Ecumenism

Joe Suaiden

Once again, the ecumenical film festival is being touted online. It was first reported here on June 11. This time WFN reports that the film festival is seeking submissions and have even put up criteria on their website. It makes sense, from a larger perspective, that this week also saw the sudden resurrection of the Middle East Crisis. Nothing could make one think more about the great progress we’ve made in “advancing religious unity” than watching Jews and Muslims blow each other up.

By the way, if you thought we were joking about the ecumenical film festival, here is the FAQ on the Film Festival courtesy of the National Council of Churches.

At a time when Israel, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority and who knows who else have decided to go to all-out war, the National Council of Churches, demonstrating precisely the strength of the “united Christian Church” in America, issued the forceful call:

What has violence solved these last 60 years? What has violence solved these past weeks?

Any hope for peace, itself a miracle in the midst of occupation, was stifled with Israel’s missile strike on Gaza and the death of innocent Palestinians. Any chance of reconciliation was hindered by the retributive attacks and kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Hamas. Any call for restraint was ignored with disproportionate retaliations by Israel….

We hear Jesus’ lament in the cries of the Israelis, Palestinians, and Lebanese, the Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others whose lives are threatened by this unending violence. Where can this cycle of vengeance, retribution and violence lead?

While no one would accuse me of being an Israeli partisan, the fact remains: Israel didn’t start this one. Yet the NCC doesn’t care, because it constantly shows itself to be a left wing organization: Just a few days before, the Church World Service, an arm of the NCC, issued a call to the Bush administration not to interfere with “humanitarian aid” to the Cuban Council of Churches, which exists within a totalitarian regime where virtually the entire economy is in the hands of its dictator, Fidel Castro. The reason for the adminstration’s limitation has no other reason than that the US government has identified the Cuban Council of Churches itself as a Castro-controlled tool. Ironically, the NCC’s Executive Director was quoted as saying “Our hope is that faith will not be manipulated as a tool of international diplomacy.”

Considering the WCC’s history with the Soviet Moscow Patriarchate, we see the ecumenical movement on a political and official level as little else– a tool for communist and totalitarian regimes to manipulate free people.

Send in your film submissions, people. It’s time for the Ecumenical Movement in America to pat itself on the back.

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