The Corner

The Shameful Racism of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

As a Presbyterian, albeit a member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) it grieves me to see headlines like this, from Commentary: Presbyterians Escalate War on Jews. This story follows another, called Presbyterians Declare War on the Jews, and details the Presbyterian Church, USA’s outright embrace of anti-Semitism. Fresh off a closely defeated attempt to join the fringe BDS movement, the church has actually disseminated racist tracts and shunned a leader who had the audacity to visit Israel in cooperation with mainstream Jewish groups. Jonathan Tobin explains, first regarding the anti-Semitic tract:

As the Times of Israel reports, the Presbyterians’ Israel Palestinian Mission Network (IPMN) has issued a “study guide” about the Middle East conflict that will forever change the relationship between the church and the Jewish people. The 74-page illustrated booklet and companion DVD entitled Zionism Unsettled was published last month for use by the church’s 2.4 million members. Unlike other left-wing critiques of Israel, the Presbyterian pamphlet isn’t content to register disapproval of Israeli policies and West Bank settlements or to lament the plight of the Palestinians. The booklet is a full-blown attack against the very concept of Zionism and seeks to compare Zionism to the Christian anti-Semitism that led to the Holocaust and other historical atrocities. Its purpose is to brand Israel as an illegitimate entity and to treat its American Jewish supporters as having strayed from the values of their religion. Zionism Unsettled not only swallows the Palestinian narrative about Middle East history whole, it is nothing less than a declaration of war on Israel and American Jewry.

Next, Tobin examines the case of the shunned pastor:

What has happened is that a Virginia Beach pastor who was slated to take a leadership role in a church forum at its annual General Assembly has been pressured to resign by Presbyterian Church USA officials. What was his offense? Taking part in two trips to Israel sponsored by a Jewish group. As Rev. Albert Butzer relates in a piece he wrote about his experience for The Presbyterian Outlook, he had looked forward to being the official moderator of the Committee on Middle East Issues at the denomination’s General Assembly. But he was forced out when it came out that he had gone to Israel on trips organized by the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, Virginia. Though he had previously been to the region on two trips organized by the Palestinians, the mere fact that he had been exposed to Israel’s side of the story in the conflict was enough to brand him as untrustworthy.

I’d encourage you to follow the links and read the entire accounts. The pull quotes don’t do justice to the seething hatred. Follow the links and despair at where fashionably Left devotion to “social justice” leads.

This, combined with the church’s acceptance of legalized abortion — a racist, eugenic construct that has taken a horrific toll on minority communities — represent acts of evil. Would Christ traffic in the lies spread by jihadist death cults and shun the only Middle East democracy that protects the liberty of His followers? 

Tobin says, “Jews and all Christians and people of faith who truly care about peace should make it clear that so long as the Presbyterian Church USA is waging war on the Jews, they will treat it as a hate group masquerading as a community of faith.”

Exactly so. The PCUSA – in its long migration from orthodox Christianity — is shaming itself and damaging the very name of the church. Will its fellow-travelers in the religious Left, those who pride themselves on opposing racism in all its forms, condemn this blatant hate?

I’m not holding my breath.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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