The Church of Norway is the very cradle of Israel hatred. Here you have it, black on white. It is a good thing the Church no longer represents official Norway, but is a mini special interests club of its own. However, it is still the largest religious organization in Norway (according to their own statistics, 77% of Norwegians were members in 2012) and their actions therefore speak for the majority of Norwegians, even if they only go to church twice in their lifetime. However, to refuse prayer for anybody, isn’t that a very un-Christian thing to do? Apparently the reason why the learned bishops are unable to support this initiative is that they would then be required to pray for the Palestinians as well!?
I don’t know about the bigwigs of the Church of Norway, but most Jews would support any prayer initiative that called for genuine peace and co-existence. Then again, the fundamental belief that you do unto others what you would wish for yourself, lies at the very heart of Judaism and Jewish values. The way these prelates choose to respond to a difficult searching of heart underscores how they merely have borrowed this slogan without understanding what it means.
lifted from Vårt Land
Bishops will not pray for Israel
Church leaders will not join a national prayer petition requesting that politicians should treat Israel kinder and that “the bond between mother, father and children” must be protected.
Published: August 14, jan.arild.holbek @ vl.no
The prayer “for greater a understanding of Israel’s position among the elected officials’ makes Church of Norway-bishops and Church Council leaders unable to support the petition “Prayer for elections 2013″(see summary of below).
– Are you going to pray for Israel, you also have to pray for Palestine, the Norwegian Church top leader, Svein Arne Lindo, told Vårt Land.
One-sided. – It is sad that a petition which in many ways has a commendable tone and excellent formulations, in a few points consist of one-sided passages. I cannot agree with the claim that Norwegian politicians do not to a sufficient degree consider Israel’s interests. And I can not support a prayer that the elections will provide “a stronger protection of the family and the bond between mother, father and children,” Atle Sommerfeldt, Church of Norway bishop in Borg, said.
Virtually the entire specter of Norwegian churches and organizational leaders support the National Prayer Council’s initiative. However, the leaders of the Church of Norway are conspicuously absent. .
Bishops and Church Council leader react to what they perceive as “too one-sided” and “concrete political ‘formulations.
– As a matter of principle I am unable to respond positively to the request on behalf of the Church of Norway, Helga Haugland Byfuglien, the Church of Norway Presiding Bishop, said.
The Presiding bishop disagrees. She also points out that some of the wording in the petition have a content that she personally is unable to support .
– Which wording?
– The prayer for Israel. I also interpret the section on “a stronger protection of the family and the bond between mother, father and children” as going in the direction of the debate about marriage laws and gay rights.
Jon Steinar Kjøllesdal, National Prayer Council coordinator, said that they have tried to make the wording prayer petition as inclusive and wide as possible. He is happy that many Christian leaders stand together in supporting this petition. Among the 19 that have so far signed the petition are Bishop Bernt Eidsvig of the Catholic Church, Sister Else-Britt Nilsen (elected leader of the Christian Council), Anne-Lise Søvde (CEO of the umbrella organization the Norwegian Council for Evangelism and Mission, Norme) and national leaders in numerous free church congregations and Lutheran organizations.
– Integral. – I think the petition is integral , which is important and good, says synod leader Arnfinn Løyning in the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church.
– I have no problems with the prayer “for greater understanding of Israel’s position among the elected officials” are included. Israel has come under pressure from so many directions that I think our politicians should get the challenge, adds Løyning.
– Generally, it is problematic when prayer petition is as specific as this. Because then you can easily come dangerously close to a political terrain which the church should be careful not to get into,the leader of the Church Council, Svein Arne Lindo says.
– Vote Green! In April, the Synod of the Norwegian Church adopted a decision which was understood as a call to church members to vote “green” at this year’s parliamentary elections.
The Synod challenged all church members “to let the consideration of a proper climate policy and work for global justice have considerable weight in the political choice.”
– How does it rhyme that the church can give advice on climate change policies, but not on a broader perspective like in this petition?
– As Christians, we will of course pray for elections. But this prayer petition is relatively specific and it goes into single political matters, which are both relevant and important. I personally support many of the items, but some are more difficult. To the extent that specific issues are formulated, they must be rooted in the decision of the Synod and church forums, if we are to support such a petition. We have no such decisions in a number of policy issues that are raised in this petition, says Lindo.
He said that the National Church Council will send the invitation to all churches in the Church of Norway to pray for the parliamentary elections in sermons before the election.
the National Prayer Council has made a call to prayer for the campaign and the election result as a number of Christian leaders have endorsed. The petition does not contain any suggestion to vote for specific parties.
From the contents:
“We pray that the election result promotes a true tolerance that ensures freedom of religion, and that we may have truth-seeking politicians with respect for God’s good will.”Under the heading “prayer requests for election results» ask you for choosing to give:
A stronger protection of life from conception to natural death, taking into account developments in biotechnology, a stronger protection of the family and the bond between mother, father and child and respect for Christian values in schools and communities.
Politicians with courage, wisdom and strength to preserve natural resources correctly and protect the Creation for future generations, work for a fair global distribution and fight against poverty.
A confrontation with all forms of racism and anti-Semitism, a greater understanding of Israel’s position among the elected officials and politicians who contribute to just and peaceful solutions to conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.
The petition encourages prayers that promote:
A sincere and respectful tone between the candidates.
That voters get a true picture of what each party stands for.
That Central Christian community values will fill the debates and focus prior to the election.