Background and Rationale for Tell Congress to Say No to Annexation
Background on the Issue
This action alert was provided by our partners at Churches for Middle East Peace.
To learn more about the current situation, what is prompting it, and how it will impact the daily lives of Palestinians and the prospect for peace, see CMEP’s Churches Against Annexation page.
CRCNA History, Positions, and Mandates
The Christian Reformed Church began to delve into the complicated issues of justice and peacebuilding in the Middle East after the recommendations of the 2006 Synodical Report on War and Peace. These spell out the role of the Christian Reformed Church - at the denominational, congregational, and individual levels - in affirming the gospel’s call to Christians to be agents of shalom in a broken world. While maintaining a Reformed commitment to Just War theory, the recommendations urge CRC members, churches, and agencies to actively participate in building peace at all levels of society, and include advocacy and participation in the political process as suggested means of supporting nonviolence and protecting human rights.
Shortly thereafter, a delegation from the CRC visited the Middle East. The study team was asked to provide a detailed report with particular attention to potential partnerships with Palestinian and/or Israeli Christian groups that would bring peace, reconciliation, and justice in this part of the world.
The Middle East Study Trip report concluded that “the major contribution the CRC can make as agencies, institutions, and individuals is to raise awareness of the plight of Palestinians—particularly our sisters and brothers in Christ—among our members and friends.” The Board of Trustees, on behalf of Synod, accepted this report and the recommendation that the OSJ provide resources and suggest steps for further action and advocacy on this issue.
This specific mandate on war and peace is one of the areas in which the CRC Office of Social Justice works out its 2011 general mandate to:
encourage and assist the CRCNA—its leaders, agencies, institutions, and members—to better “live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God” (Mic. 6:8). It focuses primarily on the systemic causes of poverty, hunger, and powerlessness, as well as those social injustices to which synod or the Board of Trustees (BOT) has directed it . . . raising the voice of the CRCNA in advocacy for and with those who suffer injustice, through action alerts to our members, participation in advocacy coalitions, and public statements when appropriate.
The CRC Office of Social Justice, rooted in our mandates from Synod and the recommendation of the CRC Middle East Study Trip Report, partners with other denominations through Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). As part of CMEP, we are able to share the gifts of the Christian Reformed Church, which include our commitment to the Reformed world and life view, expressed in our creeds and confessions.
Biblical / Reformed Grounding
Our World Belongs to God, a contemporary testimony of the CRCNA, issues the following call:
We call on all governments to do public justice
and to protect the rights and freedoms
of individuals, groups, and institutions
so that each may do their tasks.
We urge governments and pledge ourselves
to safeguard children and the elderly
from abuse and exploitation,
to bring justice to the poor and oppressed,
and to promote the freedom
to speak, work, worship, and associate.