Editor's note: Why is the Orthodox Church be involved with such a politically partisan organization?
The National Council of Churches' General Secretary, the Rev. Robert Edgar, announced at a press conference September 23 that he would be participating in anti-war protests in Washington, DC, sponsored by the radical left group International ANSWER. Edgar said that he would be "on the front line" of the protests, which are expected to extend over the weekend.
International ANSWER is an organization run by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who served in the Johnson administration. Clark has spoken in defense of several infamous dictators-including Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic and North Korea's Kim Jong Il-who are responsible for the mass slaughters. ANSWER is a coalition of far-left organizations, notably the Stalinist Workers World Party, and a number of anti-Semitic groups. ANSWER famously disallowed liberal anti-war activist Michael Lerner from speaking at one of its rallies because he is a supporter of Israel.
Speakers at the conference on Saturday include British member of parliament George Galloway, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, lawyer Lynne Stewart, and Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
George Galloway is being investigated for taking bribes from Saddam Hussein procured through the United Nations' oil-for-food program, a charge which Galloway has denied. Cindy Sheehan has, along with ANSWER, called for the impeachment of President Bush, whom she has called a "filth-spewer," "warmonger," and "lying bastard" among other things. Lynne Stewart was indicted for aiding terrorist Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman in communicating with a terrorist organization in Egypt. Cynthia McKinney is well known for her numerous anti-Semitic remarks. She also has claimed that the Bush administration allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen for political gain.
When asked if he had any qualms about attending a protest sponsored by a radical organization such as ANSWER, Edgar replied that such groups had the right to freedom of expression. Any radical agendas are "theirs not ours," the NCC general secretary said.
It is likely, however, that Edgar's participation in the ANSWER protest will draw even more attention to the NCC's persistent left-wing political activism. It was this political activism that was a primary reason cited by the Antiochian Orthodox Church for exiting the NCC earlier this summer.
The NCC is a member of the Win Without War coalition, which includes secular leftist groups such as MoveOn.org, Global Exchange, Feminist Majority and Greenpeace. Win Without War recently ran an incendiary anti-war newspaper ad campaign. One page-featuring photos of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and Secretary of State Rice-proclaimed in huge black type: "They lied." The facing page-featuring a list of Iraq war casualties in small print-declared, "They died."
Also speaking at the NCC press conference was Keith Clements, General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches, who gave a "sermon" against the Iraq war. He complained that while leaders like Germany's Gerhard Schroeder had heeded arguments against the war, President Bush had not. Clements summarized U.S. policy as "fight with us, or you are our enemies."
Clements recalled the story in the last two chapters of the Book of Acts, in which the apostle Paul warned his captors that their voyage to Asia would be disastrous for men and ships alike. But the voyage continued, and shipwreck ensued. Clements compared the 2003 anti-war protesters to Paul, with their warnings that disaster lay ahead if the Iraq war were pursued.
Edgar followed up on Clements' analogy. "The ship of state has run aground in the U.S.," the NCC leader asserted.
Read the entire article on the The Institute on Religion and Democracy website (new window will open). Reprinted with permission.