“. . . it is basically fear that prevents Bishops and governments. . . from taking a stand against the rich and powerful and on behalf of the weak and marginalized. . . “ (Rev. Naim Ateek)

PLEASE NOTE: IN SOME SORT OF SENESCENT MIX-UP WITH MYSELF, I POSTED THIS HERE INSTEAD OF ON MY OTHER BLOG WHERE IT WAS INTENDED. I APPRECIATE YOUR READING IT IN SPITE OF MY ERROR, AND PLEASE VISIT THE BLOG WHERE IT WAS INTENDED TO APPEAR. THANK YOU.

St. George Episcopal Cathedral,. Jerusalem. Not a mirage.

St. George Episcopal Cathedral,. Jerusalem. Not a mirage.

Some time ago I was getting onto the elevator at a favorite Dallas movie theater, when another old coot who couldn’t manage the long staircase said to me, “Does such a place even exist?”

He was referencing my T-shirt, which was from St. George’s Anglican Seminary in Jerusalem. Yes, I explained. I’ve stayed there twice on trips to Palestine. The Cathedral and Seminary were founded in 1920, long before the state of Israel.

He obviously did not believe me. I have had the same reaction other times when I have worn the shirt.

This posting has nothing to do with my religious beliefs except that I must state the caveat that my theological ideas these days (as I have written before) have little to do with a belief in God, but have everything to do with the justice and mercy and ethics of what I perceive to be the essence of Christianity. I used to be a confirmed and (marginally) believing Episcopalian (Anglican), but to say that I am now would be stretching the idea to the breaking point.

So I have no standing for any of what I am about to write. So be it.

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church USA recently voted not to proceed with divesting itself from stock in companies that profit from the illegal “settlements” of Israelis in the West Bank and Jerusalem, internationally-recognized sovereign territory of the Palestinian people. (A description of the bishops’ vote is here.)

An aside: I believe we should be exact in our language and call the settlers what they really are: “squatters.” (dictionary.com: squatter, “a person who settles on land or occupies property without title, right, or payment of rent”). But that’s an issue for another day.

Surprisingly (at least to me) the American bishops took their stand at the urging of the Episcopal Bishop of Jerusalem.|
I am happy to correct this because this is Apparently not true, but is a misrepresentation by the Episcopal News Service.  See this article.

“. . . it is basically fear that prevents Bishops and governments. . . from taking a stand against the rich and powerful and on behalf of the weak and marginalized. . . “ (Rev. Naim Ateek)

The Rev. Naim Ateek is a Palestinian Episcopal priest who in the 1980s was Dean of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem. In 1991 he founded the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, which is now an international organization working for justice for the Palestinian people.

The Rev. Naim Ateek

The Rev. Naim Ateek

In response to the vote of the American Episcopal House of Bishops choosing not to antagonize such groups as AIPAC in the US or the Knesset in Israel, Naim Ateek has written letters to the House of Bishops and to the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina.

Both documents are detailed statements describing the theological issues raised by the Bishops’ vote.

I suggest that anyone interested in either justice or theology read Naim Ateek’s statements.

I was annoyed when the stranger on the elevator questioned the existence of an institution in Jerusalem that is not Jewish (I assume that was his disbelief).  I’ll have to suggest that FOSNA create t-shirts to sell.

Naim Ateek’s responses are available here.
Click on the links:

  • Naim Ateek’s letter to PB-elect Michael Curry
  • Naim Ateek’s response to the Episcopal Bishops’ vote

Another discussion of  the vote of the House of Bishops, Episcopal Church USA.
Biographical sketch of Rev. Naim Ateek.
Daily news from Palestine not available in American media.

Episcopal House of Bishops Annual Meeting Voting Down BDS, 2015

Episcopal House of Bishops Annual Meeting Voting Down BDS, 2015

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