The 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly elected William Chris Boerger the new secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Rev. Boerger is the former bishop of the Northwest Washington Synod, a position he held for 12 years. He made a name for himself, over those twelve years, showing himself to be a vocal gay rights, liberal activist. So let me tell you more about the man the ELCA has voted to hold the second most powerful position in the denomination.
The Homosexual Rights Activist:
Here is a statement made by Bishop Boerger to the Washington state Senate Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee:
"Mr. Chairman, I am Chris Boerger, the bishop of the Northwest Washington Synod of the Evangelical Church in America . . . In 2009, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to commit itself to find ways to allow congregations who choose to do so, to support and hold publicly accountable lifelong monogamous same gender relationships . . .One of the people who had questions about our doing this said, "Bishop, isn't that marriage?" And my response is, "Well, in everything but name." The reality is, the Lutheran church has always held that it is the state that defines what marriage is; it's the church that then blesses people who enter into that relationship. We have now stated our desire to bless those who are publicly accountable in lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships. We can't call it marriage, you can . . . we ask for that freedom." (see here, beginning at the 1:12:20 mark)
The Lutheran LGBT rights organization ReconcilingWorks celebrated the election of Rev. Boerger to his new office and Executive Director, Emily Eastwood said, “Pr. Chris Boerger has been an ally for full participation for many years. His prophetic witness in favor of civil marriage equality for same-gender couples before the Washington State legislature was remarkable in its clarity. Chris ordained our own regional director, Pr. Kari Lipke, and has been an avid supporter of clergy in same-gender relationships as their bishop...We applaud his election and look forward to the ways in which we may partner with him in the years ahead.” (read here)
ReconcilingWorks also reports that in 2012 “Bishop Chris Boerger said in his remarks closing the synod assembly that he pledged to continue speaking in favor of civil marriage equality until it became the law of the land in Washington State.” (read here)
At a retirement party/roast for Bishop Boerger “Jan Nesse said that in this unique time to be the church she and the Bishop had more talks about sex than in all the years she taught sex education.” (read here)
The Anti-Israel Activist:
Bishop Boerger and Presiding Bishop-elect Elizabeth E. Eaton were two of 58 ELCA bishops who signed a letter to President Obama in 2009 concerning Israel and Palestinians. In the letter it was written, “We express profound concern at the stalemate that persists and at the fading hopes for a two-state solution due to the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.” And “We urge the U.S. to insist upon an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land...” and “ The ELCA has long called for a halt to settlements, and we reiterate that call now with a deep sense of urgency.” (read here)
The Environmental Activist:
“ELCA Bishop Chris Boerger (NW WA) stated that it 'is “blatant sin” for human beings to fail to protect creation' (ELCA News Release 11/23/2010). Boerger represented ELCA bishops as leaders from 56 denominations and faith-based organizations called on the US Senate to leave intact the power of the US Environmental Protection Agency to regulate pollutants.” (read here)
“Chris Boerger, who serves as bishop for the Northwest Washington Synod, came to Washington, D.C., as part of a delegation of senior religious leaders to speak to members of Congress and to Obama administration officials about a proposed gold and copper mine, which threatens the world’s largest wild salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska.” (read here)
The ELCA magazine The Lutheran recently reported on the happenings at this spring's ELCA Synod assemblies. It is no surprise that the synods of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, who continue to become more liberal and less Biblical, are fixated on promoting homosexuality and denigrating Israel. The Lutheran reported on the 26 synod assemblies that took place in May 2013, highlighting some resolutions brought before those assemblies; it was not a comprehensive list. Of the resolutions highlighted, 22 were focused on and supportive of homosexuality and related issues and 11 dealt with Israel, promoting positions held by anti-Israel supporters. (see here)
Here are some of the anti-Israel resolutions mentioned in The Lutheran:
- “Affirmed support for members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land; asked its congregations to study the issues, work for justice, and call on their elected leaders to hold hearings on whether Israel's use of U.S. financial aid violates the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and Arms Export Control Act.”
