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The Methodist Church and institutional antisemitism

by Joseph W

I enjoy commenting on the Connexions blog, run by a Methodist minister and a URC minister who are very affable and lively chaps.

They recently posted a blog entry about another an upcoming Methodist vote, which will reaffirm the Church’s opposition to antisemitism, in writing.

The resolution reads:

We commit ourselves
● to oppose all forms of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism in the church and in society;
● to seek and intensify dialogue with our Jewish sisters and brothers at all levels.’”

I think that’s brilliant, and I’m very glad Connexions posted this.

So I commented:

I do not believe that most Methodists are antisemites. I welcome the fact that the Methodist Church decries antisemitism. I believe there is institutional antisemitism within the Methodist Church, which many Methodists are hoping to eliminate.

I tried to explain why I think the church has a problem with “institutional antisemitism”.

This is because of Stephen Leah, a lay preacher from York PSC who worked up a report on Israel calling for Methodists to boycott settlement goods from the Occupied Territories. In compiling his report, Leah drew heavily from a variety of anti-Jewish sources – mostly linked to the Sabeel and Friends of Sabeel networks.

Revd. Nichola Jones persuaded Conference that they should boycott settlement goods, drawing heavily from Christian supercessionist theology, which presumes that Jews cannot have their own physical nation because of their past sins.

I think this Far Left/anti-Zionist entryism – fused with racist theology – has created a problem of institutional antisemitism.

How?

Imagine this scenario:

1. A BNP-supporting vicar pushes an anti-immigration resolution, calling on all Anglicans to voice concern over mass immigration, which the Synod agrees to adopt as church policy. Another vicar justifies this view because he thinks there is a curse on Ishmael and a curse on Ham, who represent blacks and Muslims in the Bible.

2. The BNP-supporting vicar boasts to his local group – really I’d like to kick out all the Muslims from Britain, but I know what I can get away with in churches. They’re all too worried about what Muslims think anyway.

3. Muslim groups in the UK are outraged when they hear about the background of the BNP linked vicar, and his reasons for pushing this resolution.

4. Many grassroots Anglicans voice concern over how the BNP-supporting vicar gains such a prominent voice in the Church.

5. The vicars protest – of course we’re not anti-Muslim or anti-black. Clergy express their willingness to defend and comfort British Muslims, and they would never want to push all Muslims and blacks out of the UK.

6. The vicars may not be anti-Muslim or anti-black. But why did they allow a vicar with links to the BNP to push this resolution?

7. Given the nature of the resolution, outsiders might conclude that the Church now has a problem with institutional racism. It’s not the same as saying “British Anglicanism is racist”. That would be unfair on most Anglicans who had no say in the matter – in our fictional scenario.

8. If you don’t think the PSC has an equal problem of racism to the BNP, consider this.

Obviously this would never happen because the Church of England has taken measures to prevent its clergy from aligning with the BNP, because they are a racist party.

Will the C of E and the Methodist church take action against the increasingly racist PSC?

I really hope they will.

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