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Colorado Christians Must Break Silence

March 4, 2010

( Note: The followingop-ed appeared in today’s March 4, 2010  (Denver Post). I  signed it.)

GUEST COMMENTARY

Colorado Christians must break silence
By John Kane

American Christians for too long have been largely silent about the most dangerous conflict threatening peace in our world: the decades-old crisis in Israel and Palestine.

Christians in this country have largely gone along with the Cold War narrative (now refocused on terrorism) that dominates thinking in our media, our foreign policy establishment, and our Congress — as well as in Israel and among most Jewish Americans.

Such “Christian silence” is rooted to a great extent in ignorance of what is actually happening in the Holy Land, and it is also rooted in a legitimate fear of offending Jewish neighbors and fellow citizens.

Yet those who seek true peace in the Holy Land and who want to stop the spread of ethnic and religious hatreds throughout the Middle East must challenge the sacred pieties and the raw political power that so far have stymied President Obama’s efforts for Middle East peace.

In December, the major Christian leaders in Israel and Palestine issued a kairos, or “new moment” document. It echoed similar Christian calls in the past, including in South Africa and in our own civil rights movement. For make no mistake, it was a gradual awakening among American Christian churches, and among American Jews, that led to action against the violence and injustice in those times and places.

In responding to the call of the Christian leaders in Israel and Palestine, Christians in this country will also be joining with newly powerful voices in American Judaism, such as the Jewish lobby J Street and the activist group Jewish Voice for Peace. They, too, see this as a new moment, no matter that the headlines remain filled with cycles of terror, of occupation and response, of injustice and violence on both sides in the Holy Land.

We urge Colorado Christians to break their silence, to join the efforts of groups like Churches for Middle East Peace as they seek to change thinking and action in Washington, and to join us in reaching out to Christians and Jews here in Colorado. We must first learn to counter the myths and ideologies that feed violence and injustice. Then we as people of faith must act for justice and peace in the Holy Land. Help us break the silence.

John Kane is a professor of religious studies at Regis University. Additional signers to this commentary were Byron Plumley, director of peace and justice education at Regis; Vincent Harding, emeritus professor at Iliff School of Theology; Bill Calhoun, a retired Presbyterian minister; Rob Prince, publisher of Progressive Jewish News; and the Rev. Mark Meeks, pastor of Capitol Heights Presbyterian.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Les Canges permalink
    March 4, 2010 10:30 am

    Kudos all around to John and the rest of you for pursuing this. In peace…Les

  2. Frederick Ahmad permalink
    March 4, 2010 6:35 pm

    Finally a voice of reason. It will eventually dawn on those who know nothing about the Middle-East, that Israel will only find peace when Palestinians have peace. Peace cannot be one sided, it must be just and equal.

  3. Cynthia Rutledge permalink
    March 5, 2010 10:08 am

    Thanks to each of you for taking this open and honest stand. I recognize some of the names as people who are well-informed of the history behind events in the Middle East. Perhaps opening the doors in this manner will encourage others to first become accurately informed, and then to work for peace from an understanding of what has gone on before.

    Comments to the article in the DP lead me to believe that all too many have little if any understanding of this complicated situation and consequently are fanning the flames with misinformation, hatred and name calling.

  4. April 3, 2010 12:15 pm

    I applaud your call for Christians in Colorado to speak out in support of a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Since my first visit in 2005, I have been disappointed to see that the traditional Christian organizations like the Colorado Council of Churches, seem unwilling to take a public leadership role in this important peace issue.

    I would like to mention, however, two Christian groups that I work with that are supporting a just peace in Israel and Palestine. Friends of Sabeel, Colorado, hosts a monthly lecture series – our April meeting features “A Quaker Perspective” with Rev. Jim Fine, on Sunday, April 18, 3 pm at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, at Montview and Dahlia in Park Hill. Our March program was women from “Breaking the Silence,” former Israeli soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories and are now speaking out against the occupation. Members of Friends of Sabeel also meet with our congressional representatives and their staffs to inform them and urge their support for a just and equitable peace. Friends of Sabeel-Colorado also has an annual fact-finding delegation to Israel and Palestine: http://www.sabeelcolorado.org

    The Lutheran Church, Rocky Mountain Synod, has a group supporting the ELCA Peace Not Walls campaign: http://rmselca.org/world/peace_not_walls/ I also have several blogs: Advent and Lenten meditations based on my experiences in the Holy Land, and an ongoing blog with stories of the people I have met who are working for peace in Israel and Palestine, as well as information Americans do not usually see on our news: http://www.apilgrimstales.blogspot.com. The Lenten meditations are at http://www.alentengeography.blogspot.com

    • April 3, 2010 12:45 pm

      Jan Miller: Thanks for your detailed and interesting response. will check out your blogs. Best, rjp

  5. April 5, 2010 4:08 am

    ALL of the forces involved in the Middle East both seek world hegemony, the Zionists and Islamics from a religio-political basis, and the west from an economic one. The Bible tells us that the entire world is under the spiritual control of the devil and his forces, and that this will continue without interruption until the return of Yeshuah HaMashiach at the END of the Tribulation. Our Father confirms this repeatedly with His references to “the King of Babylon, my servant”, and such, and this:

    Jer 27:13 “Why will you die, you and your people, by the sword, famine and pestilence, as YHVH has spoken to that nation which will not serve the king of Babylon?
    Jer 27:14 “So do not listen to the words of the prophets who speak to you, saying, ‘You will not serve the king of Babylon,’ for they prophesy a lie to you;
    Jer 27:15 for I have not sent them,” declares YHVH, “but they prophesy falsely in My name, in order that I may drive you out and that you may perish, you and the prophets who prophesy to you.”

    —————–
    Jer 30:7 ‘Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, But he will be saved from it.
    Jer 30:8 ‘It shall come about on that day,’ declares YHVH of hosts, ‘that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves.
    —————-
    Make no mistake about it, there is no “righteous” side in the coming conflict, and all who think there is will be swept away, exactly as prophesied. Keep your own counsel, we beg you.

    (Note: I will not delete this – although i consider it little more than gobble-di-gook. Still I edited it down a bit, while trying to preserve the essence of the argument presented. rjp – webmaster)

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