Board of Bishops Issue Statement on the Plight of the Palestinian People
February 18, 2019
"He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? " - Micah 6:8 NRSV
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, known as the "The Freedom Church" for more than 220 years, is reminded by one of our great prophetic leaders, Frederick Douglass, "Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe."
We cherish the stands for justice and in opposition to racism and anti-semitism that the AME Zion Church and the Jewish community have shared over the years. Ours is a kindred spirit of peoples who have overcome historic oppression, enslavement, and holocaust, and we, both Jews and African Americans, continue to face discrimination in varied, systemic forms. We have and continue to forcefully defend Israel's right to a safe, secured, and peaceful existence. We also condemn terrorism and terrorist tactics wherever the source.
As The Freedom Church, however, we are compelled to add our voices to the many that support a viable and democratic independent Palestinian State, living in peace and security alongside Israel. Our spirits grieve the daily hardships and humiliations the Palestinian people continue to endure. We share the concerns of Palestinians and the majority of other nations who protest the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and we call upon the Israeli government to comply with the UN resolutions concerning settlements. Without equivocation, we are in support of human rights for all people including both Palestinians and Israelis and their respective rights to self-determination.
Consequently, we denounce the Trump administration for their adjudication of declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel without simultaneously negotiating the legitimate claims of the Palestinian people on land rights. Our Christian brothers and sisters in Jerusalem, including Patriarch Theophilos, and the Heads of Jerusalem's major churches, are expressing grave concerns about policies of the current Israeli government that jeopardize the right of Christian Churches to manage their own properties. Additionally, the current administration made the consequential decision to close the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem that had served as a diplomatic point of engagement for and with Palestinians.
In a reversal of US policy sustained by every president, Republican and Democrat, for 70 years, the Trump Administration has announced that it will no longer fund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). In doing so, the most vulnerable Palestinians will suffer even greater tragedies.
Jesus Christ, a Jewish male born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, was baptized in the Jordan River, proclaimed Good News for the oppressed, the poor, and those held in captivity. In the prophetic tradition of ancient Israel, who required all people of faith to welcome the stranger, to work for justice, and to have compassion for the poor, The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, The Freedom Church, affirms our solidarity with oppressed people. We call upon our members around the world to pray, to speak out, to protest, and to use any peaceful means they deem prudent to call for justice for the Palestinian people.
For the cause of Justice, Liberty, and Truth, we are;
The Board of Bishops of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
The Right Reverend George E. Battle, Jr. - Senior Bishop
The Right Reverend W. Darin Moore - President
The Right Reverend Kenneth Monroe
The Right Reverend Darryl B. Starnes, Sr.
The Right Reverend Dennis V. Proctor
The Right Reverend Mildred B. Hines
The Right Reverend Seth O. Lartey
The Right Reverend Michael A. Frencher
The Right Reverend Staccato Powell
The Right Reverend George D. Crenshaw
The Right Reverend Hilliard Dogbe
The Right Reverend Uduak Effiong
The Right Reverend Joseph Johnson (Retired)
The Right Reverend Marshall H. Strickland (Retired)
The Right Reverend Nathaniel Jarrett (Retired)
The Right Reverend George W. C. Walker, Sr. (Retired)
The Right Reverend S. Chuka Ekemam (Retired)
The Right Reverend Warren M. Brown (Retired)
The Right Reverend Louis Hunter, Sr. (Retired)