The Institute on Religion and Democracy has released a report that all but accuses mainline churches of being anti-Semitic. The argument is this: Of all the human rights criticisms given by mainline churches and groups such as the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Episcopal Church, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), along with the National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches, only 31 percent of 197 statements were directed at countries other than the United States or Israel. Criticism of Israel amounted to 37 percent while statements leveled at the United States totaled 31 percent.

In addition, only 19 percent of criticisms were directed at nations considered to be "not free" according to Freedom House. IRD says, "Many of the countries rated lowest by Freedom House—such as China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia—were not criticized even once. Of the fifteen worst human rights abusers listed by Freedom House, only five received any criticism during the four years studied."

In a statement about the report, IRD President Diane Knippers said, "An extreme focus on Israel, while ignoring major human rights violators, seriously distorts the churches' message on universal human rights. We cannot find a rational explanation for the imbalance. We are forced to ask: Is there an anti-Jewish animus, conscious or unconscious, that drives this drumbeat of criticism against the world's only Jewish state?"

Most recently, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted "to start a process of a phased and selective divestment" from companies doing business in Israel and the occupied territories, such as Caterpillar. Church leaders are currently meeting with Jewish leaders to discuss the resolution. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Weblog
Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
Previous Weblog Columns: