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February 12, 2014

David Duke Endorses PC(USA) Document

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For the past several weeks, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has been selling a 74-page booklet about the Arab-Israeli conflict. It has sold this booklet through its website.

The booklet, titled Zionism Unsettled, was prepared by the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA), an organization that was created by a vote at the denomination’s 2004 General Assembly.

When it was created, the organization was charged with educating members of the PC(USA) about the Arab-Israeli conflict, but the IPMN has fulfilled this mandate by demonizing Israel and Jews. See this article for background.

Over the years, as the IPMN’s hostility toward Israel and Jews has become increasingly manifest, PC(USA) officials have tried to assert that the organization is not really part of the denomination they lead, but it is.

It’s part of the denomination’s network of missions. At one point, after receiving a complaint from CAMERA about the organization's anti-Semitic messaging, a PC(USA) official in Louisville said the denomination was going to issue a set of rules that the denomination's mission groups would have to follow if they want to stay a part of the PC(USA), but apparently, nothing ever came of these rules.

The report just issued by the PC(USA)'s Israel Palestine Mission Network has been described, accurately, as an assault on Zionism and the Jewish people.

This is contrary to the “official” statements of the PC(USA), but nothing ever happens when the IPMN behaves like this. It behaves like a rogue organization, but with the acquiescence of PC(USA) officials who could rein it in.

Just to be clear. PC(USA) officials who say they don’t have control over the IPMN are not telling the truth. The denomination collects funds for the organization here. And if the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is, despite its name, somehow independent of the denomination, it would have to file reports with the IRS. A search on Guidestar.org's website indicates that no such reports have been filed, indicating that the organization does in fact, operate under the umbrella and authority of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Why does any of this matter? It matters because Zionism Unsettled, the report sold on the PC(USA)’s website, has gotten two ringing endorsements. The first came yesterday from PressTV, the state television network of Iran.

The second came from David Duke, whom the Anti-Defamation League describes as “perhaps America's most well-known racist and anti-Semite.” This doesn't just reflect on the IPMN, but on the denomination as a whole, the leaders in Louisville, especially.

In the article about Zionism Unsettled, Duke's webpage reports the following:

In a major breakthrough in the worldwide struggle against Zionist extremism, the largest Presbyterian church in the United States, the PC(USA), has issued a formal statement calling Zionism “Jewish Supremacism” — a term first coined and made popular by Dr. David Duke.

This is what you could call a "victory lap." Duke's hateful ideas have been mainstreamed by a mainline Protestant church.

Duke's website overstates the case when he says the PC(USA) “has issued a formal statement” but not by much. Zionism Unsettled not a "formal statement," but no matter how hard PC(USA) officials try to deny it, Zionism Unsettled is a PC(USA) document, just as a document issued by any other of the denomination’s “World Mission Networks” would be a PC(USA) document.

It's not issued by the folks in Louisville, but again, the IPMN was created by a 2004 vote of the denomination's General Assembly. Ultimately the buck stops with the PC(USA), at least until the General Assembly votes to cut the IPMN lose from the church or until the IPMN decides to leave the denomination on its own. (One would have to ask why it would do such a thing. It's not as if the PC(USA)'s oversight has been all that intrusive.)

Elsewhere in the same article, David Duke falsely portrays Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, a former stated clerk of the PC(USA) as one of the authors of the document. Kirkpatrick only endorsed the document. It's not as if Kirkpatrick himself ranted about Jewish supremacism. That was done by David Duke and the PC(USA)'s Israel Palestine Mission Network.

It is time for the people who belong to the Presbyterian Church (USA) to ask themselves what is happening to their church and to act. The folks in Louisville were warned repeatedly about the behavior of the IPMN. Whatever they did, it wasn't enough to rein in the organization.

Posted by dvz at February 12, 2014 06:18 PM

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