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This entry in the growing list of anti-Semite-friendly statements by mainline Protestants comes to us in the form of a letter to the editor of the New York Times. In it, Yale University Episcopal chaplain Bruce Shipman declares that Jews in Europe who are alarmed by growing violence against their community have no one to thank but their co-religionists in Israel for being so mean to the people who are trying to destroy that country:

Deborah E. Lipstadt makes far too little of the relationship between Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza and growing anti-Semitism in Europe and beyond.

The trend to which she alludes parallels the carnage in Gaza over the last five years, not to mention the perpetually stalled peace talks and the continuing occupation of the West Bank.

As hope for a two-state solution fades and Palestinian casualties continue to mount, the best antidote to anti-Semitism would be for Israel’s patrons abroad to press the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for final-status resolution to the Palestinian question.

Lipstadt’s original article is here.

Daniel Bernstein of the Volokh Conspiracy, where I first saw this, responds:

Next on Rev. Shipman’s bucket list: blaming women who dress provocatively for rape, blaming blacks for racism because of high crime rates, and blaming gays for homophobia for being “flamboyant.”

The interesting thing about the anti-Semitic attacks in Europe is that they are not, by and large, being directed against Israeli citizens, or Israeli embassies, or Israeli businesses. They are being directed against German Jews, French Jews, British Jews, and so on. Why are their attackers choosing those targets? Because they don’t distinguish between Israelis and Jews at large. And the attackers are also quite explicit about their aims. Like the alien in Independence Day, when Israel or European Jews ask what they should do, their attackers say, “Die.”

It may or may not be Shipman’s intention, but his letter essentially says that Israel, and the world’s Jews, should give the anti-Semites what they want. That way they will get a few moments of peace before the savages find another excuse to demand the destruction of the object of their hate. Shipman and his ilk are enablers, if not supporters, of that hate.

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Not content to let the Episcopalians, Lutherans, UCCers and Disciples jump alone, the Presbyterian Church (USA) plunged over the cliff yesterday. The Layman Online reports:

The 221st General Assembly passed two measures on Thursday afternoon to allow same-sex marriages in the Presbyterian Church (USA), one of which goes into effect immediately.

The General Assembly voted first to approve an Authoritative Interpretation (AI) of the constitution that would give Presbyterian pastors discretion to conduct same-sex ceremonies in states where the practice is legal. The vote on business item 10-03 was 61 percent (317) in favor and 39 percent (238) against. It goes into effect immediately.

Not long after, the assembly also voted to approve an amendment to theBook of Order that would change the definition of marriage from “a woman and a man” to “two people.” The vote on business item 10-02 was 429 (71percent) to 175 (29 percent).

It will now be sent to the denomination’s 172 presbyteries for ratification, and if approved by 87 of the presbyteries, it could be part of the PCUSA constitution by this time next year (2015).

The assembly did approve an amendment to the first paragraph of the proposed change to the definition of marriage so that what will be sent to the presbyteries for approval reads — “Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the well-being of the entire human family. Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people (traditionally between a man and a woman) to love and support each other for the rest of their lives. The sacrificial love that unites the couple sustains them as faithful and responsible members of the church and the wider community.”

That italicized parenthetical is so pwecious. “Bizarre as it may seem,” they seem to be saying, “we once lived in caves and thought marriage was given by God to join together men and women. Silly us!”

The prospect now is for hundreds more churches to depart PCUSA for ships that aren’t sinking. Leadership wants to do all that it can to forestall the exodus, of course:

The final piece of business from the Civil Unions and Marriage Issues committee was a request for some kind of reconciliation process.

The motion, which was overwhelmingly approved (521-31) by the General Assembly, read:

“Direct the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board and the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly to establish a way to bring reconciliation to the church that would involve visiting each presbytery and serving as a resource for each presbytery’s discussion of these actions in congregations and the presbytery at-large and present voices of reconciliation for the unity of the church.”

In introducing the item, Committee Chairman Jeffrey Bridgeman from the Presbytery of Santa Barbara, passionately spoke about the need for reconciliation.

“These issues have caused deep fissures and the exodus of churches and individuals,” he said, “Both the church I grew up in and the community of faith of my first call have graciously left our community in the last six months. … Far too many friends and family have broken fellowship to continue their ministries in other places … My heart is broken.”

“Our committee knew that something other than polity action needed to happen, that is why this new piece of business is before you,” he said. “As a denomination we cannot continue to take steps to be more inclusive and ignore the exclusion of others. … There must be a deliberate and concerted effort to find ways to heal this increasingly broken and fragile relationship. We need reconcilation.”

Yeah, their hearts are broken so badly that they are willing to ignore Scripture, the confessions of the church, and 2000 years of Christian tradition–not to mention the continuing objections of large swaths of the denomination’s membership–to get what they want. As for the desired “reconciliation,” color me skeptical. The way I read that is, “Gentlemen, we’ve got to keep the yokels on board or they’ll take their dollars with them and imperil our phony-baloney jobs!”

This completes the spiritual suicide begun at the last General Assembly when the decision was made to ordain gays. In its rejection of Scripture and tradition, in its declaration of independence from the Church Catholic, in its joining itself at the hip to the Zeitgeist, the PCUSA has answered Joshua’s challenge: “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.” (Joshua 24:15 ESV)

PCUSA has chosen the gods of this land.

