ELCA Lutherans Play State Department
You probably missed it (I know I did), but the
German Foreign Ministry in the U.S. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recently concluded its triennial national gathering. In between re-arranging the deck chairs on its particular denominational Titanic, the assembled Middle East experts clergy and laity decided to write the Israel plank in the Green Party’s platform. From Arutz Sheva:
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has approved a resolution calling on the American government to end all aid to Israel if Israel does not stop building in Judea and Samaria and “enable an independent Palestinian state”, JTA reported Sunday.
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 alleged “occupation” and called on the president of the United States to recognize the “State of Palestine.”
The aid vote, which passed 751-162, urged church members to “call on their U.S. Representatives, Senators and the Administration to take action requiring that to continue receiving U.S. financial and military aid, Israel must comply with internationally recognized human rights standards as specified in existing U.S. law, stop settlement building and the expansion of existing settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, end its occupation of Palestinian territory, and enable an independent Palestinian state,” according to JTA.
The resolution also called on the president not to prevent the application of the State of Palestine for full membership in the United Nations and, in coordination with the United Nations Security Council, to “offer a new, comprehensive and time-bound agreement to the governments of Israel and Palestine, resulting in a negotiated final status agreement between Israel and Palestine leading to two viable and secure states with a shared Jerusalem.”
In the divestment resolution, which passed 821-92, the church adopted a human rights-based investment screen for its social responsibility funds to ensure the church is not profiting from human rights abuses, and mentioned the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by name. It also called for the church to “increase positive investment in Palestine.”
I have not been able to find any indication that the ELCA sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in any way other than as a Manichean morality play. In fact, I understand that during the debate on these resolutions, someone mentioned Hamas, and 80% of those in attendance said in unison, “who dat?” That may not be exactly accurate, but the net effect is the same.
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