Christians suing Christians

by Richard on October 23, 2010

An evangelical Anglican responds to the lawsuit threatened against the Methodist Church.
Stephen Sizer :: Using Christian money to sue a Church for using Christian money…

The Methodist Church does not “think it has a God given right to tell Jews how to run their affairs.” The Methodist Church knows it has a God-given responsibility not to invest it’s funds in stolen goods.

The Settlements are illegal in international law and the chief impediment to a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Choosing not to invest in stolen good and illegal activity which exacerbates the conflict is a moral imperative. Christians suing Christians isn’t.

While you’re there, have a read of I know a dead parrot when I see one too. Good stuff.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1

methodist preacher 10.23.10 at 9:25 pm

2

Richard 10.23.10 at 10:14 pm

It’s very much easier to snipe at people than address the issues they raise. But not helpful. It certainly isn’t “robust debate”.

3

Kim 10.23.10 at 11:05 pm

I’ve been to the link, David. In the interview Sizer cites one Dale Crowley, along with Jerry Falwell, about the strength of Christian Zionism in the US. Crowley, you allege, is a Holocaust denier. That may be true, but could you give us a link to check it out? The odious Falwell, on the other hand, is on record as saying that the Anti-Christ is a Jew. Not, of course, that one might take this statement as the least bit anti-Semitic - though, er, a lot of Jews did and were wounded and livid about it. In any case, Sizer states explicitly on his blog that “Thankfully it is a crime in some countries to deny the Holocaust.” So it strikes me that while Sizer is anti-Israel in its treatment of the Palestinians, he is not anti-Jewish, a distinction that you do not seem to be able to grasp - or rather a distinction that you grasp (you’re not stupid), but which you unconscionably elide and exploit to further your own agenda.

Another thing, David. One famous Christian who certainly was anti-Jewish was Martin Luther. He wrote that Jews are “full of the devil’s faeces”, and urged that their synagogues and schools be burnt to the ground. However I seem to recall that John Wesley famously found his heart “strangely warmed” upon listening to Luther’s preface to Paul’s letter to the Romans. You allege that Sizer is a “friend of Holocaust deniers”. So I guess that makes Wesley a “friend of Jew-haters”? Guilt-by-association - a tactic that can often bite one in the ass, and one that, in any case, is unseemly for a friend of the Friend of Sinners.

4

PamBG 10.24.10 at 1:21 pm

In the dualistic world where one must be pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian, what of the Palestinians? Why is it OK to throw Palestinians off their lands and off their homes? And why must we tell them not only “That’s the way things are”? but also, apparently, “Tough luck, God doesn’t care about you.”?

(There may be some here who will say that Israel never threw a single Palestinian out of their homes or off their land. If that’s the case, I understand your logic though I disagree with it. This question is for those who agree with me about events but still think we need to take the kind of dualistic stance that excludes justice for the Palestinian people.)

5

Paul Martin 10.24.10 at 2:10 pm

I would treast the Harry’s Place blog with extreme caution. It is prone to Mccarthyite smears in particular against those who opposed the Iraq war.

6

Kim 10.24.10 at 5:35 pm

On Richard’s second link - well, that’s been the goal of all the cynical and illegal building in the West Bank, hasn’t it? To make a two-state solution a dead parrot. And since I don’t expect to hear any cries of “The Norwegian Blue is risen! He is risen indeed!”, that means either a lot of wrecking balls in the West Bank or a reconsideration of a one-state solution. Which will at best be an apartheid state. But then apartheid fell.

The late, great Edward Said initially favoured a one-state solution, a secular democracy. Then he changed his mind and proposed a two-state solution. Then, at the time of the Oslo accord, Said reconsidered, and by the end of his life he had returned to a one-state solution, believing that the Israeli presence in the West Bank was probably irreversible. Recent events go to confirm Said’s grim prognosis. Which leaves a one-state solution as the only game in town - alas, with the Israelis holding all the cards of a very marked deck.

Those whom the gods would destroy they first drive mad. We are, I fear, presented with a terrible prospect: that only an intensification of the already morally insane Israeli treatment of the Palestinian people might finally lead to such global disgust that the US, crucially, might finally enter the game as a truly serious player and broker a resolution to the conflict. (Avi Shlaim, Professor of International Relations at Oxford University: “Only the US can break the deadlock in Israeli politics. If it does not, no one else will.”) That is, I reluctantly think that not only will things get worse before they get better, but, alas, that things will not get better unless they get worse. Enough is enough is not enough. It will take more-than-enough to be enough.

7

Richard 10.24.10 at 6:07 pm

You certainly know how to cheer us up, Kim.

