Thursday, June 22, 2006

You read that correctly. A day after removing the language of divestment, this General Assembly continues getting the job done. The folks on the floor are doing their thing against the clearly desired results of the elites on the permanent committees. I'll have some closer examination of this later, but here's a quick snapshot. The bureacratese is here, in full: Commissioners' Resolution. On Declaring Suicide Bombing a Crime Against Humanity.

Below is the resolution they passed. Note that the committee in charge of the Middle East issues proposed this resolution after passing it amongst themselves. If I'm reading this correctly, the General Assembly voted it down in the original form, added a condemnation of "terrorism" (the changes are shown in bold brackets below) and then passed the resolution. This may be slightly problematic as "terrorism" in this context also includes "state-sponsored" terrorism, but this strikes me as a somewhat cynical nit-pick at this point. This is a striking resolution for this denomination to pass:

We, the 217th General Assembly (2006) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) declare that any suicide bombing, no matter who is the perpetrator or the target, constitutes a crime against humanity.

While international law, through various treaties and international consensus affirms the criminality of such acts when linked to a government, it is crucial that the church and the world affirm the culpability of individuals and groups that assist in carrying out suicide bombings [and terrorism] through financial or logistical support and that civil or military authorities who fail to exercise adequate powers of control over perpetrators and fail to take appropriate measures, be held accountable. The international community and faith community as a whole are obligated to prevent and call for international judicial prosecution of all those aiding and abetting these crimes.

We instruct our Moderator and Stated Clerk to encourage our leaders in the U.S.A., our ecumenical partners, our interfaith partners, the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, and the United Nations Security Council to make suicide bombing a matter of declaration and legislation under national laws, and to raise this issue with all appropriate international agencies as appropriate.

We hereby pledge and instruct the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Washington Office of the PC(USA), and the Presbyterian UN representatives to take every opportunity to publicly and officially condemn suicide bombings [and terrorism] and to help empower victims of such attacks to be able to bring those who plan and inspire suicide bombings to the bar of international justice. Further to instruct the Stated Clerk to notify the United Nations, the World Court, the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other appropriate human rights organizations of the 217th General Assembly (2006)'s position on this topic, and ask for their collaboration in amending international law, especially international criminal court elements of crime; Article 7 entitled "Crimes Against Humanity."

Note also on that page that this resolution passed against the desire of the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) and the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC) who both advised against this condemnation. My correspondent notes:

The ACSWP's objections included assertions that it was one-sided and that the General Assembly had alread condemned violence in any form and that "The biblical witness on suicide and war is complex. It includes Saul's suicide and Samson's pulling down a Philistine temple on himself and others." -- This last argument is straight from Naim Ateek's essay on suicide bombing, by the way.

This is remarkable and contains much to chew on. Again, congratulations to the people in the pews at the PC(USA) who are finally getting their voices heard and showing that the 216th GA (the last one two years ago that passed divestment) really overreached. Two years ago, the PC(USA) made itself into a club which nefarious forces could use to bash Jews and the Jewish State. This General Assembly is in the process of removing that weapon.

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Presbyterian General Assembly Votes to Declare Suicide Bombing a Crime Against Humanity Over Objections of Social Witness Policy Committee.

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» Presbyterian Church (USA) Declares Suicide Bombings a “Crime Against Humanity” at the blog - The War to Mobilize Democracy

By Andrew L. Jaffee The Presbyterian Church (USA)’s 217th General Assembly has decided that suicide bombings are a “crime against humanity.” Duh. It took them until the year 2006 to figure this out? From Solomonia: A day after rem... Read More


You know, I'm just shaking my head in amazement reading that "resolution". The first thing that pops into my head, considering it's a Christian religion, why did they feel the need to do this at all? Murder and suicide kinda happens to be against every declared Christian faith.

Do they feel that their religion no longer makes this clear to their members and general public? I mean I'm glad to see they have stated terrorism is a bad thing. But why did they feel the need to make a statement about it? And why has it taken so long to do it? There has been world wide terrorism as long as there have been humans, but even if we want to take an American terrorist event - it's been nearly 5 years since Sept 11th and longer than that since the Oklahoma bombing.

I was raised Catholic, but stuff like this (piously stating the bleeding obvious) is why I have so little interest in organized religion. You shouldn't have to make special proclamations that reiterate the basic tenets of your faith.

My hats are off to the people in the pews who saw the blantent injustice and overturned this. Making such declarations instead of supporting terrorists will result in peace a lot quicker.

Sure, let's talk to Hamas, via Captain's Quarters:

Palestinian Media Watch notes a new video Hamas has posted to their web site, one that calls for the overthrow of the United States by Islamists. The governing political party of the Palestinian Authority predicts that Israel, Britain, and Europe will also fall before the onslaught of Islam and exhorts their followers to maintain their defiance against international pressures (via Michael van der Galien at TMV):


And has anyone asked the delegations about their stand on the Palis/Hamas saying when they take over Jerusalem they're going to reinstitute the dhimmi tax?

How exactly are they standing w/the Pali Christians?

Pressing for Jerusalem to become an international city would be good for a start.

And I'm sure this is just a misunderstanding:

"We will rule the nations, by Allah's will, the USA will be conquered, Israel will be conquered, Rome and Britain will be conquered … The Jihad for Allah... is the way of Truth and the way for Salvation and the way which will lead us to crush the Jews and expel them from our country Palestine. Just as the Jews ran from Gaza, the Americans will run from Iraq and Afghanistan and the Russians will run from Chechnya, and the Indian will run from Kashmir, and our children will be released from Guantanamo. The prisoners will be released by Allah's will, not by peaceful means and not by agreements, but they will be released by the sword, they will be released by the gun".

Amazing how something like this can evoke such a palpable sense of relief and invigoration, like fresh, cool, sweet air entering a room.

Given the PC(USA)'s position on this was unclear and always couched in moral equivalence, and given the habit of certain Presbyterians holding high offices in the church to effusively praise terrorists such as Hezbollah, I think this, "bleeding obvious" statement needed to be made by this denomination.

I mean, a person really had to wonder over the last couple of years if the PC(USA) thought this or not.

as i read this i wondered what the objection to condemning suicide terrorism might be on the part of the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) and the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC).

Saul's suicide? what's that got to do with killing others. Sampson? okay, it is the first act of suicide terrorism in that he killed those celebrating at the temple where he was chained and mocked. But how that compares with wading into a bunch of civilians including children and blowing yourself up, strikes me as utterly bizarre. And as long as any biblical example will do, why shouldn't israel invoke the case of the amalekites to wipe out the palestinians?

this is the most utterly twisted stuff i've ever read. what on earth could possess these folks to make these arguments?

The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy is basically a rogue agency of the church in its softness on Islamic terrorism. Their behavior has caused a lot of embarassment and shame to our denomination. By the grace of God, the General Assembly resisted the moral idiocy of the ACSWP and stated what any sensible person would believe ... the suicide bombing and terrorism are indeed crimes against humanity.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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