Monday, January 02, 2017

02-Jan-17: At the World Council of Churches, a stunning theology of terror

WCC's Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit [Image Source]
We have devoted a dozen or more posts to things the World Council of Churches has said or done [click here] about terror. Frankly, and with sincere respect for a value system of which we are not a part, it's been hard to say anything positive about them. Here's the latest example of why.

Yesterday, the WCC secretariat, based in Geneva, issued a statement to the media in relation to the Istanbul New Year's Eve Reina nightclub massacre. You might have noticed that credit for those brutal and cruel killings was today claimed by an Islamist terror group ["The Latest: Islamic State claims Istanbul nightclub attack", Associated Press, today].

Here's the Council's statement:
WCC condemns terrorist attack in Istanbul on innocent New Year revellers | 01 January 2017 | World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, condemns the latest terrorist attack against people in Istanbul celebrating the New Year. At least 39 people were killed and dozens more were wounded when a single gunman attacked a crowded Istanbul nightclub... "Innocent people are suffering again and again. This is an evil act. This attack is particularly shocking, in the first place because there seems to have been a clear intention deliberately to target people who were simply enjoying themselves at the New Year’ Day,” said Tveit... “In the face of this brutality, the human family, all people of faith and of good will, must stand together to recommit to respecting and caring for one another, to protecting one another, and to preventing such violence.” The WCC offers its deepest condolences to the bereaved and injured. Tveit said “God in your mercy, be with the victims and their families and those who accompany and help them.” [Online here]
Most reasonable people will agree it's right for a highly influential religious group to call on the Almighty to come down on the side of the victims. It would be incomprehensible if the Reverend Mr Tveit had taken the opposing view and called for compassion for the murdering savages of ISIS.

But wait.

We want to point out how differently the same Mr Tveit expressed himself in relation to a different collection of savages who. unlike the perpetrators of the Istanbul barbarism two days ago, have been caught and in most cases tried and convicted on terrorism charges. In relation to those savages, Mr Tveit very publicly urged the Christian faithful who seek leadership from his office to pray and to help them in practical ways and not to give any thought to the things those prisoners had done to be locked up. 
The scene outside Istanbul's Reina night-club [Image Source]

That nauseating appeal for sympathy for actual and thwarted murderers got our attention in April 2014 [here] when the WCC called for solidarity by its faithful with what it disingenuously terms 
"some 5000 Palestinian men, women and children, languishing in Israeli jails". 
For their benefit, believer-members ought
"to pray for, visit, and tend to the needs of all prisoners, no matter the reason for their detention. For Israel and Palestine, prisoners have taken on even greater significance than in the past."
Just turn those words over in your mind: "no matter the reason for their detention". It makes us wonder what kind of evil faux-theology this man amd his cohort practice. 

He and they certainly don't view themselves as a satanic cult. By their own account, they are: 
the broadest and most inclusive among the many organized expressions of the modern ecumenical movement, a movement whose goal is Christian unity.  The WCC brings together churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 500 million Christians and including most of the world's Orthodox churches, scores of Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed churches, as well as many United and Independent churches. While the bulk of the WCC's founding churches were European and North American, today most member churches are in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific. There are now 348 member churches. For its member churches, the WCC is a unique space: one in which they can reflect, speak, act, worship and work together, challenge and support each other, share and debate with each other... [From the WCC website today]
It didn't matter to Olav Fykse Tveitthe WCC's chief executive, an educated and cultured man on a mission and a Norwegian Lutheran clergyman, that many of the Palestinian Arab prisoners for whom he intervened are convicted, self-confessed killers of innocent people. 

Mostly of innocent Jewish people, if you're already asking. 

How much did it matter that most of the rest - other than the actual killers - are unrepentant terrorists? Or that Palestinian Arab society from president Mahmoud Abbas on down embraces all of them as heroes, as we have noted with utter revulsion in this blog dozens of times over the past decade? 

The answer: not one little bit(For other comments we made at the time, see "17-Apr-14: Christian solidarity with unrepentant murderers: where's the outrage?")

