We Christians cannot distance ourselves from bad behavior in the church by invoking sectarian or political arguments, or by claiming that people really don’t speak in the name of Christianity. To our Jewish friends, it really doesn’t matter. Professed followers of Jesus are once again attacking them based on their Christian faith.
Instead we must ask the Jewish people for forgiveness in the name of Christianity writ large, acknowledging that we as a community have committed a serious sin.
A sin, you say? Surely I exaggerate. How could principled divestment from a few international businesses constitute a morally offensive act?
It’s simple – the PC(USA) divestment campaign was imbalanced and malicious from the start. It oversimplified one of the world’s most complicated conflicts; vilified Israel as uniquely evil among nations, likening it to apartheid South Africa despite all evidence to the contrary; exonerated Palestinians as innocent victims of Israeli aggression; ignored the blatant corruption, human rights abuses, and ethnic cleansing of numerous state and non-state actors both in the Middle East and around the world, all of which surpass Israel in every measurable indicator of oppression and tyranny; marshaled a range of political, historical, and theological arguments to condemn the idea of Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish homeland; cloaked its hatred in Christian terms; and acted with arrogance and contempt for the Jewish people.
If PC(USA) leaders had divested from every company doing business with every flawed state in the world, that would have been one thing. The fact that they targeted Israel alone demonstrates the pure odium behind their actions.
I cannot imagine a greater desecration of the name of Christ – a Jewish man who lived a Jewish life in a Jewish land, who kept the commandments, and who wept over the city of Jerusalem.
For the dignity of his good name – not to mention the alienation and pain of the Jewish people in this hour – I call upon Christians of conviction to repent for this sin and endeavor to demonstrate their change of heart with more than just words. How each person responds is up to him or her, but the end result should be clear condemnation of the PC(USA) vote and practical efforts to heal the wound it has caused. We must send a message to any other Christians who are considering these kinds of vindictive measures that we shall not stand for them.
This battle may seem marginal, even unimportant, to some; however, I submit that the very credibility of our faith is at stake.
For too long we’ve been telling Jewish people about the beauty and power of Christianity, somehow expecting them to care.
Isn’t it time we start them what it’s all about?