Established in the U.S. in 1957, but with roots going back to colonial New England, the United Church of Christ (UCC) is one of the major denominations that make up what is known as mainline Protestantism—long the socially dominant form of American Christianity. These churches have gone into a precipitous decline in recent decades, as Samuel Goldman explains, and the UCC is no exception. While, unlike so many Christian denominations, this particular church does not have a long and sordid history of anti-Semitism, that too appears to be changing, as seen from the latest meeting of its General Synod. Luke Moon writes:
[A] General Synod seemingly cannot conclude without passage of a resolution uniquely condemning Israel. This year’s resolution, “A Declaration of Just Peace between Palestine and Israel,” claims to be for peace and opposed to anti-Semitism—and yet singles out Israel for special rebuke and calls on local churches to partner with some of the most radical anti-Israel organizations in the U.S. It also claims to be against supersessionism, [the belief that the church has replaced the Jews as God’s chosen people], and yet urges churches to critically examine the “use and interpretations of Scripture as well as liturgies and hymns that equate ancient biblical Israel with the modern state.”
This type of antagonism against Israel is unsurprising. . . . Although the UCC boasts of its broadminded liberality, its statements and policies show an ongoing animus against the world’s only majority-Jewish country.
The UCC likes to “repent” for various historical misdeeds committed by other people often long ago. But perhaps it should repent for its own ongoing unfairness and double standards towards Jewish Israel. And perhaps it should reflect more on Christianity’s centuries of misdeeds against Jewish people and on why Israel was created as a special refuge for Jews after so much persecution, culminating with the Holocaust in majority-Christian Europe.