- “Affirmed the Peace Not Walls campaign; memorialized the Churchwide Assembly to commit to socially responsible economic practices by encouraging members to invest in Palestinian economic endeavors and avoid products and services from companies that benefit from or support Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.”
- “Sought accompaniment, awareness-raising and advocacy for people of the Holy Land, and socially responsible economic practices that pertain to the Israeli-Palestine conflict.”
- “Recommended study of the Kairos Palestine document and advocacy for a just and peaceful solution in the Holy Land.”
Here are some of the pro-homosexuality resolutions:
- “Asked the Churchwide Assembly to call for legislation prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."
- "Invited conversations regarding ways the church can advocate for equal protections for same-gender couples and their families."
- "Backed the Uniting American Families Act, which would give binational same-sex couples the same immigration rights afforded to heterosexual couples."
- "Asked the Churchwide Assembly to urge all branches of government to recognize the freedom to marry for all people; sought further conversations on this topic.”
- “Commended the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America for changing policy that excluded gay youth from participation; encouraged it to re-examine policy banning homosexual people in leadership roles.”
Also, in a recent news release by the ELCA addressing the upcoming 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Pittsburgh, PA, they summarized the actions that the voting members at the assembly will consider this year saying,
“Proposals (known as memorials) from the ELCA’s 65 synods include topics such as gender identity discrimination, the Uniting American Families Act, community violence, ministering to same-gender couples and their families, immigration reform, hydraulic fracturing, and the Middle East.” (read here)
Its spring, which means ELCA synod assemblies are beginning. These annual, boring, waste-of-money gatherings usually include a wide variety of attacks on God's Word and the ever popular anti-Semitic based attacks on Israel. The ELCA's Rocky Mountain Synod has already gone on record at their assembly last weekend passing a resolution called “Accompaniment, Awareness-Raising, & Advocacy For The People Of The Holy Land.” (see here)
In the Resolution the Assembly resolved to “affirm our support for sisters and brothers in the ELCJHL as they remain faithful to the Gospel amid the oppression of Israeli military occupation”. Saying Israel is oppressing people and occupying land is a fallacy which is often repeated by those who are anti-Semitic.
The Assembly then encouraged people to use the ELCA Peace Not Walls resources claiming that it has “reliable information about the situation” (in Israel). In no way is the ELCA a reliable source for what is happening in Israel.
The passed resolution also seeks a congressional investigation into Israel's use of U.S. aid. The ELCA's aim in that request is to cut or end aid to Israel so as to hurt the Jewish nation. Remember, the ELCA views Israel as oppressors and occupiers of land that they think the Arabs should have. Stopping U.S. aid to Israel would increase the chances of that happening.
And finally, the Assembly resolved, “that this assembly urges members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to consider investing their retirement and other funds in a manner consistent with the Peace Not Walls campaign.” This is another attempt to hurt Israel financially by cutting personally financial investments going to Israeli companies. The ELCA would rather have those investments go to entities within the terrorist controlled Gaza strip.
The Rocky Mountain Synod also had a workshop during the assembly called, “Peace Not Walls: Why are we involved in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict? Faces of the Occupation” (see here).
Satan's desire, shown throughout history, has always been to destroy God's chosen people, the Jews. Today he is using the ELCA, who claims to follow Christ, to try to accomplish that purpose.
A news release by the ELCA News Service details the happenings at the recent ELCA Conference of Bishops. The news service reports that -
“David Swartling, ELCA secretary, who announced that he would not seek another term as secretary at the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. In an earlier communication sent to the Conference of Bishops, (Presiding Bishop Mark) Hanson indicated his willingness to be available for another term.”
We also are told that ELCA treasurer, Rev. Linda Norman, announced “Financial contributions from congregations for the work of synods and the churchwide organization in the form of Mission Support for the first seven months in 2012 was $27.3 million, a decrease of $0.4 million or 1.3 percent from the previous year.”
ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson also reported to the Council of Bishops at this time. In that report Hanson said, "If we lose our deep rootedness in Scripture, in the Lutheran Confessions, in the church and in Christ, we will lose confidence in the Holy Spirit. We will lose faith." (read here)
I don't disagree with Bishop Hanson's statement, but the irony in the ELCA leader’s words is the fact that the ELCA has already “los(t) our deep rootedness in Scripture” and continues to walk farther away from God’s Word. He is culpable and responsible for that happening.
