WCC , like the NCC , offers mea-culpa

In dealings with Cold War dissidents, former WCC leader rues failings.

Imshausen Germany (ENI). The former general secretary of the World Council of Churches says the organization failed to give sufficient recognition to dissident movements in the then communist countries of Eastern Europe such as Solidarity in Poland and Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia. “While being aware of the situation and basically sympathetic to their struggle, the WCC gave priority attention to the struggles against racism and for justice and iberation in the southern countries,” said the Rev. Konrad Raiser at a conference in Imshausen, central Germany, on the church and dictatorships in the 20th century. [554 words, ENI-04-0460].

Jacobse: It’s a dishonest apology. Criticism of the WCC (and their American counterpart the NCC) during the Cold War covered precisely these failings. The truth is they were too busy castigating America and the free world and arguing that America was responsible for the world’s tyranny. Communism fell, the archives were opened, and the liberal religious organs were exposed as the useful idiots that they were. Here’s the rub: the people that ran the organizations are the same that run them today. What is needed is not more moral posturing, but an examination of how these organizations contributed to the suffering of the victims of tyranny.

One other point. These organizations never offend their liberal constituency. They follow the path that takes no moral courage. Just consider: Solidarity rises in Poland and the free world stares in astonished disbelief. I was in college at the time. I remember it clearly. It was nothing short of a miracle and every clear-headed person with an eye on the world understood this. Yet the WCC did what? — it remained silent! Sorry, but a two sentence apology doesn’t absolve it of its failings.


15 thoughts on “WCC , like the NCC , offers mea-culpa

  1. News flash 2012…

    WCC issues a most sincere apology after the loss of 3,000,000 American lives due to terrorist organizations detonating two nuclear bombs on the Eastern U.S. “While being aware of the situation and basically sympathetic to the security concerns of the American people, the WCC gave priority attention to the struggles against violation of civil rights of hundreds of alleged Islamic terrorists in Guantanamo and other federal detention centers who did not get enough fiber in their diet and were not allowed to vote in the local elections.”

  2. If Islamic terrorists are still attacking us in 2012 it means that 8 years later we were still too dim-witted to understand the root causes of Arab rage, and change our policies accordingly. Here they are, not from me, but from the author of the book “Imperial Hubris”, who was the former head of the Bin Ladin desk for the CIA:

    (1) Our indifference to the ongoing attempts by the Israelis to dispossess the Palestinian people from their land,
    (2) Our attempts to control middle-eastern oil and its price, (3) Our support for undemocratic regimes (in places like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and Uzbekistan), when they suit our purposes.

    The sooner we being standing up for the rights of the Palestinians, quickly begin developing alternative sources of energy, and apologize for 50 years of propping up corrupt regimes, the less likely the type of terroist attack described by Mr. Prisacarou will be to ever occur.

  3. Dean:
    I agree to a point in that many US policies have provided an excuse for terrorist actions, and I certainly question many US Middle-East policies. However, they are just that: an excuse.

    I’m guessing, but I really believe that if the Jews were to completely pull out of Gaza, if the US removed all of our troops from every Middle Eastern nation, if we depended completely on domestic oil, we would still find ourselves victims to groups like Al-Qaida. They will stop at nothing short of the complete destruction of Israel unless it’s perhaps the complete removal of the Jewish people from the Holy Land.

    Their use of children for terrorist bombers, their bombing of civilian night clubs and tourist spots in every region of the world and the sheer brutality of their methods leads me to believe that these groups believe in death and nothing else. Politics is simply a matter of convenience, and reasons are hardly needed.

  4. Josh: I think your answer is racist and misses the point completely. You claim that even if American and Israeli actions that upset Arabs ceased, the Arab people due to thier implied violent, malevolent, subhuman nature would continue to attack Israelis and Americans with undiminshed fervor. In fact, the vast majority of Palestinians would prefer nothing more than to live in peace if they could do so without being treated as prisoners in their own land cut off from chances for economic advancement.

    Remember that a large number of Palestinians are Orthodox Christians, so the argument that their religion teaches them to hate clearly does not apply because it is our very own religion. Every religion has its own extremist whack-jobs, including Christianity. The popular Tim LeHaye “Left Behind” series is no different from any hateful Islamic extremist tract, because it teaches Americans that God loves only Christians like ourselves and everyone else is a subhuman despised by God. The implication is if God is going to burn all of the non-Christians than we should hate them too.

