Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Selective Righteous Anger

Why I have problems with "mainline" churches.

Eugene Volokh (UCLA law professor) has an interesting take on selective indignation.

My question as it relates to the Conclusion below is simple: Why are "mainline" churches making these decisions. Are they really suggesting (and are we really to believe) that human rights are worse in Tel Aviv than Damascus?

The mainline churches are not adequately addressing the wide range of human rights abuses taking place in the world. Denominations are focusing on the United States and Israel as the primary perpetrators of human rights violations. Great attention to the United States may be expected from churches that find their homes there. But the dramatic focus on Israel as opposed to many more repressive regimes, including other U.S. allies known for human rights abuses (such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt), must be challenged.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the churches made the mistake of supporting oppressive Soviet-sponsored liberation movements around the world. They largely ignored human rights abuses in the Soviet Union and its satellite states, instead focusing on U.S. policy as the primary source of abuse. It appears that mainline denominations may be making the same mistake today with the Arab and Muslim worlds, ignoring many of the most serious abuses while apparently laying heavy blame upon the United States and Israel not only for their own lesser abuses, but also for the abuses of others. . . .