NCC laments opening of US embassy in Jerusalem

Posted May 16, 2018

[National Council of Churches] The National Council of Churches laments the move of the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We have previously warned that such an unwise and prejudicial action would make a peace settlement even more difficult to achieve and would indeed lead to violence.  The deadly violence that followed the opening of the embassy bears out the truth of this warning.

At the time of this writing, at the border between Israel and Gaza, at least 61 Palestinians who were protesting the opening of the embassy have been killed by Israeli forces and 2,700 more have been injured.  This is in addition to dozens already killed and thousands more wounded in recent weeks leading up to this move. The National Council of Churches condemns this violent and disproportionate response by Israeli forces.  We consider it an illustration of the failure of Israel, the United States, and the international community to address the injustice of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and the inability to conclude a two-state solution.

Moreover, we are deeply chagrined that Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist minister who has condemned Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, and others to hell led prayers at the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. We are further disappointed by the presence of evangelical pastor John Hagee, a proponent of the misguided theology of Christian Zionism, among the invited speakers.  Their unfortunate participation in this ceremony reflects the reality that yesterday’s event in Jerusalem represents pandering to a segment of evangelical Christianity here in the U.S. rather than an affirmation of the hopes, dreams, aspirations, and prayers of Christians who live in the Holy Land.

Finally, the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem illustrates the increasing isolation of our country within the international community when it comes to policy in the region.  In failing to help constructively address the prolonged crisis in Syria, and after unilaterally withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, yesterday’s event in Jerusalem reflects the United States’ apparent abdication of its role as an honest proponent, broker, and partner for peace.


Comments (13)

  1. Dianne Elaine Delaney nee Mitten says:

    It’s so strange that evangelicals are so ignorant of the history of the middle East. When will they join the twentieth century let alone the twenty first century. Jesus doesn’t need a physical place to return to. He returns to me every morning and closes my eyes every night. We are dust and to dust we will return. What more can we ask than that we are his forever.

  2. B Higgins says:

    It would be interesting to hear the Council’s recommendation for a proportionate respones to the protest violence. Maybe I will read further to see where violent protests are denounced with equal fervor.

  3. william dailey says:

    Thus comes the anticipated rant against Israel. One can only imagine the glee if the rioters had succeeded in breaking thru the wall and killing Israelis. There would be no claim that the rioters acted in a “violent and disproportionate” manner. It is very easy to be holier than thou when the survival of your country and its citizens are not at risk. The National Council of Churches better get used to the fact that Israel is there to stay. If the Council truly seeks peace its efforts would be better spent convincing Hamas of that fact.

  4. Vicki Gray says:

    My God, folks, 61 human beings, including a six-month old baby and a double-amputee in a wheelchair, armed only with stones and kites, were massacred on Monday and the United States Government blames the victims…victims, desperate, despairing, seeking only to escape their open air prison. It is time to move beyond chagrin and lamentations. It is time to DO something. For God’s sake – for Jesus who must be crying this morning – DO something.

    1. B Higgins says:

      Any life lost due to violence is tragic, Vicki. You seem to indicate the victims intentionally put the baby and disabled in harm’s way during this escape. That sounds deeply concerning. What solutions are available for these people so desperate?

  5. PJ Cabbiness says:

    Once again, biased, factually incorrect, politicized anti-Sematism in action.

  6. Joe Prasad says:

    Right or wrong, President Trump had the courage to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem. He kept his campaign promise. As always in any situation, time will tell if this was the right move. However one can expect more trouble in that region! An open air prison cannot continue … Palestinians need to live in dignity and leave a better society for their descendants.

    In the past, there were some countries that had their embassies in Jerusalem which were shut down under UN pressure. I am sure Israel did not like this.

    Concerning the controversial pastors leading the prayers, it only goes to show that no matter what your political leanings or beliefs, one can always find pastors to support your cause.

