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NEWS: Arson Threat Has Presbyterian Churches Around the Country on High Alert

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posted on Nov, 14 2004 @ 12:44 PM
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.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

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 community-at-large.

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[edit on 04/11/14 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Nov, 14 2004 @ 06:52 PM
I don't know why, but it really feels to me like this could be a threat covertly written by an "anti-zionist" in an attempt to bring tensions between these two religious groups to the breaking point. I guess I say that because I've read inflammatory letters written by so-called Jews on sites like Rense all the time.

On the other hand, it is entirely possible that a Jewish person went crazy & wrote this threat--there are Jewish extremists just like there are extremists of every other stripe and religion.

I would be very interested to see if the source of these threats are ever verified. I would expect to see the letter coming from a heavily-Jewish borough like Brooklyn rather than Queens, which tends to be more conservative overall--and has KKK-type organizations in certain areas that display hateful flyers & other such business.

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