Thursday, August 11, 2011

Member of Episcopal Executive Council for California calls Christian emigres to Israel racist, fascist Jews

In a column written for the Episcopal News Service, Rev. Vicki Gray has made incendiary and bigoted comments concerning Christian emigres to Israel from the former Soviet Union. (Read here.) In describing a conference concerning Christians in the Holy Land (about which she apparently learned from news accounts), Rev. Gray writes:

Almost amusingly, Rabbi Daniel Sperber of Tel Aviv's Bar-Ilan University reportedly told the conference not to worry … "the churches are full" thanks to Filipino guest workers and 50,000 Christians who have immigrated from the former Soviet Union. These latter "Christians," he failed to note, are for the most part Soviet "Jews" who have made aliyah to Israel and brought with them racist, fascist attitudes that have given rise to neo-Soviet policies that would discriminate against Palestinians and Filipinos alike and, in the process, threaten Israeli democracy.

That a member of the clergy of a major American denomination would publish blanket charges of racism and fascism against tens of thousands of refugees from Soviet oppression speaks to a severe lack of good judgement on her part, as does her questioning without basis the validity of their Christian faith.  That she chooses to also label them as Jews, a term which she mysteriously puts in quotation marks, speaks to the intrinsic bigotry underlying her statement.

Rev. Gray is described in a mini-bio attached to a posting of the column as being "deacon at Christ the Lord Church in Pinole, California and a member of the Executive Council of the Diocese of California"; in another mini-bio, she is described as being "a member of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship."  She and her superiors in the Episcopal Church need to address how someone in positions of authority within that denomination could publish such a gross and bigoted slander concerning an ethnic minority.  Similarly, the organization Friends of Sabeel North America, which chose to post this outrageous column on their website (read here), need to explain their tacit endorsement of its contents.

CORRECTION (8/13/2011 10:30 AM):
An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Rev. Gray is a member of the Episcopal Executive Council.  In fact, she serves on the Episcopal Executive Council for the California Diocese.


Anonymous said...

Pinole is just up the road from Berkeley. No surprise here.

Ken Hoop said...

Gee. Almost offends me as much as Michele Bachmann telling me as a Christian I must support by my votes the theft of Palestinian land and the oppressive maintainance thereof in order to help usher in Christ's return.

Adam Holland said...

When you say that Rev. Gray's comment offends you almost as much as some comment you put into Michelle Bachmann's mouth, you really mean that Rev. Gray's comment doesn't offend you at all. I feel sorry for anyone that isn't offended by a member of the clergy casting aspersions on the faith and good will of an entire ethnic group.

While I strongly oppose Rep. Bachmann's politics, I don't have to resort to inventing imaginary reasons to do so, as you do. I find support for Israel to give Christ a landing pad completely absurd. I find equally absurd the idea that Israel should disappear because its very existence represents an act of theft.

I support peace in two states because that will do the most good for the most people. Can you understand that?


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