September 10, 2004
That John Knox / Yassir Arafat axis
Back in this post, commenter Katie recommended a number of churches, including Bel Air Presbyterian. We had, as she remarked, already spoken offline, so I contacted her and we arranged to visit the church (which is her home church) this Sunday.
Today I had lunch with a co-worker who goes to another Presbyterian church, and I remarked upon this. She said the she was leaving the PCUSA because it came out against Israel, and "I don't want my money going to the Palestinians." I asked if her offering money was actually going to Palestine, or if the church leadership had just made a statement. She said that it was.
Now, it was pretty clear to me that she was not exactly looking at this in a nuanced fashion -- for one thing, she spoke of "Palestinians" as a monolith, as if aiding Palestinian widows and orphans were the same as funding Hamas. I vaguely remembered Marvin Lindsay saying something about this, and what I turned up was this post saying that the PCUSA's general assembly had urged divestment from Israel. It says at the bottom of the cited story that the council voted to "study the feasibility of sponsoring economic-development projects in Palestine and putting an action plan in place by 2005," which I suppose might have been what she was talking about. So does anybody know more about this?
Posted by Camassia at September 10, 2004 09:25 PM
I've looked into this a little, Camassia, after all, PCUSA is my denomination. While I can't seem to find a link to the original General Assembly decision on the denomination Web site, here is a link to a PCUSA blogger who has been keeping a close eye on the decision.
What seems to be happening is that GA voted for the divestment (an ill-considered decision, in my opinion) but right now the two financial arms responsible for carrying out the decision are not doing anything.
Here is another link explaining what the General Assembly decided regarding divestment in companies that do business with Israel.
But I couldn't find anything about sponsoring economic developement projects in Palestine. If it is something "under study" it could be a very long time before anything is actually done.
I would suspect that this is the resolution in question.
Thanks, both of you. I'm not terribly enamored of churches opining over who should rule what stretch of land, but it does sound like my co-worker got distorted information.
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