Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Episcopal Bishops plead for Diocese of Washington to cancel Khatmai event, says former leader is "dedicated to the elmination of the State of Israel"
STATEMENT OF OPPOSITION TO THE SCHEDULED SPEECH BY FORMER IRANIAN PRESIDENT KHATAMI AT THE WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL BY BISHOPS LIPSCOMB, LITTLE, AND WOLF
As bishops of the Episcopal Church committed to the ministry of reconciliation and to on-going dialogue between faith communities, we protest the scheduled speech of the former President of Iran, Muhammed Khatami, at the Washington National Cathedral on September 7, 2006.
Mr. Khatami’s actions do not support the goal of reconciliation for which our Church has so fervently prayed and worked. During Mr. Khatami’s term of office, women continued to be marginalized, and homosexual persons were executed (two gay youths were hanged on July 19, 2005). Mr. Khatami’s dedication to the elimination of the State of Israel is clear. In 2000, he said, “We should mobilize the whole Islamic world for a sharp confrontation with the Zionist regime.” And again, “If we abide by the Koran, all of us should be mobilized to kill.” Mr. Khatami has not renounced either Iran’s nuclear ambitions or the virulent anti-Semitism of the current regime, known for its Holocaust denial and call for the destruction of the State of Israel. His presence at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul will further compromise our relationship with the Jewish community, and further reveal our shallow understanding of the complexities of the tragedy in the Middle East. His presence at the Cathedral will highlight as well our Church’s blatant disregard of Iran’s dismal human rights record and its failure to live as a responsible member of the community of nations. Iran is a threat not only to our own nation, but to world peace itself.
We are grateful for the National Cathedral’s commitment to diversity and transformative conversation. However, without the inclusion of those with differing perspectives, this event is an inappropriate expression of that commitment, and does not further our ability as a Church to foster reconciliation in a divided world. We plead with the leadership of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, while there is still time, to cancel this ill-conceived and inappropriate expression of the aspirations of our Church.
The Rt. Rev. John B. Lipscomb, Bishop of Southwest Florida
The Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little II, Bishop of Northern Indiana
The Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, Bishop of Rhode Island
Tip of the tinfoil hat to Brad Drell and TitusOneNine. TLC article here: http://www.livingchurch.org/publishertlc/viewarticle.asp?ID=2463