Thursday, October 21, 2004

Pray for us sinners

On the religion beat today, there appears to be a backlash brewing against Catholic Church leaders for their efforts to convince the faithful not to vote for John Kerry and other Catholic politicians who support abortion rights. Kerry's support among white Catholics is on the rise, and locally, clergy and laity signed an ad advising Catholics not to base thier vote on a single issue.

On the other side of the Reformation, a local Presbyterian elder made some assinine comments praising Hezbollah while on a trip to the Middle East. As the Trib tells it:

An East Liberty Presbyterian Church elder has ignited a furor for extolling Hezbollah, a radical Islamic group with a history of terrorist activity.

Ronald H. Stone told members of the fundamentalist Lebanese organization this week that he found Islamic leaders easier to deal with than Jewish officials. He also commended Hezbollah for expressing goodwill toward America.

Hezbollah is responsible for the 1983 suicide bombing of the barracks in Beirut that killed 241 U.S. Marines.

It's bad enough that Stone paid a compliment to a terrorist organization; why go a step further and excacerbate one of the world's most volatile conflicts by unfavorably comparing the attitudes of one side to another?

Stone's pastor and the Presbyterian Church (USA) dissociated themselves from his remarks, but this nonetheless comes at a bad time for the Presbyterian church, which recently agreed to begin divesting from companies that do business in Israel. I don't agree with everything that Israel has done in its conflict with the Palestinians, but I also don't believe Israel deserves to be put in the same category as, say, apartheid South Africa. And Mr. Stone needs to leave Middle Eastern diplomacy to the State Department.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Arab Moslems can cast a vote. Fully a fourth of the Knesset is Arab (either Christian or Moslem). They enact legislation, debate (usually unsuccessfully) foreign policy and, in the previous Labour administration, served in the Cabinet.

It's good to know that the Presbyterian Church doesn't want that sort of thing breaking out all over the Middle East. Have they divested from Saudi Arabia, a country that produced a slew of terrorists to attack the U.S.? Have they divested from Egypt, a nation that routinely tortures dissidents? Or Syria, a Baathist dictatorship that quashes the rights of Christians in both Damascus AND Lebanon?

No, because that's not politically correct.

While I've never been a fan of Sharonist foreign policy, it must be said that Israel supports freedom of religion, speech and assembly, an open press, transparent government and free markets and supports the rights of women and gays.

Aren't these typical issues on the wish-lists of lefties everywhere?

Oh, yes, they want those sorts of things for everyone but Jews. Say what you want about the far-left right now, but being a friend to Jews in the U.S., Israel and Europe isn't one of them.

4:36 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

For once you and I are in complete agreement. I don't agree with everything that Israel has done in its conflict with the Palestinians, but I believe they are moving toward what is the best solution, and they are the only secular democracy--the only democracy--in the Middle East. (Not to mention they saved all of us from a nuclear showdown with Saddam Hussein in 1982.)

8:56 AM


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