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Presbyterian Attitudes on Peace, War, and Israel

[Material reported here could be viewed originally at the following links: link1, link2.]

The Presbyterian Church undertakes periodic, formal opinion surveys of members and clergy on a variety of topics. Attitudes toward war, peace, and the appropriateness of Church involvement in foreign policy were undertaken in 1995 and, again, in the spring of 2002.

Perhaps the most interesting finding is that Israel did not even appear in the summary of the 1995 survey -- although six other international hot spots did. We might assume that because Israel is the land of Jesus, or because of the Presbyterian role in nineteenth century missionary work in the Levant and the founding of the American University, Israel would be on any Presbyterian list of peacemaking concerns. Not so.

Between 1995 and 2004 some group within this church must have worked very hard to bring Israel from a position where it was not even a topic of interest, to a point where it dominated "peacemaking" at the General Assembly. In 2002 Israel appears in three different questions in the survey. Only three other nations are ever mentioned by name. Colombia and Egypt once each, Russia twice -- in questions relating to nuclear arms.

Interesting Tidbits

The May 2002 Survey

Peacemaking, International Conflict, and Related Issues

Middle East

Foreign Military Aid

The November 1995 Survey


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