What Protestants Could Learn from Ron Paul
When the gavel fell on the Episcopalian convention, July 10, three major U.S. Protestant denominations had formally ended their 2012 discussions on how much religious support they were willing to give Palestinians under occupation.
The most charitable answer for all three gatherings is, not much.
Judging by the degree of hostility stirred up inside the Zionist opposition, the Presbyterians and United Methodists, took the most advanced pro-justice positions in the Sturm und Drang religious political struggles.
The last of the three to meet, the Episcopal Church, ran pretty much in place, sticking with investment over divestment. According to the Episcopal News Service, the Episcopalian “House of Bishops, concurring with deputies, have overwhelmingly supported a resolution on positive investment in the Palestinian Territories”.
The Episcopalians also “agreed to postpone indefinitely the conversation on corporate engagement,” hardly a prophetic call to arms against injustice.
Indeed, all three denominations have come very close to invoking the divine thunderbolt promised in Revelation 3:16, an action best left in divine hands.
Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, before the church gatherings even began, there had been action on the secular political front. No surprises there, either.
The U.S. House of Representatives, with very little disagreement and virtually no media attention, embraced with great fervor, U.S. House Bill 4133.
When the votes were cast on HR 4133, Texas Congressman Ron Paul (pictured above) voted against it. In fact, Paul cast one of only two negative votes against the bill, blandly entitled, “the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act”.
The second negative vote in the House against the bill, came from Congressman Paul Dingell, who is a Democrat from Michigan.
Ron Paul is a Libertarian and a Republican. As a Libertarian, he is an avid supporter of minimalist government. But on the matter that has recently engaged the churches, Ron Paul is a rare voice of reason in the U.S. House, from which, alas, he is retiring in January, 2013.
In a depressing contrast to Congressman Ron Paul, with their lukewarm response to the Kairos Document, a passionate plea for justice from Palestinian Christian Church leaders, the three major U.S. Protestant churches literally turned their collective backs to Palestinians under occupation.
Ron Paul did not turn his back on the Palestinians. He knows injustice when he sees it. In his speech on the floor of the House, on May 9, just before the House voted on HR 4133, Congressman Paul said:
The bill calls for the United States to significantly increase our provision of sophisticated weaponry to Israel, and states that it is to be US policy to “help Israel preserve its qualitative military edge” in the region.
While I absolutely believe that Israel – and any other nation — should be free to determine for itself what is necessary for its national security, I do not believe that those decisions should be underwritten by US taxpayers and backed up by the US military.
Concluding his House speech, which he delivered with the passion of a prophet, Paul said:
More than 20 years after the reason for NATO’s existence – the Warsaw Pact – has disappeared, this legislation seeks to find a new mission for that anachronistic alliance: the defense of Israel. Calling for “an expanded role for Israel within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including an enhanced presence at NATO headquarters and exercises,” it reads like a dream for interventionists and the military industrial complex. As I have said many times, NATO should be disbanded not expanded.
This bill will not help the United States, it will not help Israel, and it will not help the Middle East. It will implicitly authorize much more US interventionism in the region at a time when we cannot afford the foreign commitments we already have. It more likely will lead to war against Syria, Iran, or both. I urge my colleagues to vote against this bill.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) reportedly helped draft the bill, and its co-sponsors include Republicans Eric Cantor and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democrats Howard Berman and Steny Hoyer. Hoyer is the Democratic whip in the House of Representatives, where Cantor is majority leader. Ros-Lehtinen heads the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The House bill basically provides Israel with a blank check drawn on the U.S. taxpayer to maintain its “qualitative military edge” over all of its neighbors combined. It requires the White House to prepare an annual report on how that superiority is being maintained.
The resolution passed on May 9 by a vote of 411–2 on a “suspension of the rules,” which is intended for non-controversial legislation requiring little debate and a quick vote.
Giraldi, an authority on international security and counterterrorism issues, and a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer, described the impact of H 3311:
It is interesting to note what exactly the bill pledges the American people to do on behalf of Israel.
It obligates the United States to veto resolutions critical of Israel, to provide such military support “as is necessary,” to pay for the building of an anti-missile system, to provide advanced “defense” equipment (including refueling tankers, which are offensive), to give Israel special munitions (i.e., bunker-busters, which are also offensive), to forward deploy more U.S. military equipment to Israel, to offer the Israeli air force more training and facilities in the U.S., to increase security- and advanced-technology-program cooperation, and to extend loan guarantees and expand intelligence-sharing (including highly sensitive satellite imagery).
The bill gives Israel carte blanche to do its will with Iran, which is, of course, the reason for the bill’s introduction at this point.
Several pro-Israel web blogs, including Israpundit, shared this analysis which embraces HR 4311:
Nine members did not vote for the bill, but simply voted ‘PRESENT,” including Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), André Carson (D-IN), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Walter Jones (R-NC), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Pete Stark (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).
Israpundit added this description of the House member who did not vote to embrace the bill:
All but one of the eleven representatives who made a point of not voting for the bill are aligned with the extremist, far-left, pro-Arab ‘J-Street.’ ZOA [Zionists of America] is distressed and disappointed that according to Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon, J-Street itself remained “neutral” on the bill, and declined an opportunity to comment further on this matter.
Philip Giraldi concludes his examination of the passage of HR 4311, with this ominous warning:
If historians 100 years from now seek to explain how a great power committed seemingly intentional national suicide, they will have to look no further than the voting record of the U.S. Congress.
The same historians may also wonder, where were the churches while the United States government was financing and thereby, embracing, the Zionist ideology of a foreign power?
Filed under: Episcopal Church, Middle East, Middle East Politics, Politics in Religion, Presbyterian Church USA, Religion and politics, Religious Faith, United Methodist Church | 20 Comments