An appalling shallowness has descended over Mainline Protestantism.
Episcopalians, United Methodists and Presbyterians are actually debating how they should deal with the Israeli Occupation
Martin Luther King, sitting in that Birmingham city jail, would most certainly inform these prelates that there is no debating evil. A brutal military occupation is not open to debate.
It is a disturbing spectacle. The collective ignorance displayed by many of the men and women -- though, thank God, not all -- who govern these denominations, boggles the mind.
The issue, my dear Christian friends, is justice, pure and simple. And yet, there they are, these robed religiosos, dripping with interfaith piety, proclaiming that the simple act of divestment of church funds is too harsh a tactic to use against Israel's settlement obsessed, right-wing government.
What do they teach in seminary these days? Have those Old Testament professors who lead their Israeli-sanctioned "study groups" to the Holy Land removed the prophets from their syllabi?
Here is the Episcopal News Service report on the current presiding Episcopal bishop explaining why she, and the church that elevated her to denominational leadership, oppose the simple, non-violent tactic of targeting divestment of church funds from US corporations that profit from Israel's military occupation:
"Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori urged Episcopalians to 'invest in legitimate development in Palestine's West Bank and in Gaza' rather than focusing on divestment or boycotts of Israel, during a March 25 'Middle East Peacemakers' luncheon in Los Angeles.
"'The Episcopal Church does not endorse divestment or boycott,' the presiding bishop told more than 200 people gathered at the California Club in downtown Los Angeles. 'It's not going to be helpful to endorse divestment or boycotts of Israel. It will only end in punishing Palestinians economically.'
"She also called for 'a two-state solution with a dignified home for Palestinians and for Israelis' and for 'deeper engagement, people of different traditions eating together, listening to each other's stories,' she said, adding that the inter-religious, multi-ethnic gathering hosted by Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Diocese of Los Angeles was an example of what is possible."
Punishing Palestinians economically? That statement is an incredible display of ignorance of the political realities of a brutal military occupation.
Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wants investment in Palestine, not divestment from Israel's occupation. Who proposed that approach?
Sounds very much like the warden of the world's largest outdoor prison inviting church members to come inside the prison and do their good works.
Cottage industries in cell block six?
Starting April 24, delegates to the United Methodist Church General Conference will debate the issue of using targeted divestment as a legislative tactic against injustice.