Lately I have been accused of being "too hard on the church" but my issue with the institutional churches is that too many are more about socializing, NOT much about the social gospel and then there are those that even 'worship' the State.
However, Good News came this morning in an email from The World Council of Churches (WCC) central committee which "called on the Israeli government to freeze and begin to dismantle settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. It also encouraged a commitment to non-violence and peace negotiations, and reiterated the need for an international boycott of products and services from settlements.
In a public "Statement on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory" passed today in Geneva, Switzerland, at the end of its 26 August -- 2 September meeting, the WCC central committee called "upon the government of Israel to urgently implement an open-ended freeze in good-faith on all settlement construction and expansion as a first step towards the dismantlement of all settlements".
Even as "Israel's own right to exist in security evokes sympathy and solidarity around the world", the committee states, "its policies of expansion and annexation generate dismay or hostility". For the committee there is a clear distinction to be made "between the legitimate interests of the state of Israel and its illegal settlements".
The central committee reiterated its call to WCC member churches "to accompany and encourage the commitment to non-violence and active engagement in peace negotiations". It also invited "member churches and faithful to give moral and practical support to non-violent acts of resistance to the confiscation of land, the destruction of Palestinian properties and the eviction of people from their homes and lands".
The illegal settlements "and their corresponding infrastructure including the separation wall" have dire consequences on the life and dignity of Palestinian people, the WCC statement says.
Settlements deny Palestinians access to "land and water resources", "restrict their freedom of movement, diminish their basic human dignity and, in many cases, their right to life", impede their "right to education and access to health care", and "destroy the Palestinian economy". In these ways they increase "the sense of dispossession and despair".
In addition to that, "illegal settlements in and around Jerusalem endanger the future of the holy city", which "should be open to all and shared by the two peoples and the three religions".
The WCC central committee calls on member churches to "pray for and assist people who are suffering" as a result of settlement activity and "hear the call of the churches of Jerusalem for concrete actions by the international ecumenical community toward a just peace for both Palestinians and Israelis".
With that now being said from many pulpits, I am led to repeat myself regarding:
"The Crusade for a Christian Military: Jesus Killed Mohammed" by Jeff Sharlet in HARPER'S May 2009 edition is a chilling clarion call regarding the entrenchment of Christian fundamentalism in the USA military beginning during the Cold War that accelerated during the Vietnam era which has wrecked havoc on the very soul of our nation.
Fundamentalist [referred to as evangelical by Sharlet] Chaplains began to join the military in droves as they aligned themselves with the Industrial Military Complex in opposition with Catholics and mainline moderate Protestant denominations such as Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians who were of one voice speaking out against American terrorism in Vietnam and for following in the ways of the nonviolent Jesus.