Presbyerian Church (USA)’s very special interest in Israel

Gradye Parsons

By Mark Tooley

The stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Gradye Parsons, has released a verbose statement demanding an end to the “violence” between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. For emphasis, he even lists ALL the names of Gazans reportedly killed by Israeli air attacks, or 174 names.

Not having seen any PCUSA official include such a list before in a press statement, I’m curious whether it’s a new policy. Perhaps Parsons is doing another statement that will list all 300 victims, including reportedly some Americans, who died today when a Malaysian airliner was shot down today over Ukraine, potentially by pro-Russian insurgents, although we don’t know the details yet.

Or maybe Parsons is also doing a public list of the thousands of victims of Boko Haram, an Islamist terror group in Nigeria. Or maybe he’ll list thousands of victims of al-Shabaab, another Islamist terror group and insurgency, in Somalia. Maybe he’ll list the tens of thousands killed in Syria’s civil war, or the hundreds of thousands killed in conflicts in Sudan or in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Maybe he’ll list the slain in conflicts in Malawi, or the Central African Republic, or in Afghanistan by the Taliban, or in Iraq by ISIS.

But don’t wait for Parsons or any PCUSA official to release lists of the killed from those wars, even though those slain were no less created in God’s image than the slain in Gaza. Those wars and their afflicted don’t merit special PCUSA concern because they don’t involve Israel. Of all the conflicts in the world, and of all the scores of repressive regimes in the world, only Israel is the unique target of the PCUSA’s very special attention.



Comments 21

  • You complain how the terrorists are killing their own people, but you also are killing your own babies in abortion, which makes you just as evil. It is not America’s place to tell other nations how they should live. At times when nations try to take over other nations, then some self defense is needed. Trying to control people with your way of life is not the answer for peace. Keep praying for peace in these war-torn countries where some groups are seeking their own domination over others for power and money

  • Can no one simply say “anti-Semitic”? The PC(USA) has become the moral equivalent to the German Christian movement of the pre-WWIi era which winked at Nazi atrocities. But the remaining PC(USA) adherents can’t bring themselves to confess before God that they are on the dark side of history.

  • Whatever can be said of the victims of the Malaysian plane destruction or of Boko Haram, they are not the responsibility of the government of the United States. Gazans who die at the hands of the IDF are, because the USA supplies not only military backing to Israel but also diplomatic cover for Israel’s policy of occupation and bombardment of Palestine. The time for Israel being able to make excuses for its policies out of Hamas rocket attacks and acts of “terrorism” has ended. They did the same thing with the PLO, at the time they were creating Hamas to oppose the PLO. Israel is in complete control of the Palestinian territories and can’t be held blameless for casualties suffered on either side. It need to end the bombardment, end the blockade, and end the occupation of all of Arab Palestine, allowing its neighbors to govern themselves, arm themselves and live within their borders with the same security Israel desires for itself. And the United States should end all aid to Israel and support for it in the United Nations until Israel sits down and negotiates seriously with both Fatah and Hamas, or their unified government, the terms for their withdrawal.

    There is a long strain of abstaining from political debate not directly affecting the Church and the practice of the Faith, known as the “Spirituality of the Church”, which has lain dormant as part of the heritage of the PC(USA). If this is what the Layman wishes to advocate, for the Church to remain neutral in such debates and give its members freedom to engage in political advocacy in their own names and not that of the Church, I could join in that appeal. But ill behooves conservative or confessional Presbyterians to come to defense of Israeli and American military policy in the Middle East, which has badly abused the cause of justice and peace in the region and is shameful to associate with the name of Jesus Christ, His Church, or, particularly, of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches. Old School Presbyterians long ago repudiated Darby, dispensationalism or other excuses for Christian Zionism. Oldline liberals in charge of GA policy may have their own rationale for their pronouncements on Israel and Palestine, including, not unreasonably, our long ties to the Church in Palestine, But this is not a battle in which the Layman or other defenders of theological orthodoxy in the PC(USA) should engage. Aligning ourselves with Israel today will only bring discredit to us and to the cause of the Reformation of the PC(USA).

    • “But this is not a battle in which the Layman or other defenders of theological orthodoxy in the PC(USA) should engage.”


      i attended a church picnic today. the name of the church and denomination are not relevant, the point is it’s a very large Christian church, on a campus, several buildings, large staff, 600 of the members do volunteer work for the church, supposedly, etc.

      almost no one showed up for this picnic; a van of seniors from a retirement community, what appeared to be one large family, and a few others, plus the two pastors, along with the half dozen or so men who prepared the lunch.

      as i said here before, i find it astonishing that so called Christians want to be involved in politics and global missions, and yet can’t find time to do normal church work in the community any more, like spending a few minutes an a Sunday afternoon at a church picnic. there’s something seriously wrong with this picture. anecdotal evidence is overwhelming that we’re under attack from within.