    The radicalization of Palestinian Christians is the direct result of 40 years of mistreatment that continues unabated to this day. If you push and push and push a human being hard enough its possible to drive that person to violently retaliate. Then if you use that violent retaliation as a pretext to push and push so more than hateful feelings harden and become more permanent. The only way to salvage the situation in Palestine and the middle-east is to follow the teachings of Christ, treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves and attempt to love our enemies.

  5. Dean: My comment was not directed towards the Palestians in general but towards groups like Al-Qaida in particular. The real plight of innocent Palestinians is being capitalized on by these factions of terrorists.

  6. One further thing: I do believe that consistent oppression can indeed harden people (re: the rejoicing over the 9/11 bombings in many parts of the Middle East).

    Changes in US policy may alleviate much of the general animosity towards us in that part of the world. Neverthless, a “war on terrorism” will never be a battle that will be completely over. There will always be Osama bin Ladens who would prefer the complete destruction of the United States, no matter what our policies were.

  7. There is no longer a “large number of Palestinians are Orthodox Christians”, the numbers I down to less than 5% and I think even much less than that. They have fled the their “dhimmitude” status in an Islamic society (see http://www.dhimmitude.org/). Funny, to acknowledge a fact that the Islamic people themselves openly acknowledge is called “racist”…;)

  8. Mr. Scourtes,

    I thought Christopher would ask, but he didn’t: where are you getting this stuff about the “radicalisation of Palestinian Christians”? Do you have any evidence of a suicide bombing or other act of terrorism in Israel being committed by a Palestinian Christian?

  9. Han: Your comment sent me back to the internet to do more research. The Palestinian Christians do not appear to have engaged in violence on the scale of their Muslim neighbors. Instead, as Christopher suggests, they have been steadily emigrating away, so that a Christian presence in the Holy Land that has lasted over two thousand years is rapidly disappearing.

    My survey of articles about Palestinian Christians did find many statements by them stating that the the policies of Israel have played the major role in driving Christians away. These policies include land confiscation, economic suffocation, and the fact that Israeli soldiers can and do shoot Palestinians (inclucing Christians) dead with as much impunity as a farmer shoots a rabbit. Fear of becoming an increasingly smaller minority among Muslims is also leading to increased Arab Christian emigration.

    Those policies that drive Palestinian Christians away are strongly supported by the United States government. The United States was one of the few nations just last week voting against enforcement on an International Court of Justice decision ordering Israel to tear down that portion of its security wall built on confiscated Palestinian land. The United States is complicit in ethnic cleansing and the whole world, particularly the Islamic world, can see that. The policies of the Bush administration help fuel Arab anger and increase (rather than decrease) the prospect of terrorism.

  10. For Mr. Scourtes,

    Well, if the Palestinian Christians are Arabs (they are), and the make up about 5% of the Palestinain Arab population, and they make up decidedly less than 5% of Palestinian Arab terrorism, the idea that this terrorism is a function of Israel’s treatment of Arabs is not correct. More likely, it is a problem caused by the inability of Islam to get along with anybody else. The current borders of Israel are a result of Israel winning an average of 1 defensive war of national survival per decade in the latter half of the 20th Century, and the subsequent return of territory to Arab states. Do you really think that had the Arabs won, they would have done the same?

    Furthermore, and I do not wish to make a full endoresement of every Israeli policy here, in Israel itself and in the occupied territories (meaning the West Bank and Gaza–not what the Palestinians mean by “occupied terriotries”–all of Israel) under Israeli control, the Arabs are the best educated, wealthiest and freest Arabs in the world. As an objective matter, the Palestinians would be worse off, economically and as a matter of civil/political/human rights in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Suadi Arabia, Lebanon (see Syria), or any other nearby Arab country save Iraq now that Sadam is out. The problem is not that Israel is particularly oppressive, it is not, especially as compared to Arab Muslim governments, but that Israel is run by and is supposed to by run by Jews.

