Saturday, June 24, 2006

Follow the Leader

The Episcopalian Church follows the Presbyterians on renouncing anti-Israel rhetoric.

The US Episcopal Church has taken a significant pro-Israel turn at its triennial General Convention, joining the Presbyterians in abandoning pro-Palestinian rhetoric and adopting a resolution repudiating anti-Jewish interpretations of the New Testament.

Though I doubt we'll see anything similar any time soon from the Anglicans in Britain - the British equivalent Christian denomination - given the extreme left leaning composition of its ecclesiastical class.

Meanwhile, back to the Episcopalians:
Bishop Edward Little of northern Indiana also asked church to apologize to the Jewish people for its "consistently unbalanced approach to the conflict in the Middle East." "Virtually all General Convention resolutions concerning the Middle East, and all public policy pronouncements by Episcopal agencies, have relentlessly criticized the state of Israel, portraying the Jewish state as an oppressor nation and the Palestinian people as victims of Israeli oppression," he argued.

Opponents of the resolution argued the church should apologize instead to the Palestinians for the US government's support for Israel.

However, Rev. Bruce Chilton, professor of religion at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York stated, "Terrorism is a war crime. If we fail to say that, how can we claim any moral ground whatsoever?"

That's really encouraging.

As an aside, some months back, I read the introductory chapters to Rev. Chilton's work on Jesus, Rabbi Jesus, An Intimate Biography, and enjoyed his presentation very much. He stresses Jesus' Jewish upbringing, as well as the northern, Galilean roots of Jesus' Judaism. He's a member of the Jesus seminar, a group of scholars dedicated to research the historical Jesus. That is, to use historical and exegetical methods to unsplice - to the extent possible - the historical parts of Christianity from traditional but ahistorical interpretations.

Since the Jesus Seminar usually attracts a fairly liberal group of scholars, it is nice to see one of them standing firm on a position like this, against opposition, that terrorism is a war crime. And that this point must be repeated in the Israeli-Palestinian situation, to give proper context to the debate.

Incidental to this discussion, Amazon has updated their Search Within This Book function. (I used it to make sure I was referring to the correct book by Bruce Chilton.) It is better in some ways, but it seems to take longer to load. Which is annoying.


At 11:09 PM, Anonymous david said...

Enjoyed the blog very much. Read all of it.


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