On the other hand exact processes matter a great deal so the closest equivalent of the liturgical tradition is very rich in Judaism.

      As for the God of the old testament, how you relate to the bible has a great deal to do with where you center your theology. Catholics center their theology on Matthew so that the old testament becomes a type for the later revelations of Jesus. Mary is the fulfillment of the Ark, Jesus is the fulfillment of the temple cult. Luther centered his theology on Romans and John and from that Calvinist theology becomes natural. Jews tend to understand theology the early bible through Deuteronomy the Jewish relationship with God is a covenant of obedience in exchange for blessings. But note this is not a universalist thing it is a particular covenant that Jews have, other people may have other covenants. Judaism doesn’t need to reject Islam for Muslims only for Jews. Law grows out of that foundation. The prophets are a natural expression of the underlying quest for justice and the good not a repudiation of Joshua.

      Getting to the first paragraph. Ultimately the bible both old and new testament reject the concept that some people are forever racially entitled to lands that they live on. All of the land is God’s to allocate as he sees fit based on his will is a theology frequently expressed and demonstrated through out the bible and explicitly preached by Paul. The PCUSA’s position of a permanent racial entitlement for Palestinians is something I believe Calvin (even fully acknowledging that Calvin felt that Jews deserved to die without pity for their obstinacy in rejecting Christ) would have rejected, “Divine Providence has not, without good cause, arranged that different countries should be governed by different forms of polity.” I don’t think the Jewish and Presbyterian position is that far removed if this were two arbitrary tribes and some arbitrary piece of land.

      • W.Jones
        January 19, 2014, 5:00 pm

        Jeff,

        Your ideas were interesting. You mentioned:
        All of the land is God’s to allocate as he sees fit based on his will is a theology frequently expressed and demonstrated through out the bible and explicitly preached by Paul.

        For Paul, the issue of land promises in particular were not so special and he did not focus on this. However, he did feel that the promise to Abraham was inherited by his children the Christians, and that Christians were those of the circumcision, even if they were not physically circumcised. His explanation was that circumcision is of the heart, not the flesh. He added about this was that being Jewish similarly something inwardly. In all of this one can find the idea that if God made a promise to Abraham that included land, then Christians would inherit this. This is all based on the idea of course that Christ was the same as the Jewish Messiah who would be king of Israel and also the world. So ultimately these kinds of blessings and promises that were very wonderful would be allocated to everyone in a caring, equal, nondistinguishing way.

        Also, I think you are quoting Calvin, but I do not really agree that the conclusion you reach is necessarily saying what he meant:

        “Divine Providence has not, without good cause, arranged that different countries should be governed by different forms of polity.” I don’t think the Jewish and Presbyterian position is that far removed if this were two arbitrary tribes and some arbitrary piece of land.

        Calvin was writing at a time when Europe was divided up based on nationalities, so for him this made sense. He looked at the political situation and concluded that this was divine providence. But centuries earlier the Byzantine empire stretched across much of the known world, as have other empires, and they took in many nations. Even in Calvin’s time, there were empires like that of Russia that included many nationalities.

        I do not really agree with Calvin’s approach of looking at a political situation and assuming that it is “divine providence” as if it is the best way to deal with a situation, either. Russia’s way of including many nationalities could actually have been much more better and effective in repelling the Mongols and therefore protecting the many nationalities involved.

        Likewise, a confederation in the Holy Land, or a land for two peoples or religions like in Lebanon or Canada, could be a more ideal model for avoiding conflict in areas where two people live so closely. It may be better to get along than divide things up. I get that two peoples in one land is the reality, but if that is reality, it may be better to live together in a workable way that to live apart yet mixed and in opposition or worse.

        Peace.

      • Citizen
        January 20, 2014, 4:59 am

        Yeah, well, even assuming JC actually existed, during the time and place ascribed, to my knowledge he never left any writing himself. Saul of Tarsus lived after JC was dead. And so on. Further, Eye witnesses themselves pose different points of view. That also why contracts best be written down, and under the law of contracts and their legal interpretation, wording and context, and sub-context, is very important, must be as precise as possible. That’s why every trained lawyer knows to look for “weasel words” and “fine print,” and knows how to use vague wording, etc. Good luck with applying all this to the bibles, and to how they relate to each other. Not to mention the matter of translations and to whether or not, even if a word, text passage, parable, story, should be taken literally or figuratively. Rosa Parks was not Bernays.