The ELCA is not rooted in Scripture (or “in the Lutheran Confessions, in the church and in Christ.”) Sadly, Bishop Hanson doesn’t realize it. He needs to open his eyes and see the truth of the situation the ELCA is in and that they already have lost confidence in the Holy Spirit and have lost faith.
Bishop Hanson also made this statement. "We also have the opportunity and responsibility to ask, what does it mean to be deeply rooted in Christ and always being made new as we live in communities of increasing religious pluralism?" "With the recent increase in anti-Muslim incidents, the deadly shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., and demonstrations and violence in the Middle East, we all need to be asking, what is a faithful, Lutheran evangelical witness in such a context?”
I find it perplexing that Bishop Hanson would highlight the incredibly rare problem of “anti-Muslim” incidents in his report. The statistics show this:
In the United States, “There were 107 hate crimes recorded against Muslims in 2009, compared to 931 anti-semitic hate crimes.” (read here)
“Law enforcement agencies reported 1,376 hate crimes motivated by religious bias. A breakdown of biases for these offenses showed:
70.1 percent were anti-Jewish.
9.3 percent were anti-Islamic.”
2009 statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice— Federal Bureau of Investigation (read here)
Here are some statistics from New York state:
“Anti-Semitic incidents, which made up 37 percent of the reported hate crimes, were up 15 percent in one year, from 219 in 2008 to 251 in 2009.”
“Crimes motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment rose from eight to 11.” (read here)
The ELCA has a Muslim fetish and an anti-Jewish spirit that continues to manifest itself just like it did days ago in the ELCA’s attack letter to the United States Congress against Israel. (read here)
As reported by Exposing the ELCA in a previous blog (read here) the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Mark Hanson, and his liberal religious leader friends wrote a letter to the U.S. Congress seeking to stop military aid to Israel. Proud of their work, the church leaders publicized their letter on the newswire. Well, what do you know? Jewish leaders found out about Hanson’s letter and are not at all pleased.
Here are some snippets from recent news articles addressing the situation:
“The letter, signed by 15 Christian leaders, including representatives from the National Council of Churches and a number of mainline Protestant denominations, provoked angry and articulate responses from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), and the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Rabbis (RA). The JCPA was spot-on when it said the letter represents an escalation in anti-Israel activity.” (read here)
"When religious liberty and safety of Christians across the Middle East are threatened by the repercussions of the Arab Spring, these Christian leaders have chosen to initiate a polemic against Israel, a country that protects religious freedom and expression for Christians, Muslims and others." (read here)
“The letter calling for hearings and reassessment was issued without outreach to longtime partners in public advocacy within the Jewish community. It was released on the eve of Shabbat, just before a long weekend of Jewish and American holidays. And it was distributed at a time when Congress is out of session, in the midst of the general election campaign.
We find these tactics to be disrespectful of channels of communication that have been constructed over decades, and an essential declaration of separation from the endeavor of interfaith consultation on matters of deep concern to the Jewish community. Indeed, we find this breach of trust to be so egregious that we wonder if it may not warrant an examination on the part of the Jewish community at large of these partnerships and relationships that we understood ourselves to be working diligently to preserve and protect.”
“. . .to selectively invoke the representations of a Jewish organization for their own purposes is reprehensible." (read here)
“It is outrageous that mere days after the Iranian president repeated his call for Israel’s elimination, these American Protestant leaders would launch a biased attack against the Jewish state by calling on Congress to investigate Israel’s use of foreign aid. In its clear bias against Israel, it is striking that their letter fails to also call for an investigation of Palestinian use of U.S. foreign aid, thus once again placing the blame entirely on Israel."
“ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, ‘These church leaders are basically saying that Israel should be bullied by financial pressure into concessions to the unreconstructed, terror-supporting Palestinian Authority (PA), which does not accept Israel as a Jewish state and has not fulfilled its 19-year old commitments under the signed Oslo agreements to arrest terrorists, dismantle terrorist groups and end the incitement to hatred and murder that suffuses the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps. In fact, the PA refuses to negotiate at all and has not done so for several years. Indeed, it is shocking that, despite all these things, these church leaders have not criticized the $600 million in U.S. aid to the PA or called for the PA to fulfill its signed commitments.
