Presbyterian congregations around the US are on high alert after several congregations have been threatened with arson while church members are
inside. These threats seem to arise from a strained situation between the Jewish and Presbyterian communities after the Presbyterian Church announced
that it would divest from businesses that are involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Some of the congregations have made it
clear that they do not support the Churches position. The FBI is investigating this matter as a terrorist threat.
Arson threat has Presbyterian churches around the country on high alert
November 14, 2004 —
An arson threat was delivered to the Kentucky headquarters of America's Presbyterian Church. Now churches across the country
are on high alert.
Parishioners at Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago are going to receive an unwelcome message today. The pastor will use his sermon to
inform the congregation of a threat that was received by the Presbyterian headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky late Friday.
The handwritten letter was delivered anonymously and had a Queens, New York postmark. The letter promised arson against Presbyterian churches
nationwide in retaliation for their "anti-Israel and anti-Jewish attitudes." The threat had a November 15 deadline.
Relations between Jews and Presbyterians have been somewhat strained, especially after last June when the Presbyterian Church committee announced it
would divest itself of its holdings and companies that support the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Pastor John Buchanan at the Fourth Presbyterian Church addressed the letters, saying they were concerned, of course, and he hopes this will not strain
relations between Presbyterians and Jews in Chicago.
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In part, the letter reads:
“I promise violence against Presbyterian Churches — They will go up in flames, bet your [profanity deleted]
that’s a terrorist threat....”
Since the Presbyterian Church has issued its decision the Jewish community has considered this to be a slap in the face and some fear that decision
might have a domino effect throughout the mainstream Protestant communities, raising tensions between Jews and Protestants even higher.
The Presbyterian Church used divestment in an effort to end apartheid in South Africa. The Jews view the decision as tantamount to a boycott and the
Jewish community has historically been on the wrong end of enough boycotts to take such action as a threat.
Church leaders have expressed the belief that the letter comes from a lone extremist and does not express the views of the Jewish
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[edit on 04/11/14 by GradyPhilpott]