    • W.Jones
      January 16, 2014, 12:56 pm

      Betsy,

      It’s nice writing with you.

      About your fourth paragraph: I could not find the Tearing Down the Walls article on the internet. I did find a 1980′s Presbyterian document addressing J-C relations and like some others of them I have seen it made the standard fare denunciation of Christian “Supersessionism”, a denunciation that I believe misportrays Christian beliefs.

      Then it is with humor that you say some documents then critique other ideas like the land belief, which of course exposes the authors to charges of “supersessionism”- a violation of one of the “rules” Braverman mentioned.

      “Old Testament” is the standard Christian term, because Paul speaks of the “Old” Covenant and the “New Covenant”, based on Jeremiah 31. This includes the Old Testament apocrypha, like Maccabees. The Rabbinical name for the main canonical books is the TaNaKh, and does not include Maccabees. Such books as Maccabees only were passed down in the Christian community.

      So I would pick one of those two names depending on your audience. Some have thought up politically correct names too, like Hebrew Testament, but I do not really like them. After all, the New Testament is for the “Hebrews” too, and some of it was partly or fully made in Hebrew or Aramaic, like Matthew.

      • Betsy
        January 16, 2014, 3:21 pm

        @W.Jones — it’s amazing how hard it can be to navigate Presby websites (considering how much we strive to be ‘orderly’)! But, if you scroll almost to the end of the /study-resources/publications page of the Israel Palestine Mission Network page link to israelpalestinemissionnetwork.org

        you will find the GA approved version of “Tearing Down the Walls”. However, before the GA there were numerous versions that circulated. I thought the earliest were the best, but they kept getting watered down, as it got fiercely condemned by pro-Israel groups (almost all non-Presbyterian, but getting very involved in internal church deliberations in remarkable ways). I don’t know how to get the earlier versions. It was a huge fight going over many months.

        This looks like an interesting workshop on the theology of land — btw link to israelpalestinemissionnetwork.org

        thanks for the ideas re/ names to use…:)

      • W.Jones
        January 16, 2014, 4:25 pm

        Betsy,

        Thank you for the link to breaking Down the Walls, which as I rightly guessed, unfortunately includes the repudiation:

        Fourth, most Presbyterians agree with the apostle Paul (Romans 9–11, esp. 11:26–29) that Jews remain to this day heirs of God’s covenant with Abraham. That, and not supersessionism, is what most hold. Yet many Presbyterians also believe that Jews are not today’s only heirs of that covenant with Abraham—that we Christians, too, are heirs of that covenant.

        Footnote 51: “Supersessionism” holds that Christians have supplanted Jews so that now Christians are the only legitimate heirs of God’s covenant with Abraham.

        The passage does not say who exactly holds to this nefarious “Supersessionism” that Jews are not heirs of their covenant. It is doubtful that this was a real teaching of “Mother Church”, because Paul was clear about that they are heirs. What the theologians did teach, like the medieval rabbis, was that their real-time inheritance of those blessings would have to be Messianic.

        So where is this “Supersessionism” that “most” (but not some?) do not hold?

        Perhaps the distinction is that Christian Zionists believe the promises are in full force regardless of their Messianic nature? And by implication those “few” “Supersessionists” are those who assert otherwise?

        I want to please turn your attention to the next thing it says, to answer your question about titles for the covenants:

        The terminology for the two testaments of the Christian Bible used throughout this paper is “Older Testament” and “Newer Testament,” following a suggestion made in another paper that is before the 219th General Assembly (2010), “Christians and Jews: People of God.” “Older”/“Newer” emphasizes that the relationship between the two testaments is one of chronology, not of supersession. That is, the Newer Testament has not superseded the Older and has not rendered the Older obsolete and without authority.

        Isn’t this funny? Just in the last passage the Document denounced “Supersessionism” for failing to follow the apostle Paul. But here the Document rejects saying “Old Testament” or that the latter is “obsolete”.