At a time when Americans are being assaulted in countries across the Middle East (other than Israel) and at a time when Egypt, the most populous Arab state, has fallen under the domination of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, whose leaders have spoken with gusto about the coming demise of America, these church leaders are obsessed with penalizing and pressuring one country – Israel. Their preoccupation with and animus against the Jewish state seems boundless and is not disguised with pompous and insincere talk about their ‘moral responsibility’ to call for restricting aid to Israel.’”(see here)
“Their letter to Congress contains a brief appendix elucidating why they think conditions are deteriorating. There we learn of restrictions on movement in the West Bank, though not of the many ways in which the Netanyahu government in recent years has loosened those restrictions. There is no mention, for example, of the recent steps by the government of Israel to assist the Palestinian Authority as it faces a financial crisis. We learn of Israel’s 'comprehensive blockade' on Gaza but not that Gaza has a border with Egypt — or that it is still not fully open. We are told that Israel killed thousands of unarmed Palestinian civilians but not that the churches rely for this information on data provided by anti-Israel NGOs or left-wing Israeli groups.
Those statistics show that a suspicious preponderance of the casualties are young males, hardly a cross-section of the unarmed Palestinian population. This too is an old story: NGOs claim a high number of civilian casualties, while the government of Israel claims that a high percentage of those wounded or killed were combatants. In one famous example, Hamas after the 2008–9 Gaza conflict admitted to numbers far closer to Israel’s official figures than to those of the NGOs. Of this issue the churches’ letter says nothing, simply accepting the numbers that critics of Israel supply.” (read here)
“you realize that there is essentially nothing that Israel has ever done to defend itself that these people have approved. They object to
• the security fence;
• travel checkpoints, even into Israel from the Palestinian territories;
• targeted attacks on terrorists;
• demolitions of homes known to be used by terrorists;
• any military presence by IDF forces in the West Bank;
• sea blockade of ships seeking to smuggle weapons into Gaza;
• air strikes in any form;
• ground incursions into the West Bank or Gaza.” (see here)
“. . .the letter will affect cooperation between the signatory organizations and the Jewish community, as the reactions of major American Jewish organizations already demonstrate.” (read here)
The ELCA has once again shown itself to be an enemy of the people of Israel and now the Jewish people know it.
It comes as a surprise to many when anti-Semitism is propagated by people and denominations operating under the banner of Christianity. The latest incident comes from a letter sent to the United States Congress by the head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Mark S. Hanson, and his liberal church cohorts telling the Congress to investigate Israel and consider halting military aid to them.
That letter was broadcast far and wide by the ELCA News Service, with the subtitle “ELCA, other churches call for investigation of military aid to Israel.” So make no mistake, this is a call by the ELCA, not just the act of the presiding bishop.
The letter has its foundation in anti-Semitism. One way this is apparent is when one considers that the US government gives military and/or financial aid to many countries which are, in fact, ruthlessly oppressive and violent. There are Muslim countries that brutalize Christian citizens, women, non-Muslims and homosexuals. Countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Lebanon to name a few. Yet, where is the letter asking for an investigation into military aid or financial aid to these countries? Countries which HATE America. Countries which keep “Palestinians” in slums. Countries and governments which will kill you for having a Bible. The silence from the ELCA concerning these countries is deafening.
The constant call for Israel to give in to the demands of Muslims makes the their motivation obvious. That call is the call of Hamas. It is the call of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is the call of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
I have decide not to link to the bishop’s propaganda piece. If someone really wants to read it, a simple and quick Google search will be able to produce it. For more information on the ELCA’s positions and actions against Israel see here.
The ELCA has a well documented history of siding with the Palestinians and Muslims when it comes to issues concerning Israel. (see here) They try to cloak it with “politically correct” verbiage, but it is obvious, to anyone paying attention, where the ELCA stands. Every once in a while, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America can not help itself and does or says something that clearly reveals, with out a doubt, their anti-Semitism and the reality that they’re siding with God’s enemy.
