Agape Tooled Up for Israel

Irony escapes the hacks at Agape Press, as they provide another puff-piece for CIA-analyst turned neo-con culture warrior Mark Tooley (emphasis and links added):

Several mainline Protestant denominations are being condemned for their increasing hostility towards Israel…Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) lists those churches taking such a stance. “The Presbyterian Church (USA) has endorsed the divestment idea [here],” Tooley explains, adding that the United Church of Christ has “at least indirectly, endorsed the idea [here], and a committee of the Worldwide Anglican Communion has similarly endorsed the idea [here] [as have] several regional bodies of the United Methodist Church.”[here]…Tooley maintains that churches in America need to be “more even-handed, factual, and less swayed by failed theological and political fads” when they address human rights concerns in the Middle East.

But what’s Agape’s own particular concern?

Ignoring scriptural warnings to nations that do not support Israel, several mainline denominations are calling for economic sanctions designed to punish the Jewish people.

Yes, don’t be swayed by “theological fads”, but if you care about Palestinian human rights you’re accursed of God. Because in fact all you really want to do is “punish the Jewish people”.

Several months ago the IRD published a report criticising the human rights activism of mainline churches, which I in turn critiqued at the time. Tooley follows the same line: some soft criticism of Israel is allowed, but not much, and unless you precede it with log diatribes against China, Arab dictatorships and Palestinian terrorism then we should dismiss you as an anti-Semite.

(As it happens, the IRD is currently showing its “even-handed, factual” virtues with a gushing tribute to the late John Garang. Jeff Sharlet has further thoughts on how conservative Christians perceive Garang and the Sudan in an interesting article here.)

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  1. […] Harries and Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. Pointless because, much as I dislike Tooley, he actually knows rather more about American religious conservatism than […]

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