Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Polite Justice is No Justice At All

The church may be grounded in hope – when it isn’t actively enabling oppression – but if I was a Palestinian reading this letter, I wouldn’t invest my future in Lutheran hope. In fact, I would admonish Bishop Eaton and the Lutherans for wanting the respectable ear of the President more than embracing the active reckoning needed as Palestinian hope for a real state and real freedom continues to recede. - See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/10/toothless-israelpalestine-occupation#sthash.hoqwWzS7.dpuf

This recent reporting in Mondoweiss confronts the latest timid justice of institutional religion. This time it's by the Lutherans. It is the kind of response I received at a recent Episcopal social event by a prominent person who should know better, "We don't want to do anything which would antagonize the local bishop." He said. Being courteous trumps justice, I guess.

This "johnny-one-note" answer is based on either inattentiveness or reluctance to enter an untidy diplomatic area by religious leaders. It's probably a bit of both. 

Intense Israeli promotion in American media and elsewhere has minimized Jewish incursions into Palestinian land. And it all rides in the wake of resettlement caused by deeply misguided Zionist thinking. That frame of mind, among other things, uses a muddled abstraction of history pieced together from a "promised land" narrative from the bible with the atrocities of the Holocaust and, voila, we are at the doorstep of the eastern Mediterranean expecting a new homeland. How is that necessarily so? 

Indeed, the world owes the Jewish people sensitive hospitality after Hitler's cultural massacre but that doesn't infer they get a perpetual OK to pass on the same thing to another people. And to be frank, doesn't the current, systematic de-citizenship of Palestinians amount to a re-do of Germany in the 1930's? This is organized religion distracted and missing a candid assessment of a critical situation.  

The other flaw--so painfully obvious in the Lutheran statement by their Presiding Bishop--is the odd habit big institutions have of checking with each other. It is billed as "cooperative", or, "relationally sensitive" when it is merely paralyzing. The reference point here is how patient, peaceful, and connected they are, never mind how relevant and true a position is. 

Sadly, it is part of the continuing indictment of the slowness and incapability of these so-called mega spiritual bodies to mobilize and get on the ground for responsive action. 

How does the average Palestinian experience his/her neighborhood being dismantled and taken away? And how is day-to-day life slowly become an apartheid hell? How is that what used to be my land is not my land anymore? 

I could fill a page with questions like this--all the answers rest in a radical re-embrace of justice as fairness, a roll back and redistribution of  property, and, lastly, the establishment of one true land for all its residents. That would be truly complicated, very messy, yet very just and something organized religion can't conceive of. Sad to say.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for speaking out. This needs to be publicized and discussed widely. Good explanation of the situation. The extermination of the Palestinians is surely a crime against humanity by Israel, not to mention the US in funding it and allowing it to escalate.