The United Church of Canada's view of the Bible is based on this 19th-century liberalism and its 20th-century New Testament equivalent, "Form Criticism" (which says that the Gospels weren't based on eyewitness accounts but were written much later by others masquerading as 1st-century authors). For example, the Sunday school curriculum issued by the UCC in 1964 upheld the view that the first 11 chapters of Genesis were merely mythical and not to be taken as literal history; it was said that this liberal view had been the unofficial position of the UCC for at least 25 years before that. The United Church of Canada's increasingly anti-biblical positions have merely been extensions of the earlier liberalism. As Dave Breese once noted: "Liberal religion isn't somethng good that used to be better, but is one of the most evil things imaginable...once you depart from the faith, you don't just take one step down, but you drop into the dark abyss."
From the Calgary Herald, May 6, 2012:
The United Church of Canada was in the vanguard in advocating for the legalization of same-sex marriage in this country. It was in the forefront of equality for women and ordained its first woman reverend in 1936. It is committed to freedom of religion - church belief is that a variety of paths lead to God, including non-Christian religions.
This progressive, egalitarian spirit makes it hard to fathom why a faction within the church is calling for a boycott of Israel - the only country in the Middle East where gays are not persecuted and killed because of their sexual orientation, where women are considered men's equals, and where Christians are free to worship without fear of their churches being firebombed.
In August, a general council meeting will vote on a boycott of Israeli-made products - the fourth such poisoned proposal since 2006.
Yet, just this past Sunday, 27 people died in northern Nigeria, when terrorists bombed three church services. Anglican Bishop Timothy Yahaya of Nigeria's Taraba State said terrorists have killed 300 Christians in the past three weeks. The terrorist group, Boko Haram, has stated that Christians must convert to Islam or face death. Where is the United Church's denunciation of Christian persecution?
In Iran, Pastor Farshid Fathi, a 33-year-old convert to Christianity, was sentenced to six years in prison last month for the crime of "having more than one Bible, or distributing Bibles; having Christian literature was part of the crime," according to a friend of Fathi's who spoke with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Syrian Christians have been kidnapped, raped and murdered during the uprising against President Bashar Assad. Meanwhile, the anti-Israel fanatics in the United Church of Canada have their misguided, moralistic fingers pointed at Israel, a democracy trying to defend itself from its genocidal neighbours, who want it wiped from the Middle Eastern map.
Equally disturbing is the way the United Church's report on the boycott proposal waters down the Holocaust as "the denial of human dignity to Jews." The deaths of six million people make that the epitome of profane understatement. Shame on the United Church for all of this. And shame on the United Methodist Church which is also calling for a boycott of "products made by Israeli companies operating in occupied Palestinian territories."
Past United Church proposals have included severing financial investments in Israeli firms, boycotting Israel's cultural and academic institutions, and most recently, boycotting six Canadian firms with business ties to Israel. Two of these proposals weren't voted upon and one - the cultural and academic boycott - was thought to be extremist.
"Throughout the Middle East there are millions of Christians in grave danger by repressive regimes, but there are no calls for boycotts of those countries. This is just idiocy," says Shimon Fogel, head of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
Indeed, it is idiocy. Like the other United Church proposals, this one deserves to be left by the side of the road. It does no honour to the church, which should be focusing its efforts on the true oppressors in that part of the world - those who do not hesitate to bomb churches, kill Christians and trample on the human rights of gays and women.