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NCC General Secretary Responds to IRD Report on Human Rights Advocacy

Statement by the Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar
General Secretary, National Council of Churches
September 27, 2004

 The Institute of Religion and Democracy’s report titled “Human Rights Advocacy in the Mainline Protestant Churches 2000-2003,” released today (Sept. 27), addresses the important matter of human rights in a fatally flawed way.

The report assumes that all that the National Council of Churches USA does or says about human rights gets reported out in resolutions and news releases.  It ignores the NCC’s sound, comprehensive policy base on human rights, especially the foundational “Human Rights” policy adopted by the Council’s highest governing body in December 1963, and that body’s November 1995 reaffirmation and expansion of that policy, “Human Rights: The Fulfillment of Life in the Social Order.”

In truth, the ideologically conservative IRD cannot claim to have produced an objective report, having among other things used another ideologically conservative group, Freedom House, as its barometer on human rights.

The NCC naturally addresses many public statements to the government of the United States out of concern about how our own country behaves as a global citizen. 

The most unfortunate part of the IRD’s report is its apparent attempt to hurt Jewish-Christian relations by quite blatantly planting seeds of suspicion that the mainline churches are anti-Semitic.  The IRD wrongly and dangerously equates any criticism of the government of Israel and its policies with anti-Semitism. 

The NCC seeks justice for all people in the Middle East.  It is working for justice in the land where our Savior walked and where our Christian brothers and sisters, along with Jews and Muslims, are crying out for justice. The NCC grieves all loss of life, including Palestinians and Israelis, and has said so. 

We regret the IRD’s attempt to play partisan, secular politics with important matters of Christian faith and ministry. 

-end-

Related Links:

10/14/04 NCC News Release:  NCC’s Edgar Blasts U.S. News & World Report For ‘Smear’ of Protestant Churches’ Activism

9/27/04 News Release from The Episcopal Church: Shea says IRD report uses 'flawed  methodology'

8/2/04 Report from Media Transparency: The Money Behind the Media: Church & Scaife: Secular Conservative Philanthropies waging unethical campaign to take over United Methodist Church

1/2004 Zion's Herald Special Report: “Follow the Money” Documenting the Right's Well-Heeled Assault on the UMC

NCC Media Contact: Carol Fouke, 212-870-2252; cfouke@ncccusa.org


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