Thursday, August 16, 2012

The United Church need not stick to "matters of faith"

The United Church has a perfect right to express political and social views.  Indeed, to a large extent that is the mission of a Church -- to bring faith into the world through action.  The Public Square need not be naked.

That's why I disagree with today's National Post Editorial calling on the United Church to stick to "matters of faith" link.  Churches are entitled to enter the political realm -- but when they do so they must expect to be challenged.

The Roman Catholic Church's position on contraception and marriage, for example, is one I disagree with -- and I'm prepared to say why -- but I do not think the Church is wrong to have a position.  By contrast, the Roman Catholic view on, say, did Jesus have brothers is really none of my business.

Accordingly, just because the United Church takes a position does not mean the position is beyond discussion -- as soon as a religious group makes a social or political statement that statement is open to the world.

As my earlier posts say, I disagree with the United Church's current proposals about Israel.  They are misguided, one-sided and anti-Semitic.  They are totally wrong.  They may be imprudent for the Church to adopt.  But the United Church is entitled to hold them.

Dr. Martin Luther King did much of his work as a Pastor -- he had "political" views.  Those views were motivated by his faith.  His views, in large measure, prevailed after a vigorous (and sometimes violent) political debate.  I am very glad Dr. King did not stick to "matters of faith".


The Rat said...

The United Church can have whatever views it wants but if it wishes to keep its charitable status it needs to follow the law. Render unto Caesar.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Christ lose his temper regarding the money changers? He challenged them and he was a reformer against the Jewish Church. "The United Church of Canada has had a tense relationship with Canadian Jews since 2009, when a small minority of church members called for a widespread boycott of Israeli institutions. Their resolution was never voted on. But this week, the Holy Land Awareness and Action Task Group, a Toronto-based social justice group within the United Church, called for a boycott of six companies that do business in Israel. Five of the companies, the task group says, either use exploited Palestinian labour, exploit land in the occupied territories, or support the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The sixth company, Indigo Books & Music Inc., is accused of a less obvious affront. National Post religion reporter Charles Lewis spoke to Rev. Brian McIntosh, a Toronto pastor and a spokesman for the group, about his call for a boycott." Shouldn't Palestine be treated with respect and recognized as a people? That is what the United Church is speaking out about.

Anonymous said...

Rat, good point! Time for an audit!

Alison said...

One can be against, even vehemently against, a foreign government policy without being anti the population. They are two separate things. Calling someone, or an organization, anti-semetic because they disagree with the government of Israel is ridiculous. It justs dilutes the anti-semite label to pap. As someone who has been to Israel and done some work there, I can assure you there are many, many Israelis who would side with the position of the United Church. Are they anti-semetic too? And no, they are not self-hating Jews.