8

Paul Martin 10.24.10 at 6:31 pm

I think Kim has a point. The development of settlements in what would be Palestine serves to leave a Palestinian state look very weak and devoid of territorial integrity. Cos I can’t see those settlers agreeeing to be part of a Palestinian state. That is why I support a settlement boycott - not because I am opposed to Israel but because the setttlements make peace less likely. And to me that means they are in opposition to God!

9

Kim 10.24.10 at 7:01 pm

Shucks, Richard, I’ll bet you say that to all the prophets. ;)

10

PamBG 10.24.10 at 8:43 pm

I suspect that Kim is right too, unfortunately.

11

Joseph W 10.26.10 at 10:36 am

Dale Crowley is a Holocaust denier - he pickets Holocaust exhibitions and refers to the Shoah as a “Holohoax”. If you wish to deny that Crowley is a denier, feel free, but it is simply adding another mistruth to Crowley’s web of mistruths.

As to Rev Sizer himself, he has: shared a platform with Holocaust denier Fred Tobin in Indonesia, met with Hezbollah clerics in southern Lebanon, been on a trip to Iran sponsored by Zahra Mostafavi - whose NEDA Institute contributes to approvingly forwarded emails from Holocaust deniers regarding Jews, given an interview to Far Right radio host Mark Dankof (whose colleague is KKK-fan Hesham Tillawi), defended Helen Thomas (who opines that Jews in Israel should “go back” to Poland), supported pickets of Jewish synagogues in Michigan, and hosted articles by Far Right writer Israel Shamir on his website - all whilst publicly stressing his opposition to anti-Semitism.

Rev Sizer has not used Christian money to sue Christians, that is true - he has however, as a Christian, wasted taxpayers money (including taxes paid by Christians) to send the state police to another Christian whom he disagrees with.

12

Joseph W 10.26.10 at 10:38 am

should say: “whose NEDA Institute contributes to global efforts to deny the Holocaust”,

then: “(Sizer has) approvingly forwarded emails from Holocaust deniers regarding Jews”

13

Joseph W 10.26.10 at 10:47 am

You allege that Sizer is a “friend of Holocaust deniers”. So I guess that makes Wesley a “friend of Jew-haters”? Guilt-by-association - a tactic that can often bite one in the ass, and one that, in any case, is unseemly for a friend of the Friend of Sinners.

Sorry, are you suggesting that Methodists are bound to defend every action of Wesley? Lutherans have publicly distanced themselves from Luther’s anti-Semitism via a series of statements, theological groups and conferences. Methodists are also able to think independently and not necessarily support each one of Wesley’s statements without losing their Methodist identity.

As for Jesus Friend of Sinners, did Jesus share platforms with drunks about the benefits of excessive alcohol? When discussing crime, did he recommend the opinions of thieves?

14

Joseph W 10.26.10 at 10:57 am

Another thing, David. One famous Christian who certainly was anti-Jewish was Martin Luther. He wrote that Jews are “full of the devil’s faeces”, and urged that their synagogues and schools be burnt to the ground.

But not in his commentary on Romans.

15

Kim 10.26.10 at 11:31 am

It takes you four comments, Joseph to demonstrate that you miss the point? (You’ve got an itchy finger.) The point, to make it simple for you, is that the same person can talk crap and talk sense (that’s the point of the Luther reference - and it’s really a “duh”). The former does not negate the latter (though of course the more crap a person talks the the more sceptical we should be of whatever he says). In the two links Richard gives, Sizer talks sense. He may talk crap elsewhere, but (as I pointed out) he explicitly states that “Thankfully it is a crime in some countries to deny the Holocaust.” If he shares platforms with Holocaust deniers and affirms them in their denial, that is repugnant, it makes him a coward and a hypocrite, we should be disgusted, and we should certainly be wary of what he says elsewhere. But to repeat: what he says in Richard’s two links make sense to me. If you disagree with what he says, by all means huff and puff - but then get around to addressing the issues. That’s the point.

16

Joseph W 10.26.10 at 8:17 pm

Sorry, are we counting comments Kim? I make that one your fourth comment, in which you are criticising me for writing four comments.

If he shares platforms with Holocaust deniers and affirms them in their denial, that is repugnant, it makes him a coward and a hypocrite, we should be disgusted, and we should certainly be wary of what he says elsewhere.

Sizer does not affirm them in their denial, rather he treats them as experts on the Middle East. For example, if you take a Holocaust-denier like Tobin, Sizer will say Tobin is wrong about the Holocaust, but Sizer will then share a platform with Tobin to criticise Israel.

The point isn’t that Sizer is denying the Holocaust, rather the concern is that he is legitimising Holocaust deniers by his approach to anti-Zionist politicking.