      • Good point. And, I would add, that the Church no longer presents the teachings of Christ or the lessons of the Bible, or God’s grace, during sermons. Rather, they have become political rhetoric.

    • Mr. Dalton,

      Chrisitans in gaza are being told to convert or leave, just who’s side are you on?

  • This article mentioned Malawi? I’m a missionary in Malawi, and I’m happy to report there’s not much going on here. Yet.

  • My husband and I joined the Presbyterian church over 50 years ago and have watched the degradation as the denomination has gone from a religious institution to a political one. A few years ago we visited Israel, in part to see if what PCUSA was telling us about that country was really true. The country they would have you believe exists is simply not there. Israel is a nation of strong people with freedom of religion and freedom of the press. It’s amazing to see their self restraint, but eventually you have to stand up for yourself, and that’s exactly what they’re doing now.

    This week we made one of the most difficult decisions of our lives. We resigned our membership in our church. There comes a time when you have to stand up for what you believe in. That time had come for us.

  • Joe,

    one thing I admire about the PCA is they run a tight ship. Besides Steve Brown out of florida is one of my favorite PCA pastors out of Refomed Theological Seminary, wish we had more like him.

  • I left the PCUSA over 5 years ago for the PCA. In light of what’s taken place over the last 6 months especially, it looks like a very good decision.

    I sit in amazement that a PCUSA member (except the liberal true believer) can stay and support what Louisville is doing. One explanation I got when I mentioned the state of the PCUSA to a friend that still goes to my old church was that very few members take the time to see what their denomination is doing. I believe and certainly pray that that is changing.

  • by Staff | 07.17.14 10:13 am

    Former U.S. President Bill Clinton laid the blame for Palestinian civilian casualties squarely on the heads of Hamas leaders, saying their policy was designed to kill Palestinians. Interviewed on India’s NDTV, Clinton was blunt in his assessment:

    Hamas was perfectly well aware of what would happen if they started raining rockets into Israel. They fired one thousand and they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so that the rest of the world will condemn them.

    They (Israel) know when Hamas attacks them that Hamas has set up a situation which politically it can’t lose, because they (Israelis) can say ‘well if I attack them back they always hide behind civilians and I’ll kill civilians, and if I don’t we’ll look like fools letting somebody shoot a thousand rockets at us and not responding.’

    In the short and medium term Hamas can inflict terrible public relations damage by forcing (Israel) to kill Palestinian civilians to counter Hamas. But it’s a crass strategy that takes all of our eyes off the real objective which is a peace that gets Israel security and recognition and a peace that gets the Palestinians their state.

    Clinton is just the latest world leader to publicly support Israel and condemn Hamas, following statements by U.S. President Barack Obama, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

  • Last week ISIS,or the Islamic state in Iraq gave Christians in Mosul the option of conversion or death. In China over 200 evangelicals were placed on trial for sedition against the State. In Nigeria, Sudan Christians are being slaughtered as sheep. So where is the passion and response from the empty suit of the PCUSA OGA? Correct, in their world view all is well, the sole, the only source of evil in the world currently is what Israel is now applying to the terrorist rump state of Hamas. Again in their anti-Semitic obsession with Israel no other issue exists. And the entire resources and energy of the organization is dedicated to the demonization of Israel and the Jewish people. The PCUSA exists for no other purpose.

    Don’t forget to pay those per capita bills now.

    • So true, Peter. These folks will give up their bibles (if they have one) before their dog-eared The Protocols of Zion.

      • The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is the full title of this trash. Re-published by Hitler and the Nazis. Seems to be the favorite read of the PCUSA.

  • Such an accurate statement! I have just emailed my letter of disgust to my pastor and 14 elders. Had a conversation with a friend who is equally disgusted but does not want to leave because her son is involved with the youth group. So sad her son won’t see her stick to her principles. Our church has become a country club.

  • How long did we pay Clifton Kirkpatrick? At least we have retained stubbornness from our Scot’s heritage.

  • Parson’s is a piece of work, I cannot believe we are paying for this guy, he’d be gone in ten minutes in the real world.

    • Don’t be so hard on the guy, Jimmy. Imagine Gradye’s shock and dismay when he gets to the threshold of the Pearly Gates and finds out that Jesus, like St. Paul, was (wait for it)…Jewish, and a rabbi no less; and that the classical Presbyterians were once considered one of the lost tribes of Israel. (This was told to me by a Jewish friend). Gradye will have a lot of s’plaining to do, someday.

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