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Bishops: Divestment Not in our "Best Interests"

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Reprinted from Wallwritings

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The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops on Thursday condemned the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) strategy.

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The bishops spoke the language of the market place. They made no effort to theologically justify their condemnation.

Instead, they were pragmatic, not prophetic. Why? Because they have invested in institutions.

Matthew Davies, reporting for the Episcopal News Service (ENS), issued the official word from the Bishops in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Episcopal Convention is currently in session.

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Davies reported that the bishops sent "a strong and clear message that divestment from companies and corporations engaged in certain business related to the State of Israel is not in the best interests of The Episcopal Church, its partners in the Holy Land, inter-religious relations, and the lives of Palestinians on the ground."

That chilling passage is painful in its honesty. To the bishops, property and institutional structures, and the ability to operate Christian services within those structures, determine "the best interests of the Episcopal Church."

Notice their pragmatic shopping list: Partners in the Holy Land, inter-religious relations back home, and the lives of Palestinians "on the ground."

The Episcopal Church has invested itself in an area in which it provides religious care, both spiritual and physical, to the local residents. Experience has shown church leaders throughout history that it is not in their "best interests" to go against the controlling power.

Some religious leaders have refused to accept that compliance. Others have compromised to keep their institutions as effective as possible.

Those in power know how to manipulate the powerless.

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You want to enlarge or at least maintain your services, both spiritual and physical? You will need the permission of the ruling occupying power, in this case, an occupying military power, that governs your every institutional need.

The Episcopal lay and clerical delegates meeting in Salt Lake City this week, know this all too well.

In another corner of the Christian institutional world, the third denomination meeting this week voted to punt.

The New York Times reported Friday morning:

"Delegates to the Mennonite Church U.S.A.'s convention in Kansas City, Mo., decided to postpone a vote on a similar resolution until its next convention in 2017.

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

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