    Finally, a note about ethnic cleansing: there was ethnic clensing (by both sides) back in 1948. Today, ethnic cleansing is what is going on in Sudan. Having to wait in queue at a security checkpoint or having a house demolished because you let insurgents from Gaza use an underground tunnel into the house to bypass a security checkpoint is not ethnic cleansing. In short, the Israeli-Palenstinian conflict is sad, it is messy, and it would be better if it would go away. However, the fault primarily lies with the Palestinians, and given that the Israelis have been living in alternate states of terrorism or war since its founding, the Israelis have done a remarkably good job of upholding civil rights for both Israelis and Palestinians.

  11. Han: Here is the part of your comment I have extreme difficulty with. You say, “the idea that this terrorism is a function of Israel’s treatment of Arabs is not correct. More likely, it is a problem caused by the inability of Islam to get along with anybody else.” I find this to be an outrageously false and incorrect statement.

    Don’t you think a Palestinian person could reasonably become angry if foreign soldiers and “settlers” came to his house and ordered him at gun-point to move out, while they bulldozed his home and chopped down the Olive groves that had been in his family for centuries, then moved him and his family into a squalid refugee camp? How would you feel about being treated in this manner? Would you have a problem “getting along with” the people who did this to you?

    Today the British newspaper, The Guardian is reporting, “Months after Ariel Sharon announced his dramatic plan to pull Jewish settlers out of Gaza, portraying it as a sacrifice for peace, the government is grabbing more land for West Bank settlements.
    Israeli peace groups and Palestinian officials say thousands of homes are under construction in the main settlements, in addition to an expansion of Jewish outposts that are illegal under Israeli law. Mr Sharon has promised the US he will dismantle the outposts, which are usually clusters of containers or trailer homes serviced by government-built roads, but has failed to do so.

    One Israeli group, Settlement Watch, says in the three months to May, West Bank settlements expanded by 26 hectares (65 acres).The government has approved construction of thousands more homes in the three main settlement blocs on the West Bank, encouraged by an apparent endorsement by George Bush for their eventual annexation.

    In a letter to Mr Sharon, Mr Bush praised the Gaza pullout and agreed that “in light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centres”, it was unrealistic to expect a full return to the 1967 borders.

    Dror Etkes, head of Settlement Watch, said that the expansion of Jewish outposts and continuing house building since Mr Sharon announced his plan in December was evidence that the government was seeking more territory. ”


  12. Below are some excerpts from Dennis Prager’s recent commentary: ‘Explaining the Arab-Israeli conflict through the numbers’

    “Number of Arab refugees who fled the land that became Israel: approximately 600,000”

    “Number of Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries: approximately 600,000”

    “Number of terrorist attacks by Israelis or Jews since 1967: 1”

    “Number of terrorist attacks by Arabs or Muslims since 1967: thousands”

    “Percentage of Jews who have praised the Jewish terrorist: approximately .1”

    “Percentage of Palestinians who have praised Islamic terrorists: approximately 90”

    “Number of Arabs Israel allows to live in Arab settlements in Israel: 1,250,000”

    “Number of Jews Palestinian Authority allows to live in Jewish settlements in Palestinian Authority: 0”

    But, according to Dean, the major problem in this part of the world is how the Israelis are trying to protect themselves. Whatever …

    BTW, Dean, how many Israeli settlements were there when every Arab/Islamic nation around Israel tried to invade Israel in 1967?

  13. “Number of terrorist attacks by Israelis or Jews since 1967: 1″

    If you have a modern conventional military force you don’t need terrorist attacks.

  14. Dean,

    You say

    “Han: Here is the part of your comment I have extreme difficulty with. You say, “the idea that this terrorism is a function of Israel’s treatment of Arabs is not correct. More likely, it is a problem caused by the inability of Islam to get along with anybody else.” I find this to be an outrageously false and incorrect statement.”

    When you say things like this you really through me for a loop Dean. Are you sure you were not part of the Soviet state propaganda machine? How old are you Dean? Have you spent any time in the Soviet Union? No reasonable person, from the left or the right, can deny the history of Islamic “civilization”. Are you actually suggesting Dean, that Islam is a religion of “peace” or that it is not a philosophy based on conquer and submission? Dean, do you need our help? Do you wish for us to recommend some books so you can educate yourself on world history?

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