        In fact, St. Paul says:
        In that [God] saith, ‘A new covenant’ [in Jeremiah 31-33], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. (KJV)

        By calling this covenant “new,” [God] has made the first one obsolete(NIV)

        So the Document proposes breaking down barriers, and goes as far as to relate the land promises to some Palestinians. Yet here we have another case where the rules of the “dialogue” come in to practically deny that the land promises, nationalism, etc. are “obsolete”, and to declare that we should avoid even talking about an “Old” Covenant or a “New” one.

        But if ancient nationalism and a land promise to one religious subset of believers in our God (in whom there are no walls) are not obsolete or old like Paul calls them, then what are they?

        In his talks, Braverman says Christians should keep their theology, which he sees as universal. In my opinion, the Document you showed is generally and socially conscious. Along with that, we have an opportunity to come to a fuller understanding of the early church’s teachings about universality. And we can debunk rule-setting “anathemas”, which in the case of the Scotland Document, ended up censoring the writings of Braverman himself.

  16. W.Jones
    January 16, 2014, 12:26 pm

    Hello Betsy!

    That is: should & can we critique the violent land grab in the Old Testament stories–which suggest that G_d is blessing the taking of land from peaceable indigenous peoples, with particular animus against Earth-based, pantheistic spirituality?

    If we are going to go by the Old Testament, we would not say “G_d”, because the Old Testament spells out “God”. Rather, under a later redaction, God’s name began to be replaced by Lord, but “God” still remained.

    Various theories have been proposed about how to deal with the violent conquest. One view is that the conquest itself was a mixed bag, because the warriors had to live outside the community for a period to “cleanse” themselves. That is, the act of conquest itself – under layers of reading- can be seen as not a good act necessarily.

    Another theory is that we say the Bible was inspired, but nowhere in the traditional so called “Supersessionist” Churches’ doctrines does it require people to say every line in the Bible was infallible. Many times the “Supersessionist” theologians found meanings in it that were not the plain meaning. Thus, you may say that the good, second meaning was the inspired one, IMO.

    You wrote:

    In other words, it looks to me as if there is a kind of ‘supersession’ built into the theology of the Old Testament — which is a violent attack on indigenous peoples & condemnation of religions that see divinity within places & natural entities…

    As you all know, I’m a devout Presbyterian, but I’m increasingly uncomfortable with what I see as supersessionism in the Old Testament focused on an idolatry of “the land”.

    Supersessionism is an ideological term that is often thrown around without a full understanding of it. The Rabbinical document denouncing Kairos as supersessionst misspells the word in different ways and misspells it several times.

    In a general sense, it is pretty common for any new religion to “supersede” a previous one- the new religion is given a “higher status”, which is the meaning of “Supersede”. I suppose that means to an extent when Christianity is generically attacked as Supersessionist, it is a kind of straw man- Christianity as a “higher” stage of development basically has to be “Supersessionist” in some way. In fact, even Christian Zionism is Supersessionist in a sense because it sees its ideas as superior.

    In any case, the Old Testament does take the view that people in the Holy Land were very often worshiping idols, but they should worship the one God instead. Yes, it is an exclusivist, either/or proposition. If you believe there are multiple, separate deities, then naturally you can reject that O.T. view. If you think there is just one God, then naturally you would prefer the “locals” to believe that too.

    I think what is partly disturbing you is a different issue- tolerance or lack thereof, and how the ancient Israelite state went about instituting its religion. At this point we are talking about statecraft, and I don’t know that I have a great answer for you, but to say that sometimes it also disturbs me when I read about ancient pagans getting killed.

    On another note, Presbyterianism as a separate branch of Christianity is very “supersessionist” too when it comes to Christianity. Calvin came along and made up his own ideas about irresistible grace, making new attitudes about “Predestination” that the Christian Church had not instituted. Thus as one commentator said, individual Protestant churches actually went about “superseding” the Christianity of the apostles.

    Many Presbyterians however are not really aware of the specific Calvinist ideas, although of course they are devout Christians.