GosnellIf you haven’t done so yet, you have one last opportunity to help fund the making of the movie Hollywood is desperate to kill. Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer are documentary filmmakers whose credits includerackNation (an answer to the fraudulent anti-fracking fantasy Gasland) and Not Evil, Just Wrong about climate change alarmism. Now, they are taking on the story of serial killer/abortionist Kermit Gosnell. The have already raised the $2.1 million that they needed to get going, and are now seeking to simply increase the number of givers beyond the 25,000+ they already have in order to raise visibility and send a message to a film industry that has done all it could to prevent this movie from being made (including getting the initial crowdsourcing site, Kickstarter, to reject the project because they claimed it violated their “standards”). Here’s Ann and Phelim’s latest appeal:

This last day is very important for the success of the Gosnell Movie. We want to have an army of supporters so that Hollywood and the media can no longer say there is no demand, no audience for a movie about Kermit Gosnell

If you haven’t contributed please consider doing it now at www.GosnellMovie.com.

If you have given alrady, we’d love you to get your friends and family to join this historic project, and we only want $1 from them. We currently have nearly 25,000 contributors but we NEED to grow this number. Please encourage your family and friends to give just $1 and add their name – their vote to the growing army of people who are demanding that the censorship stops now.

And we also need you one more time. We’ll be hosting a tweetfest on Twitter on Monday, twice: at 12-2pm EST and again at 8-9pm EST and we’d love you to be there for us. Our goal for this tweetfest is to get to 30,000 contributors before the campaign ends. We’ll be tweeting with the hashtag #GosnellMovie, we want to get it trending!

You’ll be also hearing Ann and Phelim on the radio, they’ll be on The Hugh Hewitt Show, The Dennis Prager Show and on CBS Philly.

Lets make this one last big effort and push to finish strong! We’ll see you on Twitter and at the finish line.

I just made my contribution. You can, too. Let’s help get this movie made, send a message to Hollywood and the mainstream media that so devoutly ignored the Gosnell story, and get the story the pro-abortion movement doesn’t want Americans to hear before the world.

terminator-im-backAfter almost two years, I’ve decided to re-activate The Reformed Pastor. Mostly it’s so that I can write about some of the stuff that really doesn’t fit at Stand Firm (cultural stuff, baseball, that sort of thing), but also because I was looking for something earlier this week and discovered that this site is still getting around 50 hits a day despite not being updated. I was glad to see that people are using it for a resource, but it also persuaded me that it couldn’t hurt to have a second outlet for my deep, deep thoughts.

I’m also going to cross-post some of my Stand Firm stuff here, especially the mainline church and Israel material that so many people found useful here. The first one goes up shortly, so spread the word.

I am approaching a bit of a milestone. Sometime within the next week, I will be making my 2000th post to this blog. That seems like a good time for a change.

Starting on Monday, the focus of The Reformed Pastor will change significantly. That’s in part because I’m going to be taking the analysis of current events and denominational happenings to a new location. Monday, I join the stable of writers at a revamped Stand Firm, which will now be subtitled “Faith Among the Ruins.” I will be joining a team of talented writers whose hope is to become a sort of First Things on the Web for Anglicans and Protestants, a lofty goal indeed that I believe the others, if not me, are fully capable of achieving.

Here, meanwhile, I will heading off in a very different direction. I will, in effect, be writing an idiosyncratic commentary on the New Testament. No Greek, no critical apparatus, nothing fancy. What I’m going to do instead is take the passage divisions in the English Standard Bible, and do a daily (more or less) commentary on them in order. So, on Monday, I’ll begin with the Gospel of Matthew, and discuss the passage headed, “The Genealogy of Jesus Christ.” And so on through the New Testament, though I may vary the order in which I do the books. In any case, I’ll be doing something that can be a spiritual discipline for both me and my readers, if they choose to stick with me, and perhaps for others looking for something more spiritually edifying than what I’ve done in the past.

If you’d like more information about the changes at Stand Firm, and where I might fit in, check out Greg Griffith’s post here. And if you want to see The Reformed Pastor transformed, continue to check in here.

You know how on I Can Has Cheezburger sometimes it’s the cats that are “talking,” and sometimes the hoomans? I’m not sure which is doing the speaking in this picture, but as one who has spent almost fifty years playing the Royal Game, I can relate to the frustration of playing someone who really doesn’t get the game:

Truth be told, I can’t imagine why a cat would want to capture only “horses.” It’s not like cats eat horses, after all. Those things in the front row of pieces, on the other hand…hmmmm, prawns.

(From…well, you know.)

For reasons completely unknown, downloads of my short story “Ezcape From Sobibor” have taken off on Amazon. Over 300 copies have been snapped up by Kindle users and others in the last three weeks (in addition to the 161 at Smashwords), with the result being that it is currently ranked 3,740 among all the free ebooks Amazon carries (of which there are tens if not hundreds of thousands). So if you haven’t yet gotten it, and you like horror or zombie tales with a twist, hie thee hence and download away. Did I mention it’s free?

By the way, I should mention that you don’t need to own a Kindle to download and read stuff in that format. Amazon gives away free ereader software, so that you can download it to your computer (Mac or PC) and read it, or you can read it online on Amazon’s site by going to the “Your Digital Items” button and finding the story on the list. C’mon, you know you want to!

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