|WCC's Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit [Image Source]|
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.
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".
"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."
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]
Mostly of innocent Jewish people, if you're already asking.
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?")
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]|
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.
"Yes, I believe we would have nothing further to say."
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.