Tuesday, June 07, 2016
I know, I know, I've been MIA the past few days. Life is like that at times.
The United Church of Canada is the denomination others love to hate until they come alongside. When we were talking about care for creation thirty years ago we were pantheists and pagans. Women's ordination? Prohibited by the bible, until different interpretations were accepted. We were going to hell in a handbasket in terms of LGBTQ acceptance. Now a remarkable number of evangelicals are opening their hearts.
We also seemed to be in the vanguard of concern on behalf of Palestinians, with predictable reaction. We have figured that it is possible to support Israel without turning a blind eye to the marginalization of Palestinians and the occupation of the West Bank by Israeli settlers. Only a few years ago I was receiving correspondence from pro-Israel groups and individuals deeply offended that the UCC was supporting United Nations resolutions on the occupation and urging the boycott of goods produced by Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. The Unsettling Goods Campaign is worth checking out. http://www.united-church.ca/social-action/justice-initiatives/unsettling-goods-choose-peace-palestine-and-israel
Again, many denominations have now voiced similar concerns, and some Jewish groups as well.
There is a new documentary called The Settlers which takes a look at the settlements which now dot the territories -- 150 or more. There are 400,000 settlers and most --perhaps 80% --are there because of the inexpensive housing. The rest are there for ideological reasons, often as conservative Jews who feel they are reclaiming the land God promised them in the bible. A small portion of that group are radicals, willing to evict Palestinians and even do harm to others. A lot of them are young and don't actually recognize the state of Israel because it doesn't follow the Torah. They are radicals, and perhaps terrorists, as Islamic extremists are often terrorists. It's the scary thing when any group says "God is on our side" to justify injustice.
I'm glad that there are a growing number of religious organizations and denominations challenging the aggressive settlement practices of the Israeli government and decrying the violence in the territories, whatever the source.