One of these incidents happened three years ago when the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, along with 39 other ELCA bishops, went to Israel. (see here)
During the trip the ELCA delegation stopped at the tomb of noted notorious terrorist Yasser Arafat to honor and show respect for him by placing a wreath at his tomb. This was revealed by the ELCA’s official website. (see here) Just six years earlier, ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson and other ELCA leaders had a personal meeting with Yasser Arafat. (see here)
For those readers who may not know, let me tell you about Yasser Arafat. “Arafat is known to many as the ‘father of modern terrorism.’” “In order to report on Arafat's history objectively, one must include his decades-long involvement in terror, his goal of destroying Israel, and his siphoning of hundreds of millions of dollars from money donated to help the Palestinian people that went instead into his own private accounts.” (see here)
Arafat was the leader of a number of terrorist organizations. “(G)roups under Arafat's direct or indirect command – including Fatah, Black September, Tanzim and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade – were responsible for hundreds of bombings, hijackings, assassinations and other attacks, including the 1972 murder of 11 of Israel's Olympic athletes in Munich, the 1973 murder of the American ambassador to Sudan, Cleo Noel, and the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruiseship (resulting in the murder of wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer).” (see here)
So the ELCA honors a man who destroyed the lives of thousands of men, women and children. (see long list here) Showing respect to this man is tantamount to laying flowers at Hitler’s grave. Yet the ELCA did it.
What kind of “Christian” leaders would do such a thing? People who dislike Israel so much that they will side with the devil. The fact that they did this must make everyone question the ELCA’s policy and view of what should happen in the Middle East.
The question every ELCA member should ask is, why would you follow and trust leaders like this?
-----Here are some quotes from Yasser Arafat, the man the ELCA honored:
"'When we stopped the Intifada we did not stop the Jihad [Islamic holy war] to establish Palestine with Jerusalem as our capital.... We know only one word: Jihad, Jihad, Jihad.... We are in a conflict with the Zionist movement, the Balfour Declaration, and all imperialist activity....'
--- Yasser Arafat, in a speech at the Dehaishe refugee camp near Bethlehem, 22 October 1996 (Yediot Aharonot, 23 October 1996). The Balfour Declaration was Britain's 1917 statement of support for a Jewish national home in the land of Israel." (see here)
"'Yes, we are proud of the Palestinian girl, the Palestinian woman and the Palestinian child who fulfilled these miracles. The Palestinian woman participated in the Palestinian revolution. The Palestinian girl participated in the Palestinian revolution. Abir al-Wahidi, commander of the central region [al-Wahidi participated in the murder of Israeli Zvi Klein in December 1991] and Dalal al-Maghrabi, Martyr of Palestine [al-Maghrabi took part in the Coastal Road Massacre in March 1978, in which 37 Israelis were killed]. I bow in respect and admiration to the Palestinian woman who receives her martyred son with joyful cheering. The soul and blood for you, O Palestine!' --- P.L.O. Chairman Yasser Arafat, in a speech given on 3 September 1995 at the al-Fatah girls school in Gaza to mark the opening of the school year (Israel Channel Two Television, 19 September 1995)" (see here)
"'The commitment still stands and the oath is still valid: that we will continue this long jihad, this difficult jihad... via deaths, via sacrifices.'
--- P.L.O. Chairman Yasser Arafat, in a speech given at Al-Azhar University in Gaza on 19 June 1995 (The Jerusalem Post, 3 August 1995)"
"'All of us are willing to be martyrs along the way, until our flag flies over Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine. Let no one think they can scare us with weapons, for we have mightier weapons - the weapon of faith, the weapon of martyrdom, the weapon of jihad.'
