Methodists Crucified Palestinians, Says Methodist Missionary
Earlier this week, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church made a decision that it would not order divestment from three companies doing business with Israel. Rather, it would continue to consider ways to engage both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the words of one Palestinian advocate, who also happens to be a United Methodist missionary at the Bethlehem Bible College, the General Conference has crucified the Palestinians much as Christ was crucified. Alex Awad writes:
In describing the trial of Jesus before Pilate, Luke the Evangelist brilliantly described the mood of the crowd when he wrote, “But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.” (Luke 23:23 NIV)
On May 2, 2012 at the United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida, once again shouts of injustice prevailed over the shouts of those who yearned to see actions promoting justice in Palestine. United Methodists and Jewish allies had come from around the world to stand in solidarity with Palestinian Christians who called for divestment to help end Israel’s occupation. But opponents spread fear and misinformation that carried the day.
The delegates of the United Methodist Church considered three resolutions that dealt with the Israel-Palestine question. The first two passed in favor of justice for the Palestinians, in particular against the occupation and settlements, but these two resolutions have little practical power in them to change realities on the ground. The third resolution, which called for divesting United Methodist Pension Funds from three companies that support and sustain the occupation through their machines and technologies, was defeated with the final tally showing 39% in favor of divestment and 61% opposed.
On May 2, “…their shouts prevailed” and I watched with pain my people being crucified again.
As a Palestinian I am concerned about the occupation of my homeland, the settlements, the separation wall and all the other forms of injustices but as a Christian, I am more concerned over the health of the Church. A Church that is not ready or willing to hear the voice of the oppressed and stand with justice is out of sync with the will of her Head and Maker.
Words fail me.
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