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Statement of The A.M.E. Zion Church Board of Bishops on the Hamas Attacks and the War in Israel and Palestine


"The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness, and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” (Isaiah 32: 17,18 NRSVue)

The A.M.E. Zion Church, “The Freedom Church” joins with our sisters and brothers in Israel and Palestine to lament the violence that is devastating the lives of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian men, women, and children. The slaughter of innocent lives at a Festival of Peace and Love in Israel on October 7, 2023, was evil and must be condemned. There is no justification for the murdering of children, the elderly, and innocent civilians, whether they be Israeli or Palestinian. All hostages, including our fellow American citizens, must be treated humanely and released as soon as possible.

Some argue that it is too soon to address the existing systemic injustices that have fueled the cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine, suggesting that it may lead to a false moral equivalency between resistance and terrorism, between self-defense and brutal, hate-driven attacks. We disagree. Two truths can be held simultaneously. Persons of moral clarity can fiercely condemn acts of terrorism by Hamas while also speaking out against the collective punishment of the people of Gaza and the life-threatening conditions imposed upon the Palestinian population. Israeli and Palestinian lives are of equal value, and each of their lives matter.

We must reject hate in whatever form it manifests itself. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. correctly stated, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Our prayers are offered for all of those directly impacted by the death of loved ones and the thousands who have been and will be injured in body and spirit, physically and emotionally. We agonize with the families of those held hostage and are deeply concerned by the displacement of more than a million Palestinians who have been cut off from most water, food, and electricity.

The A.M.E. Zion Church has been calling for justice for the Palestinian people for decades. We had earnestly hoped for a two-state solution allowing the people of both Palestine and Israel to live and prosper freely and securely side by side. Although such a resolution seems further away now than ever, we refuse to surrender to ultimate despair. Both Israeli and Palestinian children deserve a future of freedom, security, and economic opportunity. The failure to work toward peace will inevitably continue this vicious cycle of oppression, destruction, and death.

As the Israeli government executes its war on Hamas, we forcefully remind them that Hamas is not the Palestinian people. As our partners in freedom and justice protest on behalf of the Palestinian people, we strongly caution that our righteous demands not be highjacked by those who would wantonly kill babies.

To all our beloved Jewish, Muslim, and Christian sisters and brothers, along with others of goodwill, may we strengthen our resolve, deepen our unity, pray for justice and peace, and recommit to act together against hatred, racism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia.

May the lives of all people and the memories of all the victims ever be a blessing. Precious Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers!

The Board of Bishops of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church - The Freedom Church:

Bishop Michael A. Frencher Sr., President of the Board of Bishops
Bishop Kenneth Monroe, Senior Bishop
Bishop Darryl B. Starnes, Sr.,
Bishop Dennis V. Proctor
Bishop Mildred B. Hines (Deceased)
Bishop W. Darin Moore
Bishop Seth O. Lartey
Bishop George D. Crenshaw
Bishop Hilliard Dogbe
Bishop Uduak Effiong
Bishop Brian R. Thompson, Sr.
Bishop Eric Leake
Bishop Joseph Johnson, Retired
Bishop Marshall H. Strickland, Retired
Bishop Nathaniel Jarrett, Jr., Retired
Bishop George W.C. Walker, Sr., Retired
Bishop Samuel Chuka Ekemam, Sr., Retired
Bishop Warren Matthew Brown, Retired
Bishop George Edward Battle, Jr., Retired

Done this the 17th Day of October 2023

Israel, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, The A.M.E. Zion Church, The Board of Bishops


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