Thursday, August 03, 2006

I wish I could trust the PCUSA

People are truly in need. Tragedy is definitely present. And the PCUSA issues a call for humanitarian aid.

I’d sure love to be able to respond wholeheartedly. But I can’t.

Unfortunately, I know too much. I can connect too many previous instances of inappropriate action, and that makes me hesitant to be taken for a ride once again.

It’s a little like a person who lies. Once the person is known to be a liar, you never know if what he or she says is true anymore. A particular statement might be perfectly true, and yet you have to wonder, because the last statement wasn’t. You just never know.

So it is when those in responsible positions have taken missteps and have proven not to be reliable. You never know if this time they can actually be trusted or not.

This time I’d like to trust the supposed aid givers, but previously they have proved untrustworthy. In particular, the Presbyterian News Service story calls for us to contribute to humanitarian relief for the Lebanese people, who are in need. Already, One Great Hour of Sharing has given $50,000 to Action by Churches Together International, and that group has sent aid to the Middle East Council of Churches for distribution.

Whoops! Big red flag.

The PCUSA mission worker assigned to the Middle East Council of Churches, Dr. Nuhad Tomeh, is the PCUSA go-to guy for this kind of thing. This is the same guy who time after time has escorted groups such as the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy and a group from San Francisco Theological Seminary into ill-advised and actually dangerous meetings with none other than the Hezbollah.

So Tomeh is found to be the controversial Presbyterian link time and again to Hezbollah. Does that inspire you? Does it seem a good idea to send money to the very guy who appears to be in Hezbollah’s back pocket?

“Safe passage for aid convoys remains a major problem,” says another spokesperson for the Middle East Council of Churches. Could it be that the MECC is at all compromised by their coziness with Hezbollah itself and thus not trusted? Could it be that Hezbollah has a habit of operating right in among vulnerable civilians, thus causing the security problem for aid convoys? Using civilians as human sand bags for their military operations does not particularly ennoble the Hezbollah as warriors!

Hezbollah caused the current war. Hezbollah is responsible for causing civilian deaths and suffering by operating their war from the midst of populated centers. Hezbollah is proudly hurtling unaimable rockets at just any old civilian population in Israel, hoping to knock off whoever happens to be under the rockets’ arc when they drop. And Hezbollah is the close buddy of “our man” in Lebanon.

Somehow, that doesn’t inspire my confidence. It's a sad thing, because the need truly is there.

(And where’s the aid appeal for the Israelis, who likewise are being killed and displaced by Hezbollah aggression? Not a word about that. Why am I not surprised?)


Blogger Martin Thompson said...

You're not alone.

I am looking forward to seeing what the Presbyterian Global Fellowship puts forth as options for churches to remain affiliated but know their money won't be supplying terrorist causes.

With all our contacts in Middle East, we should be helping these Christians with relief and help in evangelization.

12:25 PM, August 04, 2006  
Blogger Dwight said...

1 million Lebanese are displaced.
I'm not sure it's reasonable to compare that need to that of Israel is facing.

6:18 PM, August 04, 2006  
Blogger Marthame said...

The Middle East Council of Churches consists of our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the Middle East - including Israel. This includes the Presbyterian churches of Lebanon.

7:45 AM, August 05, 2006  
Blogger Marthame said...

One more thing: if you're interested in a worthwhile evangelical conversation on these issues, including the voices of evangelical Christians in the region whose lives are affected by the current situation, visit Christianity Today's website.

3:00 PM, August 05, 2006  
Blogger MikeZ said...

I'm unmoved by Christianity Today. The article, "Prayer to Condoleezza Rice" cites Qana as an example of Israeli atrocity and Lebanese innocence, yet the events at Qana have been shown over and over again to be little more than an example of Hezbollah's duplicity.

Just Google for "qana green" (without the quotes).

I can certainly excuse Mr Kassis' bias, but I find it hard to excuse his unwillingness to do decent journalistic research.

And the PC(USA) has been entirely one-sided in its support of the Palestininans and the Lebanese and everybody else except Israel.

Hezbollah, not Israel, fired thousands of unguided, ball-bearing-loaded rockets across the border.

11:21 AM, August 18, 2006  

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