17

Kim 10.26.10 at 9:40 pm

It sounds like Sizer goes by the old adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Which, admittedly, can lead to some nasty realpolitik alliances - like the US and UK joining with Stalin - and “legitimising” him? - to defeat Hitler.

I certainly agree, Joseph, that legitimising Holocaust deniers can never be a good thing, especially those who would like to obliterate Israel; and if that is, in fact, what Sizer is doing, shame on him. For the sake of argument, I’ll take your word for it ( I have no reason to doubt it). But also for the sake of argument, will you respond to my point about Sizer talking sense on Richard’s two specific links (which, again, is all I’m talking about here). Or do you feel that so to respond, even in vehement disagreement, would be to legitimise him?

18

Joseph W 10.26.10 at 10:16 pm

But also for the sake of argument, will you respond to my point about Sizer talking sense on Richard’s two specific links (which, again, is all I’m talking about here).

Sure, regarding point one, Rev Sizer has not used Christian money to sue Christians, that is true - he has however, as a Christian, wasted taxpayers money (including taxes paid by Christians) to send the state police to another Christian whom he disagrees with.

On point two I totally disagree that, due to stalling in the peace process, the state of Israel should be dismantled entirely and replaced with one Palestinian nation. I think a lot of people would disagree with Sizer here for perfectly fair and practical reasons, including most Israelis and most Palestinians, both of whom when polled tend to opt for a two-state solution.

There’s plenty to commend in what Sizer writes, such as his critiques of the extreme end of premil dispensationalism, but he overeggs the case by applying these criticisms to any Christians expressing pro-Israel theological stances, including historic dispensationalists such as Wesley himself (ironically?)

19

Joseph W 10.26.10 at 10:19 pm

That is, Sizer’s critiques would - logically - extend to the likes of Welsey and others if applied consistently to all believers throughout the ages regardless of their legacy, and thus in Sizer’s theological calculations, presumably Wesley would be a heretic.

20

Joseph W 10.26.10 at 10:24 pm

I certainly agree, Joseph, that legitimising Holocaust deniers can never be a good thing, especially those who would like to obliterate Israel; and if that is, in fact, what Sizer is doing, shame on him.

That is very fair-minded and gracious of you to say this.

21

Kim 10.26.10 at 11:01 pm

Sizer: “If Israel won’t give up the settlements then it must give up pretending the Palestinians don’t exist, become a proper grown-up democracy, end the Occupation, remove the Separation Wall and the checkpoints, annexe the West Bank, compensate for homes demolished or land confiscated and give the Palestinians full Israeli citizenship entitled to the same civil and political rights as Israeli Jews now enjoy.”

How, Joseph, do you get from there to your “the state of Israel should be dismantled entirely and replaced with one Palestinian nation”?

One thing is for sure: for every Israeli settlement that goes up in the West Bank, the possibility of a just two-state solution recedes - which, of course, the Israelis know only too well: from which one can only conclude that they are wilfully sabotaging the two-state solution.

22

Joseph W 10.27.10 at 9:30 am

How, Joseph, do you get from there to your “the state of Israel should be dismantled entirely and replaced with one Palestinian nation”?

Hi Kim, I actually got there from the sentence preceding the one that you quoted:
http://stephensizer.blogspot.com/2010/10/i-know-dead-parrot-when-i-see-one.html

So lets have the funeral service and get it over with. Forget the two state solution. It’s dead in the water. The two state solution is dead. Long live the one state then

The “one-state” solution entails replacing all of Israel and the Palestinian territories with a single national entity known as Palestine. Ask Sizer if you don’t believe me.

23

Kim 10.27.10 at 11:44 am

Long live the one state then.

That’s the preceding sentence, Joseph. My query isn’t about the proposal of a one-state solution, it’s about your assumption that “the state of Israel should be dismantled entirely” in order to achieve a one-state solution. Presumably there are other possibilities than creatio ex nihilo. Nor, at least in this post, does Sizer insist on calling the new state “Palestine”. If Sizer elsewhere is adament about these two provisos for a viable one-state solution, I too would resist it.

24

Joseph W 10.27.10 at 12:03 pm

There’s no need to be panickity about spelling and grammar, Kim, otherwise I would correct your spelling of ‘adamant’.

I doubt very much Sizer would wish to call the one-state “Israel”. Furthermore, Sizer has taken part in conferences specifically geared towards creating one state called “Palestine”, such as the Nakba Jakarta conference of 2008, in which Sizer spoke against Israel alongside a Holocaust denier, Hamas and Hezbollah activists, and an apocalyptic imam who prophecied that the end of Israel would come about in 2022.

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