  7. mike geibel says:

    The loss of life is indeed tragic, and indiscriminate shooting into a crowd should be condemned if it occurred.. Israel apparently warned that it would shoot at protesters approaching the fence. Why would any mother or father take a child to a violent riot where it is known the Israeli police or soldiers will fire weapons at individuals who approach the fence? Why are church leaders not appealing to the Palestinian protesters to keep their distance from the fence?

    I do agree with the questioning of inviting Robert Jeffress to offer a prayer given his hurtful pronouncements that Mormons are members of a cult and that Jews and Muslims who do not convert to Christianity cannot go to heaven. I don;t think that who goes to heaven and who does not is his decision.

  8. Andrew Poland says:

    I’m sorry, I seem to be lost here. The “Nation” part of the “National Council of Churches” is referring to the United States, right? If that’s the case, and they want to lament evangelicals and heretics (which I totally think there ought be more of), then maybe they ought to start off by going after the whack-o’s that run rampant here in the US.

    Maybe they ought to stop that creep on late-nite TV who sells his “Miracle Manna”. Maybe they ought to go to African American churches and stop them from referring to themselves as “Prophet” or “Bishop” (when he wasn’t elected), and insist that they have same-sex marriages and transgender baptisms. Oh, and they can fight to shut down the new-wave colonization of “disadvantaged countries” by evangelists.

    I focus a bit there on the railing against evangelists part for two reasons. One, evangelism as well as progressivism are the two extremes that are destroying our church, therefore anytime I see them getting fussed at, I like it. Two, considering that outside of complaining about American evangelists, the issue regards Israeli policy and Palestinian refugees, I fail to see how that involves an American National Council of Churches. That’s like me issuing a statement about Israel. I live in Louisiana.

    So yeah. I think my big takeaway from this is that the NCC is a bunch of opportunists and chicken**** progressives just looking to score political points. Why don’t you jerks get off the politics and culture war crap and actually minister to your flocks? With as “involved” as you all are, how do we still have homelessness, abuse, et cetera here at home? How do you expect anyone to take you seriously?

  9. Bill Louis says:

    According to CNN reports Hamas claims that 50 of those that were killed were members of Hamas, the organizers of the riots. If you watch any of the videos you’ll see the “peaceful” protestors burning tires, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the IDF forces. Men are approaching the border fence with babies in their arms taunting the IDF. The Israelis showed great restraint in my opinion. The NCC should butt out.

  10. Doug Desper says:

    There are many separate issues here, none of which should be mistakenly mixed into or conflated with the rest. Who speaks about Jerusalem from whatever perspective is really not the point. The issue is simple in that Jerusalem has been and is the capital of Israel. That was decided. Whoever else besides Israel’s government speaks about it doesn’t matter. The truth remains whether energetic evangelicals agree with it, whether Palestinian immigrants don’t agree with it, whether the past 6 US presidents promoted it (and they did), and whether or not the NCC agrees. Israel has a right to a country that was created for them without constant interlopers trying to out-populate them, and they have a right to the capital of their choice, and recognizing those facts cannot be equated to racism, sin, or ignorance. Pleasing the Palestinians (whoever they are) and the surrounding Arab/Muslim countries is impossible because they do not believe in the legitimacy of Israel. A second holocaust is the only cure for the Israeli reality that Hamas and many others favor, and the deafening silence of the NCC about that calls into question the relevance of liberal Protestant voices.

    Whatever the National Council of Churches was 60 years ago they stopped being quite some time ago and their voice is better confined to issues for which they receive a thorough education.

  11. Marlene Talbott-Green PhD says:

    William Daily: If I read the message from the NCC, it is not in any sense a rant against Israel.
    It is a statement of how this group thinks about the appearance and the substance of religious participation in the “celebration” of the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Don’t turn it into anything else, especially as rants against the US Churches, please.

  12. Larry Waters says:

    How about the NCC condemning the violence against Christians in the mid-east by murderous members of “religious sects”? If a robber breaks into your house and is killed by the homeowner, it’s the robber’s fault NCC!!! Same situation in Israel, you leftist morons of the NCC.

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