Two Presbyterian pastors have voiced their opinions regretting the denomination’s recent decision to divest from companies that did business in Israel. Rev. Ed Hurley and Rev. Conrad Sharps, both of Birmingham, wrote a letter condemning the decision and offering a prayer of peace for Israel.
The Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly voted to divest from Hewlett Packard, Caterpillar and Motorola, but the pastors believe that the decision did not reflect the wishes of the majority of the denomination.
“In our opinion, the action of the General Assembly in promoting divestment from companies doing business with Israel is counterproductive. It lays the blame on the stalemate on one side only, Israel, without a fuller and more meaningful appreciation of the complexities involved and the responsibilities that all parties have in the ongoing nature of this conflict. The divestment removes our voice, the voice of our Church as an unbiased mediator and spiritual witness to the suffering on all sides of the conflict. And it causes great pain and a potential rupture with our Jewish friends locally, with whom we share so much. A far better approach, one already yielding positive results, has been the investment of Presbyterian Church USA dollars in peaceful Palestinian businesses,” the letter read in part.
The pastors concluded with a list of actions that Christians should take to support Israel and Palestine. According to Hurley and Sharps, Christians should pray for peace in the region and for the safety of its residents. Additionally, Christians should condemn violence and “promote good will.”
The letter can be read in its entirety at www.al.com.
Publication date: July 8, 2014