Take A Stand

Take A Stand…
In Front of A Church That Will Not Take A Stand
By C. E. Carlson

The Baptist church of Gaza City. Founded in 1954.

In 2022 Chuck Carlson visited this school in Gaza that had been bombed by Israel.

Private school where Christian and Muslim children attended, destroyed the week of March 1, 2002 by two F-16 fired “smart bombs”

 

(The author was for many years a Southern Baptist, served as a Deacon in a Baptist Church and visited Israel and Gaza in March.)

A child is seen holding a banner during a Sunday Christian protest at the demolition site of an apartment complex. Orthodox priests carry crosses, flags and signs reading, ‘Hands off our homes!’

Who threatens these Christian families? Communists in Russia? Chinese anti-Christians? terrorist rulers in some black African republic? The bulldozers are operated by Israelis under orders from the Israeli government. The equipment is furnished by the US taxpaying citizens. And the real villains are the American church leaders who have deliberately looked the other way, allowing it to happen. They are the facilitators of this terror by Israelis against Christians in Palestine.

One of the chief facilitators is Richard L. Land, a permanent fixture as head of the powerful Southern Baptist Convention, Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission. Land stated “GOD MADE AN UNCONDITIONAL COVENANT (with the present day state of Israel), AND HE DOESN’T NEGOTIATE. IT’S GOD’S WAY OR THE HIGHWAY.”

Land and the Southern Baptist Convention have pronounced their judgment; they say the Palestinians must get out of their homes in the West bank and Gaza. The Israeli military is making it happen with bombs and bulldozers. But in so doing, Dr. Land ignores the Christians who are among the people of Palestine.

An October 13th an Associated Press article, published in the Israeli press, was titled “PALESTINIAN CHRISTIANS PROTEST PLAN TO DEMOLISH HOMES.” Here are a few quotes from the story

“Over 100 Palestinian Christians staged a protest march Sunday against Israeli plans to demolish a church-related apartment complex near Har Homa.”

“Beit Sahour officials say that the Supreme Court is considering their challenge of an order to demolish the seven four-story structures built on lands owned by the Greek Orthodox Church in an area between Beit Sahour and Har Homa.”

“Beit Sahour officials say the apartments are being built on an area that is legally under its administration. Israel disputes the claim and has said the builders have not obtained building permits from Israel.”

“The project, which was launched about 10 years ago, was meant to provide low-income housing for young Greek Orthodox families in Beit Sahour, a predominantly Christian town of 13,000, according to Suzan Sahori, a spokeswoman for Beit Sahour.”

“Sahori said a new Israeli road meant to speed settlers past Palestinian towns is being built behind the apartment complex.”

Baptist Richard L. Land’s verdict amounts to an eviction notice for these protesters, and a death warrant for other Palestinian children. The policy of shoot on sight is now in effect. The throwing of a rock allows an official Israeli summary execution without arraignment, arrest or trial (see our report on our website). This is as bizarre and unchristian as would be a proclamation from the Pope proclaiming that the Sioux Indians must leave South Dakota (which the Pope did not do). Both have some responsibility to stand up for the Arabs or Indians of their respective faiths, we think. At the very least we would expect both leaders to avoid facilitating the carnage by keeping it a secret.

But this matter gets only worse. The Southern Baptists (only one of many denominations and celebrity hypocrites) have even abandoned the members of their own Baptist churches in proclaiming Israelis “right” to Christian’s lands. They are condemning the wives and children of members of a Southern Baptist church in Gaza City to “hit the road” to nowhere. For an Arab Christian in the Gaza strip there are only two places to go–to the Mediterranean Sea to drown, or into the barren desert of Sinai, where even a dog would die in a few days without constant attention.

This author visited the Southern Baptist Church in Gaza City in March of this year. There I was privileged to meet and interview courageous persons, including Americans, who rejuvenated that Church from an old mosque, located between the Public Library and the Culture and Light Center used by Muslims. It exists there now in peace and harmony with its Muslim neighbors, sharing their common problems as a people under siege.

Richard L Land and the other Baptist leaders have to know all about this church, because his own monthly LIGHT MAGAZINE, Sept-Oct 2002, carries an interview with its members, but the story does so without even mentioning that the Church exists! The article, entitled “‘CRAZY’ VOLUNTEERS DELIVER FOOD, LOVE TO PALESTINIANS” speaks of the good works of members of this church as though they are missionaries from afar, but does not even acknowledge the presence of this Baptist outpost in the middle of a war zone. One of the members interviewed by Light is the same man I interviewed in his place of business in March of this year, and is a member of the church (see references to website below).

LIGHT MAGAZINE acknowledged that the people of Gaza are near starvation, and it publicizes the members of the American Baptist churches who have gone there on brief mission trips trying to help. These “crazy” volunteers have trekked to Gaza from Baptist Churches in the USA to contribute their widow’s mite. Longtime Southern Baptist project coordinator Paul Lawrence is quoted as saying “Our primary goal is to share God’s love with these people’ … “and to bring hope and encouragement.

Light, in referring to its own members, goes on to state “MANY PALESTINIANS ASSUME AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICALS WHO OFTEN SUPPORT THE STATE OF ISRAEL FOR THEOLOGICAL REASONS HATE THEM AND REGARD THEM AS TERRORISTS.”

