Evangelical Lutheran Vote Update

Delegates of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), meeting in Orlando this past week, passed an anti-Israel resolution titled “Peace Not Walls: Stand for Justice in the Holy Land.” The delegates were attending the Churchwide Assembly, ELCA’s chief legislative authority.

In anticipation of the vote, CAMERA sponsored an advertisement in USA Today (the newspaper given to guests at the hotel which hosted the Assembly) calling on delegates to oppose the resolution on the grounds that it was based on materially inaccurate and biased information.

Earlier CAMERA had been in touch with ELCA concerning similarly biased and inaccurate anti-Israel articles in the church’s magazine.

While in the end an amended version of the resolution passed by a vote of 668 to 269, many delegates and lay members of the church seemed unhappy with the proceedings.

According to an article in The Weekly Standard by an ELCA member, the fact that as many as 269 delegates voted against the resolution “suggested that many rank and file church members were rebelling against the national organization’s fait accompli.”

(The Weekly Standard article, by John Hinderaker, also cited CAMERA’s work in debunking many of ELCA’s anti-Israel allegations.)

Further evidence for delegates’ unhappiness with the anti-Israel vote was a proposed amendment that garnered significant support (it was defeated 565 – 369) calling for the title of the resolution to omit the phrase “Peace Not Walls.” Don Lamprecht, a voting member of the Alaska Synod, spoke in favor of this change on the grounds that it would be “more neutral” and “less inflammatory.”

Another amendment, which passed 571– 335, changed the resolution from saying that Israel’s “separation wall or barrier would undermine efforts toward a credible two-state solution” to read that it “may undermine…”

Most importantly, a motion presented the next day urging the Assembly to reconsider its favorable vote on “Peace Not Walls: Stand for Justice in the Holy Land” was narrowly voted down by 451 – 376, suggesting only tepid support for the anti-Israel resolution.

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