ELCA Churchwide Assembly – Reprise

I knew when I posted it that my previous note would not be my last about the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. What I did not predict was the topic on which I’d be compelled to write.

Of the pages and pages of notes and debate topics I summarized, the one getting the most comments has to do with the ELCA Assembly action on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. I’ve chosen not to authorize those comments to appear on this blog for a variety of reasons. Most who have posted comments have been very passionate about their perspective. I’ve been told that God will only bless those nations protecting Israel. I’ve been told that the ELCA position with respect to Israel and Palestine is the primary cause of conflict in all matters within the ELCA. I’ve been told that the ELCA supports terrorism, the destruction of the United States, and teaching children to prefer death over life. I’ve been told that we need to consider the spiritual implications of boycotts of Israel.

So that we know what is being discussed, here is the recommendation from the Memorials Committee:

Recommendation for Assembly Action

  • To receive the memorials from the Pacifica Synod, Metropolitan New York Synod, Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, New England Synod, Southeast Michigan Synod, and Metropolitan Chicago Synod and to thank them for their support of efforts by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to promote peace with justice in the Holy Land;
  • To note the participation of the ELCA in ecumenical and inter-religious forums where religious extremism is addressed;
  • To acknowledge the Churchwide Strategy for Engagement in Israel and Palestine, including its call for “increased engagement with conservative Christians and a clearer and more forceful expression of Lutheran theology in the public debate . . .”; and
  • To call upon the ELCA, in all of its expressions, to recommit itself to the Churchwide Strategy for Engagement in Israel and Palestine through awareness-building, accompaniment, and advocacy activities, including pilgrimage visits, sustained financial support, and other forms of economic stewardship.

This was amended to include the following

  • To call upon the ELCA to underscore the call for economic initiatives by this church and its members in the peace not walls campaign. Such initiatives, in consultation with the Evangelical Lutheran church in Jordan and the Holy Land could include purchasing of products of Palestinian providers and exploration of the feasibility of refusing to buy products produced in Israeli settlements. Also to be explored is the entire investment activity activity by this church. Examination of investment would exclude the option of divestiture.

Nowhere is a boycott of Israel mentioned.  People are encouraged to learn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  For instance, did you know that not all Palestinians are Muslim … many are Christians, and some of those are Lutheran?  How does a Christian church address injustice directed toward other Christians?  I would encourage readers of this blog to visit the ELCA Peace Without Walls pages to learn something about the conflict and what we are encouraged to do in promoting peace.

Pondering Pastor

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3 responses to “ELCA Churchwide Assembly – Reprise

  1. From your day six notes:

    ” The debate picks up with an amendment (to call upon the ELCA to underscore the call for economic initiatives by this church and its members in the peace not walls campaign.
    Such initiatives, in consultation with the Evangelical Lutheran church in Jordan and the Holy Land could include purchasing of products if Palestinian providers and exploration of the feasibility of refusing to buy products produced in Israeli settlements. Also to be explored is the entire investment activity activity by this church.). Amendment passed 385-368.”

    Would that not be considered a boycott of Israel in favor of Palestinians?

  2. ponderingpastor

    No. The distinction was made that not purchasing items made in “illegal settlements”(although I will agree that I don’t have that language in the note above) is very different than a boycott of Israel. It is a focused approach, not unlike saying that one will not purchase clothing that is made with child labor. Only that which is produced in illegal settlements is targeted. This arose in response to Bishop Younan’s presentation.

    Pondering Pastor

  3. The ELCA is pro Arab

    I am zionist!! Has the ELCA Lutheran church already forgotten history of only 60 plus years?
    I already know the ELCA takes amazing liberty in it’s intrepretation of the scripture.

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