--- P.L.O. Chairman Yasser Arafat, in a speech given to Palestinian laborers in Gaza in January 1995 (Parade Magazine, New York Newsday, 25 June 1995)" (see here)
The ELCA is doing its best to raise up the denomination’s youth in their own image. For years, the ELCA has gone out of its way to undermine Israel and those who support it. (see here) At the 2012 ELCA National Youth Gathering we see the most recent examples:
The ELCA’s official website posted pictures taken at the youth gathering of a Palestine exhibit. One part of the exhibit asked the youth to write how they felt after viewing the information contained in the exhibit. Here are some of the statements they wrote: “erase hate,” “keep fighting,” “outraged this happens,” “we are free, so why can’t they be,” “free Palestine.” (see here)
The Palestine exhibit also had an area for youth to write their congressmen to complain about Israel. (see here)
Of course, Bishop Mark Hanson had to get into the fray, filling the youth full of Palestinian propaganda saying:
“And then in my mind I went to that wall, that huge wall that separates Israelis from Palestinians. A wall that for Israelis means security from violence but for Palestinians it, we have Palestinians’ youths that have been with us and they’ve been in the convention center and they have been talking to us about what that wall means for Palestinian people. It’s a wall of occupation, it’s a wall of separation. It separates Palestinians from each other and from their olive groves. There is no chance, as long as that wall continues, for Palestinians to have a land in which to be citizens. And I knew we’re a church that committed to working for a just two state solution between Palestinians and Israelis. That’s who we are.” (see here - Sunday video)
We also have this gem from the Wednesday night keynote speaker, Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber:
“This is a God whose loving desire to be known overflowed the heavens and became manifest in the rapidly dividing cells inside the womb of an insignificant peasant girl in first century Palestine.” (see here - Wednesday video)
Israel was not called “Palestine” in the days Jesus was born. Using the term Palestine “is specifically employed to avoid the use of the name Israel, and must be considered an anti-Israel term. . .In the New Testament, the term Palestine is never used.” says Thomas S. McCall, Th.D
God Himself calls the land, “Israel,” “saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.’ Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.”
Thomas S. McCall tells us, “. . .the term Palestine is the cornerstone of the propaganda war against Israel and the Jewish people,” and “It appears that Bible-believing Christians have either knowingly or unwittingly followed the world, pagans and haters of Israel in calling Israel by the anti-Israel term Palestine.” (see here)
The youth of the ELCA are being set up by their leadership (in more ways than one). It seems clear to me that this is a case of indoctrination.
Last week, the long running television show 60 Minutes broadcast a news report that has been widely criticized for its bias, false statements, and anti-Israel sentiment. (see here and here for examples) Not surprisingly the ELCA has posted the 60 Minutes news segment video on their official elca.org website. (see here). Even before the 60 Minutes news segment aired, the ELCA e-Advocacy Network sent out an email promoting the segment and trying to encourage everyone to watch it.
One issue asserted by the 60 Minutes program was that Israel is to blame for the Christians leaving the Muslim-controlled territories of Israel. This is a popular claim by the anti-Semitic crowd. Highly regarded Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist, Charles Krauthammer took on that claim while appearing on Fox News by saying, “. . . the untold story is the story of the Palestinian territories. Bethlehem, for example, has been almost emptied of its Christians and sort of the Orwellian reporting of the West has attributed this somehow to Israel, when in fact it’s been the rise of militant Islam, Hamas and other radical sects within the Palestinian territories that have lead to a large immigration of Christians from the Palestinian territories . . .”
CBN News reported on the plight of Christians in Bethlehem in 2009, and it is nothing like the 60 Minutes report. Here is the video -
The 60 Minutes report also praised the Kairos Palestine document, which is outrageously bias and anti-Israel. (see here and here)
One of the signers of that document, Pastor Mitri Raheb was highlighted on the 60 Minutes news segment. For those of you who may not remember, Pastor Raheb was the focus of another Exposing the ELCA blog (see here) in which the accused anti-Semitic pastor was praised by ELCA’s Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson.
