"LOUISVILLE – Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) officials, including the denomination’s United Nations representative, were part of a delegation of Christian and Muslim leaders who met Sept. 20 with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.It seems the Presbyterian Church learned an important lesson from the embarrassment a couple years ago, when a delegation representing our denomination was hosted by Hezbollah. A leader of that delegation was quoted in the press as praising Hezbollah:
“We did not want to miss this opportunity to give witness to the Presbyterian Church’s support of Israel and to reject the false and disturbing rhetoric of Holocaust denial used in the past by President Ahmadinejad,” Hanisek said. “A meeting of this nature is challenging, but is a necessary step towards being the reconciling community that Christ calls us to be.”
"We treasure the precious words of Hezbollah and your expression of goodwill toward the American people. Also we praise your initiative for dialogue and mutual understanding. We cherish these statements that bring us closer to you. As an elder of our church, I'd like to say that according to my recent experience, relations and conversations with Islamic leaders are a lot easier than dealings and dialogue with Jewish leaders."This prompted the General Assembly Stated Clerk, the Executive Director of General Assembly Council, and the Moderator of the General Assembly to issue a statement repudiating the actions of the delegation.
In this visit with the Iranian president, our representatives on the delegation seem to have found the moral courage to make it clear to Ahmadinejad that the PC(USA) not only supports Israel, but further, that holocaust denial and expressing a desire to see Israel "wiped off the map" is unacceptible to the world and religious communities.
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