As if actively supporting a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel wasn’t enough, turns out the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) considered banning the word “Israel” from its prayers.
In a report on the Algemeiner, a resolution was presented but ultimately rejected by the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA to “distinguish between the biblical terms that refer to the ancient land of Israel and the modern political State of Israel.”
To carry out such a plan, the resolution called for the development of “educational materials, with the help of our Presbyterian seminaries, for clergy, church musicians, worship leaders, and Christian educators regarding ‘ancient Israel/modern Israel’ distinction.”
The impetus behind the proposal to completely erase Israel from prayers was caused by “a section of hymns under the unfortunate heading: ‘God’s covenant with Israel.’”
According to the authors of the resolution, they were so disturbed by the song title, which they said “is open to interpretation,” that they felt that the next politically and religiously correct step was to completely remove the word “Israel” altogether.
“Is this ‘biblical Israel’? Is it the ‘modern State of Israel’?” the resolution asked. Citing a “Palestinian American Presbyterian who is a ruling elder” of the church as who was upset and “uneasy with the word ‘Israel’” in the hymn, the members of the church concluded that “this language is inflammatory, misleading and hurtful.”
While the resolution was rejected, the Advisory Committee to PCUSA considered the matter seriously, highlighting the repeated anti-Israel theme of the event. The committee did instruct its churches and agencies to “develop a short insert or sticker for publications” that states:
“Please note in using these texts that the biblical and liturgical ‘land of Israel’ is not the same as the State of Israel established in 1948, which is a contemporary nation state. The Bible contains differing descriptions of the parameters of Israel. Promises of land generally come with obligations to God for justice to be practiced with all inhabitants.”
PCUSA has come under intense scrutiny this last year for its decision to divest from American companies who conduct business with Israel, pulling some $21 million in investments. Earlier this month, it was revealed by Shurat Hadin (Israel Law Center) that PCUSA held meetings with known Hezbollah terrorists shortly after the decision.
PCUSA, which holds tax-exempt status from the IRS as a religious organization, breached the law by meeting with members of a US designated terror group. Shurat Hadin submitted a 38-page complaint, complete with video and documentary evidence, of PCUSA’s “numerous, extensive, and costly efforts to engage in political anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic acts.”