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The Programme to Combat Racism was a controversial political action movement of the World Council of Churches during the 1970s. It funded a number of humanitarian programs of liberation movements while those groups were involved in violent struggle, examples include:

  • In 1970, Reader's Digest suggested that the PCR was contributing to fourteen groups involved in revolutionary guerrilla activities, some of which were Communist in ideology and receiving arms from the Soviet Union.[1]
  • In 1977 "The Fraudulent Gospel"[2] was published in the USA and Britain and carried a graphic photo on the front cover of 27 Black Rhodesians it said were "massacred by WCC-financed terrorists in Eastern Rhodesia in December 1976".
  • Donating $85,000 to the Patriotic Front of Zimbabwe (ZANU) in 1978, months after the group shot down an airliner, killing 38 of the 56 passengers on board. Members are reported to have killed 10 survivors (this was denied by the Front).[3]

This caused much controversy in the past among member churches. A Time Magazine article had the title "Going Beyond Charity: Should Christian cash be given to terrorists?”.[4] Further examination of WCC's political programme appeared in Amsterdam to Nairobi - The World Council of Churches and the Third World by Ernest W. Lefever.[5]

As a member based organization, the WCC has needed to address the concerns raised by member churches and has done so. The Programme to Combat Racism has been changed and Orthodox concerns have been and are being addressed through the “Special Commission”.

Further criticism has also been cited by the Christian right. In the U.S., important elements in such WCC member groups as the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese were upset.

Accusations of Anti-Zionism

The council has been described by some[who?] as taking anti-Zionist positions in connection with its criticisms of Israeli policy. They believe the council has focused disproportionately on activities and publications criticizing Israel in comparison with other human rights issues[who?].[6] The council members have been characterized by Israel's former Justice minister Amnon Rubinstein as anti-Zionist, saying "they just hate Israel."[7]

The World Council of Churches has rejected this accusation. In 2005, the General Secretary of the WCC, Samuel Kobia, stated that anti-Semitism is a "sin against God and man" and "absolutely irreconcilable with the profession and practice of the Christian faith," quoting from the first assembly of the WCC in Amsterdam in 1948.[8]

References

  1. (Reader's Digest, October 1971)
  2. By Bernard Smith; ISBN 0-89601-007-4.
  3. Returning to Zimbabwe (1998-08-12)
  4. (October 2, 1978)
  5. (1979), Georgetown University, ISBN 0-89633-025-7
  6. Yeʼor, Bat; Miriam Kochan, David Littman (2002). slam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. pp. 377. ISBN 9780838639429. http://books.google.com/books?id=n4kTdYgwQPkC&pg=PA377&lpg=PA377&dq=~%22anti-zionism%22+(WCC+OR+%22world+council+of+churches%22)&source=bl&ots=Q_WG1KtOY0&sig=iS_o5XpD7rja_AbjooRO3a9zQDs&hl=en&ei=_KqrSff1CNKgtwee8IjgDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result. Retrieved 2009-03-01. "Of all the currents that run through the ... World Council of Churches, anti-Zionism is the most powerful... [T]he World Council of Churches [hasn't] officially condemned anti-Zionism as a criminal ideology advocating the elimination of the State of Israel."
  7. חדשות NRG - "הם פשוט שונאי ישראל"
  8. WCC rejects anti-semitism accusations - news from ekklesia | Ekklesia
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