Dr. Mitri Raheb is a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem. The Jerusalem Post recently printed an article about Rev. Raheb titled, “Former German president to honor anti-Semitic pastor.” It says, “Roman Herzog, the president of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1994 to 1999, is slated to deliver a speech next week in honor of Reverend Mitri Raheb, a fiercely anti-Israel Palestinian Lutheran leader in Bethlehem who has argued that Jews have no right to be present in Israel.” (read here)
“What does that have to do with the ELCA?” you ask. First, Rev. Raheb is pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL). The ELCJHL and the ELCA have a very close working relationship. And that, is an understatement. "The ELCA's relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land is long-standing and deep, and we are proud to have relationships with each of the pastors in that church,” says Rev. Robert Smith, ELCA program director for the Middle East and North Africa (see here)
One example of that relationship is stated on the ELCJHL website which says, “Through partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we are happy to offer our supporters in the USA an opportunity to make a tax-deductible donation toward the ministries of the ELCJHL.” (read here) If you search for “Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land" on
the ELCA.org website you will find 716 results. (see here)
Secondly, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s supreme leader, Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson recently gave a glowing endorsement of Rev. Raheb saying, "Mitri Raheb is a pastor with passion in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. Persistently working for a lasting, just peace in the Middle East, Pastor Raheb is a visionary leader who has created new pathways in the areas of education, employment and health care . . . This deserved recognition of Pastor Raheb is testimony to the global leadership shared by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and the ELCA remains committed to accompanying this partner church." (see here)
It seems that the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA really likes Rev. Reheb. So let’s find out a little bit more about him. A quick search of the internet finds that “In a speech to the 2010 Christ at the Checkpoint conference in Bethlehem, Raheb discounted Jewish roots in Israel and said that Palestinian Arabs share DNA with King David and Jesus, but that Netanyahu (the Prime Minster of Israel) does not.” (read here)
Pastor Raheb is quoted as saying, “Actually, the Palestinian Christians are the only ones in the world that, when they speak about their forefathers, they mean their actual forefathers, and also the forefathers in the faith…So, that is the reality of the peoples of the land. Again, they aren’t Israel. This experience I’m talking about, it’s only the Palestinians who understand this, because Israel represents Rome….It was our forefathers to whom the revelation was given…” (see here)
"Discover the Networks" website has this to say about Rev. Reheb, “Raheb is one of the more prominent exponents of Replacement Theology, a doctrine which holds that Christians have replaced Jews in God's master plan and have ‘inherited all of God's promises, including the land of Israel.’ The Catholic Church adamantly repudiated Replacement Theology after the Holocaust, but Palestinian Christians like Raheb have revived it.
Raheb has authored numerous theological articles as well as three books targeted for a more general audience. His 1995 book, I Am a Palestinian Christian, was an opening salvo in his effort to advance the notion that Palestinian Christian claims to the Holy Land are theologically and historically more valid than those of Jews. In two subsequent books (Bethlehem 2000: Past and Present , and Bethlehem Besieged ), Raheb emphasized the ‘plight’ of Palestinians in Bethlehem during the Intifada, portraying them as innocent victims of unbridled Israeli violence.
In his writings, Raheb consistently minimizes or excuses Palestinian terrorism. He does not mention the Palestinians' organized terrorist infrastructure, the corruption and criminality of the Palestinian Authority (PA), or the relentless anti-Semitic incitement that pervades his whole society. Rarely does he mention the harassment and persecution that Palestinian Christians face from radical Islamic groups and from the PA. On those few occasions when he does make reference to some of these realities, he manipulates them to make them appear to be the consequences of Israeli transgressions. Hence, he blames the steady emigration of Bethlehem's Christian Arabs on Israel's ‘occupation,’ not on the PA or the Islamic dominance that has accelerated this centuries-long hemorrhage of Middle Eastern Christian Arabs.” (read here)
Rev. Raheb was also a signer of the Kairos Palestine Document which was outrageously bias and anti-Israel. Here are just a few statements made in the document:
- “Yes, there is Palestinian resistance to the occupation. However, if there were no occupation, there would be no resistance, no fear and no insecurity. This is our understanding of the situation. Therefore, we call on the Israelis to end the occupation.”
- “We also declare that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against God and humanity. . .”
Based on the ELCA’s anti-Israel positions and anti-Semitic leanings, it is no surprise that they have aligned themselves with those who feel the same way.
- “We declare that any theology, seemingly based on the Bible or on faith or on history, that legitimizes the occupation, is far from Christian teachings. . .” (see here)