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Friday, January 06, 2006

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland: j'accuse (part 2)

The Kirk’s website

The ‘World Mission’ section contains descriptions of the Kirk’s work in sub-Saharan Africa, in Egypt, in Syria and in Lebanon. There is not the slightest hint of political criticism of any state or organization in these areas. All are evidently paragons of respect for human rights. The Kirk-supported Scottish Churches’ China Group offers the following delicate allusions to anti-religious persecution in the People’s Republic:-

‘After 1951 all missionaries had to leave China. From 1951 to 1976 relationships between overseas churches and Christians in China were intermittent, sensitive to the fact that the Chinese were in a situation of becoming an independent and indigenous church. Often these were years of no correspondence between either churches or old friends from the Chinese Church - this was particularly so in the 1950s and during the Cultural Revolution (1966 - 1976). During this time all religious institutions were closed down and religious life basically went underground.

‘In the Constitution of the People's Republic of China there is a clause allowing for the religious freedom with various strings attached - these strings have sometimes been pulled tighter than at other times depending on the political climate of the time. Protestantism and Catholicism are set out as two separate religions in the Constitution.

‘Under the socialist government, religion is administered by officials of the United Front Work Department working in the sub-department of the Religious Affairs Bureau. These officials have a dual task: to ensure that all believers are allowed the freedom to believe according to the Constitution by ensuring that property confiscated during the Cultural Revolution is returned, that there is no harassment of believers, that in housing, jobs etc believers are not discriminated against and so forth.

‘On the other hand they are there to keep a check on religious activities, by enforcing the regulations for religious affairs that were brought in January 1994, for example, ensuring that church congregations, don't grow too big too quickly. Some officials are very sympathetic to believers, others are antagonistic.’

Now compare and contrast with this statement:-

The wall
‘The situation for Palestinians is deteriorating every day. The wall which is being constructed around the Palestinian towns and villages and which seeks to maximise the amount of land that Israel can appropriate and minimise the amount of people who will be allowed access to their former land. There are terrible consequences of the wall which Israel is building around the Palestinian people. In effect Israel is separating Palestinian communities from their lands and from each other with only Israelis allowed to travel on the roads between them. It is clearly creating facts on the ground and changing the borders of a future Palestinian State without reference to the Palestinian people. Further information is available at from Christian Aid: and World Council of Churches:

And the balancing condemnation of terrorism? There isn’t one.

My conclusion again: the Kirk’s public stance on this issue makes it institutionally anti-Semitic.

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