Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Not just a broken confession of sin but a disappearing one!
In May of this year, the Office of Interfaith Relations, Presbyterian Church (USA), placed on their web site a paper, “Vigilance against Anti-Jewish Ideas and Bias.” The paper was highly praised by many including the Jewish Community. Now the original paper has been edited in the extreme. The Presbyterian Office of Interfaith Relations is no longer confessing the sin of anti-Semitism for the Church. The statement has been removed.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs has produced a paper combining the original paper with both the deleted and added material. However it is not on the web yet. In the mean time here is the original found at Jewish Christian Relations , and here is the new version found on the PCUSA web site, "Vigilance against Anti-Jewish Bias in the Pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian Peace.”
This newly revised document is changed in many ways. An attitude of humility in the face of past wrongs has turned to arrogance. As stated above, this sentence, “However, we are aware and do confess that anti-Jewish attitudes can be found among us,” has been removed. Instead the paper refers to Israel as “oppressors.”1
Additionally, this redone paper softens its original accusation that liberation theology has contributed to anti-semitism. Instead using a distinction between anti-semitism and anti-Judaism the authors attempt to avoid attributing any complicity in anti-semitism to those who advocate entirely for Palestine. Yet those who advocate entirely for the Palestinians, while failing to uphold the rights of Israel, are those who use liberation theology. It is a complete circle.
It is as though a liberation theologian came upon the original paper, “Vigilance against Anti-Jewish Ideas and Bias,” took out a pair of scissors and started hacking away at it.
After cutting out any confession of the sin of anti-semitism she added all of the material that has already appeared in so many other Presbyterian papers such as a call for ”an end to the Israel occupation of Palestinian territories,” and the need to “speak out against the placement of the separation barrier…”
Looking around for someone to blame for the prevailing anti-semitism in the Presbyterian Church she added “On the other hand, anti-Jewish’ attitudes and actions are deeply rooted in the teaching of contempt for the Jews, which has its antecedents in a strong strand of Christian theology in which the Jews are replaced and superseded by Christians."
Perhaps this hacking liberationist does not realize that those who believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father also believe that God does not revoke his promises to the Jews. But it is the liberationist who has forgotten the Jewish people and their story.
Liberation theology and this redone paper equate the Exodus story with the promise of land to all people. It isn’t that liberation theology eliminates the Jewish people from that promise but rather such theology turns it into a material promise for all rather than a particular promise given historically to Israel. The author destroys Israel’s particular history and misses the true meaning of the Exodus for Christians, which is a metaphor for their new life in Christ.
This isn’t to say that other peoples should not have land nor that land isn’t God’s gift to them but the liberation theologian eliminates the particularity of the Jewish people.
But I digress. How utterly unthinkable, that Church Officials should place a paper on their web site urging others to avoid anti-semitism, collecting the praise of both Christians and Jews alike, and then, in reality, switching papers, only giving their latter edition which is anti-Semitic the same name as the first faithful, truthful and humbly written paper. How will the Jewish people ever trust the Presbyterian Church (USA) again?
1 For instance this quote in the new version, "Polemic that identifies today’s oppressors with Jewish authorities in the time of Jesus is especially problematic, and clouds an accurate understanding of the current situation."