Suing the Church: some questions

by Richard on October 4, 2010

I might regret this, but I think I need another word or two about the ill-considered threat of legal action against the Methodist Church over our Conference resolution on Israel/Palestine. A number of aspects of this are mystifying. The Telegraph article is very unspecific about which laws are alleged to have been broken.

1. Is David Hallam (the Local Preacher behind the action) seriously claiming that the whole Conference was motivated by anti-semitism?

2. What aspects of this Conference report and debate represent a misuse of church funds?

3. Where is the “political campaign against the Jewish state” that David is quoted as alleging that the Methodist Church is now running? Has anyone seen any evidence of it? As I see it, the Conference commissioned a Report, debated a Report, and came to some conclusions as a result. There isn’t any ongoing expense to the church that I’m aware of, still less anything that might be called a “political campaign”. If any reader knows different, please share.

Update:I just remembered… [edited]
4. I’m puzzled about the way David raised this on his blog, not mentioning his role in the possible legal action. Given that his photograph was featured prominently in the Telegraph article, I struggle to understand why he wasn’t more “up front”. It isn’t like him.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Kim 10.04.10 at 6:57 pm

“[1] The Methodist Church seems to think it has a God given right to tell Jews how to run their affairs. [2] It is very disturbing we are getting involved in a territory where we don’t have any members or churches.”
– David Hallam

This quote from the Telegraph article is as flawed and alarming as anything David says.

[1] The Methodist Church is not addressing “Jews” but the nation-state of Israel. But David knows this, so he is just being mischievous, unless, of course, he really is suggesting that the whole Conference is motivated by anti-Semitism, in which case the mischief becomes malicious - and pathological. Moreover, if Conference were to address human rights abuses in, say, Zimbabwe, then presumably, to be consistent, David would say, “Who does the Church think it is telling (black) Africans how to run their affairs?” Oops - as a matter of fact, Conference has addressed injustices in Zimbabwe. So perhaps Methodist Conference is not only anti-Semitic but also racist?

[2] However David would no doubt reply by saying that, with Zimbabwe, not only are there Commonwealth links with the UK, there are also Methodist churches there - that’s what gives Conference the right to address injustices in Zimbabwe. Because, of course, the Methodist Church should only speak to issues in areas where there are Methodists. But can David really mean what he says here? No, it is impossible that David could be so ignorant of scripture, and also impossible that a man who is truly humanitarian on so many issues could suddenly become so tribal, callous, and indifferent to the triumph of evil.

2

Chris H 10.04.10 at 7:22 pm

The Methodist resolution is hardly calling for the overthrow of the state of Israel!

Lots of ‘calls’ and ‘reaffirms’ and ‘reiterates’ together with a call for a boycott of goods produced by illegal settlements, but nothing I can see that should justify the intrusion of the judicial process.

Is there something else going on under the surface?

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