So now let's play "what if". 

What would the reaction have been yesterday in Istanbul - or in Paris or Brussels or Sydney or Nairobi - if the head of the World Council of Churches had called for 
  • the freedom of the Istanbul killers to be restored; 
  • the justice of the Istanbul gunmen's cause to be respected; 
  • the dignity of the Istanbul shooters - with their high-powered weapons firing point-blank at innocent, unsuspecting and unarmed revellers in the night-club - to win faithful Christian people's solidarity
Mourners prepare to bury one of the Istanbul massacre victims [Image Source]
Freedom, justice, dignity, solidarity. Mr Tveit asked his flock two years ago to beseech all of those from Heaven so as to benefit, and deliver solace to, Palestinian Arab prisoners behind Israeli bars. (Full disclosure: Several of those convicts happen to be the murderers of our fifteen year-old daughter Malki. So yes, we do lack a certain scientific objectivity on this.) 

Would he have dared make a request like that from his Geneva pulpit for the Istanbul shooters and plotters? The answer is obvious. He can do what he did because, and only because, the victims of the Palestinian Arab terrorists are who and what they are. Do we need to be more explicit than that? We hope not.

With time, it gets clearer that this important Christian group has developed and propagates a theology of terror and of terror-victimhood that deserves unsparing critical scrutiny but doesn't - as far as we know - get it.

And in case anyone's wondering why we don't try to get the World Council of Churches to give its viewpoint - we actually did. We wrote to them several times back in 2014. As noted here, the only substantive reaction we ourselves ever got from our efforts came as a couple of polite personal notes on behalf of Mr Tveit from the WCC's then director of communication, a certain Mr. Mark Beach who no longer holds that position

In an email from Geneva to us dated June 5, 2014, this Mr Beach addressed - in a not-too-helpful way - the questions and the sharply critical comments we directed over and again at his boss. Now please note, as we asked him to, that we were writing not only as members of a concerned public but as parents of a beautiful child of 15, murdered by the very thugs for whose dignity the Christians of the WCC had been asked to pray. 

Probably not that moved by our letters, Mr Beach informed us that:
"Yes, I believe we would have nothing further to say."
And indeed we never did hear from him again. The background is here ["6-Jun-14: Fear and loathing at the World Council of Churches"]. 

To be clear about this: we don't expect Mr Tviet or the World Council of Churches insiders to change their spots. 

But we're baffled by how ordinary religion- and morality-minded Christians who see the rank hypocrisy and genteel bigotry of the WCC leadership don't demand that the WCC leadership be kicked down the stairs of their exceedingly well-appointed Swiss headquarters and out into the street.

Call us perplexed.

P.S. As happened in 2014, the managing clique at World Council of Churches has remained silent and egregiously unresponsive to the criticisms aired here and elsewhere. So... interested members of WCC-affliated churches - there are millions of you out there - are invited to make contact with us [thisongoingwar (at) gmail (dot) com] so we can confidentially share some plans for expanding this protest of WCC malevolence.

UPDATE January 8, 2017: We found it important to add some observations in the wake of a gruesome and cruel Palestinian Arab terror attack. See "08-Jan-17: Where the World Council of Churches stands as Israelis are rammed to death"


LRbenj said...

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LRbenj said...

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James said...

The WCC are so broad-minded that their brains have fallen out.

Anonymous said...

Well... it could be a good thing to show "Christian" concern for these murderers and terrorists in prison by praying for them to repent of the evils they've done and to visit them for the purpose of urge them to do so. While they're alive t'shuva (repentance) is always a possibility, and many have such as "Son of Hamas" Mosab Hassan Yousef... but I have a feeling this is not what the WCC has in mind as a way of aiding these men.

Carolinkc said...

Haters "gonna" hate....馃

Anonymous said...

This is how one of the world's largest and most influential Christian roof bodies sees things? Count me out - a lifetime believer but disgusted by what these overpaid poseurs do in the name of my faith. Thanks for this very enlightening piece. I will be passing it along to every Christian I know.