June 27, 2020

The Palestinian people are crying out once again. They are calling us to recognize the dissolution of prospects for peace with justice for Israelis and Palestinians – Jews, Christians and Muslims.

So reads a stirring call from the Office of Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations & Theological Discernment for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). "The ELCA hears your cries," writes Kathryn Mary Lohre, Assistant to ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the ELCA. The call summons American Lutherans to be a "disturbing presence for peace through prayer, action, and advocacy."

"When we are a disturbing presence, we work to uncover the deep, systemic connection between the oppression of one people and the oppression of another, and between the liberation of the oppressed and the liberation of all. The racism that has kneeled on the necks of Black Americans for 400 years is part of the same global pandemic as the racism that has been kneeling on the necks of Palestinians."

The statement adds the following unambiguous message to Lutherans, who are particularly susceptible to the charge that standing for justice for Palestinians is a betrayal of their pledge to renounce their church's history of anti-Jewish doctrine and action:

"When we are a disturbing presence for peace, our focus is on justice . Thus, we make a clear distinction between our critique of unjust Israeli government policies and our commitments to anti-Semitism and right relationship with the Jewish community."

The statement provides links to recent calls from the Palestinian churches and to a recent ELCA action alert to Congress.


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