I wish I could trust the PCUSA
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?)