For several years, I perceived the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the national organization for the faith, as trending anti-Israel. Rhetoric began to be far more biased towards what is now called the ‘Palestinian Cause’. The ELCA in general began to trend far left, and nowhere was it more evident in sermons I heard at various churches.
In the last few years, I simply stopped attending church regularly, although I continued to practice my faith in terms of prayer, creed, and confession. If I want to hear politics, all I have to do is turn on the TV.
Now the bias towards Israel has come full circle.
Spurred on by a movement called Isaiah 58, the ELCA passed a resolution based on a one-sided political stance. The Times of Israel reported:
“’The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America approved a resolution calling on the US government to end all aid to Israel if Israel does not stop building settlements and ‘enable an independent Palestinian state.’
Voting at its triennial assembly in New Orleans that ended Saturday, the church also sought a halt to all investment in companies that profit from Israel’s occupation and called on US President Barack Obama to recognize the State of Palestine.”
Adding insult to injury for many of us interested in our faith offering spiritual guidance rather than political proselytizing, ELCA did some finger-pointing, naming a number of US based companies listed by the Delaware-Maryland Synod Assembly as “profiting from, or complicit in, human rights violations arising from the occupation…”
The ELCA has adopted the approach the left in the US adopted—Israel is the bad guy in the conflict over turf taken when Israel was attacked by a number of Arab countries in the 1967 war. It took the tiny nation of Israel six days to win a war against a collection of larger countries with established military power.
Personally speaking, I believe that as global politics have changed positions over decades, Israel and the people in the contested territory would be better served by working out solutions for themselves. Far too many politicos with a personal agenda have interfered in this process and that is one reason no solution has been agreed upon.
If you’re not familiar with the issue, you can read about it from both sides.
In an article penned for the conservative publication Front Page, Joseph Klein explains Israel’s predicament and the bias many media have come to display towards a nation founded after millions of Jews were murdered simply for being Jews.
In an article penned for the leftwing iconic newspaper Haaretz, Hassan Jabareen explains why ‘Palestinians’ won’t recognize Israel, the “Jewish State.”
At The Jewish Virtual Library, there’s an article explaining how the term ‘Palestinians’ came to be used after 1920.
Besides the anti-Israel, anti-US economy resolution, ELCA was on a roll in a more than 100 page document, affirming a movement many of us believes goes against Biblical Teaching—Black Lives Matter. The Bible states God created man, implying there is only one race, the human race. Perhaps the ELCA forgot that. Recent vandalism, violence, and racist rhetoric coming from Milwaukee symbolize just how far a political opportunist group will go in seeking attention and power.
Bearing in mind the millions of federal taxpayer dollars faith-based groups receive each year, the ELCA also pushed sanctuary policies for Central American minors, many of whom are young adults and most of whom cannot be vetted. As taxpayers on the local, state, and national levels fund uncontrolled migration the Obama administration has nurtured, faith-based groups will capitalize on increased federal dollars.
Meanwhile, our open borders policy has led to the presence and expansion of transnational gangs bent on violence and predatory practices. Most impacted are the very communities groups like Black Lives Matter claim to represent even as they damage property and people in those communities.
The FBI in a report gives an idea of what US communities are up against, courtesy of politicians and groups working in tandem to throw borders wide open:
“La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, and the 18th Street gang require their mostly teenage recruits to undergo at least two years of initiation before becoming full-fledged gang members. One of the final tests for membership is to commit murder.”
For a Biblical perspective on borders and immigration, see the analysis A Biblical Perspective on Immigration Policy by James R. Edwards, Jr., at the Center for Immigration Studies. He includes an excellent explanation of the term “sojourn” or “temporary stay”.
Lutheranism is the faith of my ancestors pre-dating their early 1700s arrival in the colonies that eventually became the USA. My family has practiced that faith since that time.
Over decades, I’ve witnessed changes that would lead my grandmother to roll over in her grave, including almost always using hymns the congregation can barely sing and thus can derive little spiritual reflection from. Two years ago, as my family attended Christmas Eve services, the pastor launched into an analysis of media he considered acceptable for intelligent people. For me, that was the last straw.
I understand churches must change with times, but combined with politics in the pulpit, the changes I have seen lead me to believe not only my faith but a number of faiths have become a tool of the state purely for profit.
The ELCA’s anti-Israel resolution is a dark day in a faith I have long cherished.
Furthermore, I would urge the left controlling the ELCA to take a hard look at world history and see what happens to countries and faiths when borders are erased.
Thus while I keep my faith, I am without a church for now.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Aug. 15, 2016)
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