  17. Citizen
    January 17, 2014, 3:51 pm

    All this crap about the old and new testament, and whether one replaces the other or both are equally valid seems to me to be crap conjecture. If the concept of Jesus, or the reality of him according to what he did according to the story points the way to Godly truth, how can either Jews or Christian allow the State of Israel to treat the natives as they do, have done?

    • W.Jones
      January 18, 2014, 10:57 pm

      Hello, Citizen!

      You ask a good question. The authors of the Presbyterian “Breaking Down the Walls” document would argue that the answer is “No, there is no justification.”

      In reality though, if you do not accept that the New Testament replaces the Old one in any way, then the argument for a fully equal, integrated society becomes more difficult. This is why Braverman says the “rule” against replacement theology indirectly guides discussions on IP.

      The reason it is more difficult is because if there is absolutely no replacement, then you must not “replace” any Old Testament teachings and then you are placed firmly in the camp of emphatically discussing the meaning of Old Testament commands, beliefs, and teachings, which remain in force. And in fact there is debate on how to address them, which Betsy has raised. You are stuck with saying that there is a command to perform ritual sacrifice, and you cannot say that the command has been replaced, although granted many people say that without a Temple, the rule has been postponed. Betsy has expressed her concern about Moses’ conquest, and if we reject all “replacement theology” it becomes very important to find the right interpretation of that major conquest, rather than saying our new, compassionate teachings replaces it.

      I believe you can find ways to unlock hidden positive meanings in those events, but if you use the new teachings as a key, you have in effect performed a replacement- the new understanding and views have replaced the older views about those events.

      Was my answer helpful?

    • W.Jones
      January 18, 2014, 11:14 pm

      Citizen,

      To answer your question more directly:

      All this crap about the old and new testament, and whether one replaces the other or both are equally valid seems to me to be crap conjecture. If the concept of Jesus, or the reality of him according to what he did according to the story points the way to Godly truth, how can either Jews or Christian allow the State of Israel to treat the natives as they do, have done?

      You can ask yourself if Jesus has said anything new that would relate to the kind of situation the natives are in, and then ask if that new statement contradicts anything taught previously in the ancient writings?

      If the two sets of statements contradict, then if you reject any “replacement”, you must admit that the old statement is still completely unreplaced. This creates an unfortunately conflictual situation.

      P.S. I sympathize with your reaction in your first sentence. :)

      • W.Jones
        January 18, 2014, 11:26 pm

        P.P.S. As well as your rejection of the mistreatment, of course.

    • irishmoses
      January 20, 2014, 9:51 am

      I couldn’t agree with you more Citizen. What I see is tedious arguments about 2000 year old hogwash. Better to throw all the religious claptrap aside and start over with some basic ethical principles and give up on the dogma and disputes. If I were asked to pick the greatest source of evil in the world, I’d pick organized religion. Lots of decent, well-meaning folks are religious and many of them do good works, but overall, IMHO, the negatives of religion far outweigh the positives.

      • Citizen
        January 20, 2014, 1:07 pm

        @ irishmoses
        I said, as recently as a week ago in this blog, and I meant it, that my personal jury is out on whether or not religion, especially organized religion, has resulted in a net plus, or a net minus for humankind. But now, after seeing what these Christian theorists are about in the context of real injustice in this world, most specifically in the case of I-P at issue here, and on a daily basis, I have also decided that the negatives of religion outweigh the positives; in any case, it’s never the leaders and main spokes folks for religions like Christianity, Judaism, or Islam that account for what good has been done in this world in the name of religion, but rather, that’s done by individual average and small members of such religions, who I’m now convinced would do such good in the world on an individual basis whether or not they were a member of any religious group. In short, religion never makes character, but good-hearted human beings do, by deed and not creed, even if they’re atheists or agnostics.

      • W.Jones
        January 20, 2014, 1:36 pm

        Better to throw all the religious claptrap aside and start over with some basic ethical principles
        Unfortunately, even this idea can be attacked by its opponents as a nefarious “Replacement Ideology” or “Supersessionism” because you are advocating a new set of ideas without keeping exclusive land promises.

  18. MRW
    January 18, 2014, 4:12 pm

    I ordered three.

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