LIGHT fails to admit that the official Southern Baptist position toward the Palestinians, as carefully laid out by Dr. Land and other Southern Baptist leaders, is that the Palestinians have no rights. Their statements consistently foster the idea that Palestinians are usurpers of the Israelis’ land. No wonder Baptists consider palistinians “terrorists,” their leaders tell them to think this. The statements and actions of the Baptist leaders foster hatred between Baptist and Palestinians, even those who are Christians, and in this case they are Baptist Christian Palestinians.

LIGHT says volunteers have visited some 1800 families and hope to visit 1000 more of the 1.2 million persons who live in Gaza. But a bag of food divided among 200,000 families in Gaza alone, most of whom are unemployed, without income, imprisoned and under siege is, of course, a “drop in the bucket”, as one Palestinian Christian volunteer stated. The real benefit of the Baptist program is that it educates some Americans as to the inhuman treatment the Palestinians are receiving, which they will never forget. The Southern Baptist Convention allows them to go but would prefer they did forget it.

The people of Gaza do not need handouts of food. Palestinians are good farmers and can raise food, if they are allowed to farm. But the water and arable land of Gaza is expropriated by 15 or more “settlements” (Israeli squatter camps inside the Gaza Strip).

The Nile Valley is a sea of food only a few miles south of the Gaza seaport on the Mediterranean. But that port has been bombed and closed by the Israelis and not allowed to accept shipping, as was shown to this writer in March.

Similarly, Gaza’s land route directly into Egypt–the gate called Ramal–was blockaded in March when I tried to go through it. If the Southern Baptist Convention really wants to help the people of Gaza, it should use its powerful political influence to demand that Palestinians receive the right to live, work, eat and enjoy freedom. The answer is not to compete in the marketplace with other hungry Gaza residents for a few bags of food to be given away in the ghettos of Gaza. For every dollar spent in Gaza, Baptists pay thousand to Israelis in foreign aid and direct benefits, as well as private contributions to Israeli charities, which are used to imprison these people.

In reality, LIGHT admits to us that Dr. Lamb’s church maintains a small, semi-secret, conscience-soothing mission in Gaza at the same time that it is condemning the people there, both Christian and Moslem, to hunger and death.

Meanwhile Dr. Lamb is using his powerful influence to sell out the 3.5 million Palestinians into the hate-filled hands of the Israelis, who openly refer to them as “animals”. It is interesting to note that LIGHT does not say a word about the bombing and killing that is going on in Gaza every day and night, often right in front of the Baptist Church, from which the members could report every incident.

You may read this author’s own account about a member of this very Baptist Church, an Arab Christian (whose name I am sworn not to disclose), whose two children had their school destroyed by two US-supplied smart bombs only a few days before I photographed the demolished school. Why did the LIGHT story neglect to mention this? Why did they fail to even mention the existence of that church? We will post a photograph of it so you can see it!

The Southern Baptist convention and countless other “Evangelical Christians” maintain silence, in deference to their commitment to Israel. They invariably avoid mention of anything about Christians suffering in Palestine. The convention stifles the reports from their church members in Gaza and discourages criticism of Israel by their members at home. We know this from accounts given to us by Baptists who have visited Gaza when come home and attempt to publicize conditions there.

A few thousand Christians in Palestine are an embarrassment to Israel and the Judeo-Christian churches in America. Only a handful are Baptists. There are 3,500,000 non-Christians who are sharing in the horror of being occupied and systematically destroyed by a brutal force. Unholy, cowardly and materialistic facilitators, who dare to call themselves by Christ’s name, are covering for Israel.

The Southern Baptist Convention is big; it like the bulk of the iceberg is under water and out of sight. The tip of the iceberg of hypocrisy is the cheerleader crew, led by Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham, Benny Hinn and dozens of the mega-dollar evangelists, not to mention almost every pastor in every pulpit in America’s evangelical churches. Shame on every one of you, with your pious heads in the sand, covering your eyes and ears, but not your mouths.

“Christian apostates” is the correct name for those who ignore Jesus’ words of peace. They ignore his statement that the old covenants, consisting of land and territory, were replaced by a new covenant from Christ. They ignore the brutality of Israelis who laugh in the face of true Christianity, killing and robbing. These blind leaders ignore the true promise of Christ, thereby denying followers of the true knowledge of Christ’s promise to them and his demands on their lives.

May God bless the brave American Baptist who stay on in Gaza, committing their lives to the Palestinians and treating them as equals in God’s eyes; they are accepting what Jesus accepted.

Shame on the Southern Baptist leaders and willing followers, who cover for Israeli murders; they are refusing to reject what Jesus rejected. They are refusing to reject what Jesus rejected!

It is time for concerned Believers to challenge the local churches. Forget the politicians! Why not hold a prayer march in front Dr. Richard Land’s home church? Followers of Christ, this is your responsibility. Don’t leave it to the victims to do your job.

If you want to know more about organizing an easy and effective RALLY FOR PEACE, or if you have helpful information, contact us. We are writing a manual which will be available to Cloudseeders in one week.

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