When Vice President Pence visits the Old City of Jerusalem later this month, he won’t find himself greeted as a conquering hero, or even the emissary of the conquering hero.
The official custodian of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is refusing to meet him.
“It has come to our attention that Vice President Pence intends to make an official visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and asked me to receive him officially,” Adeeb Joudeh, who is responsible for the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, wrote in a letter on Wednesday, according to Israel’s Channel 2 News.
“I absolutely refuse to officially welcome the American Vice President Mr. Mike Pence at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and I will not be physically in church during his visit,” he continued.
“This is an expression of my condemnation of President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
First, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Always has been. Always will be.
Second, I’m going to assume this guy wasn’t given the job as official custodian because he’s such a fine Christian.
I mean, seriously:
Proverbs 19:11 NIV – “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
If this guy has a problem with the U.S. calling Jerusalem [rightfully] the capital of Israel, then he can write a letter, or start a petition, but to be rude to a fellow Christian and visitor is not protest. Nor is it Christian.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is in the Christian Quarter of the city and is believed to be the site where Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected.
Officials from the church commented on the custodian’s letter:
“We didn’t receive any formal or informal request and if there is a request, there is a status quo procedure to respect involving the three communities. Anyway it is not up to one of the key keepers to decide anything about this kind of issue,” a church official said, according to The Times of Israel.
A senior church official told the publication that no visit had been planned.
This custodian wasn’t the only one to express his dissatisfaction.
The leader of Egypt’s Coptic Christian Church said last week he will not meet with Pence, saying Trump’s decision came “at an unsuitable time and without consideration for the feelings of millions of people.”
I don’t know how many Christians don’t get that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, but apparently, some more Bible reading time is in order.
Some of the blowback from Christian churches in the region may be based in fear.
While the U.S. will have to hear about the decision, Christians in the Middle East will have to live with the decision, as protesters and anti-Christian advocates will take out their anger on them and their churches.
The problem stems from the Palestinians’ desire to chop up the city and take East Jerusalem as their future capital.
Since President Trump made his announcement about moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it has sparked unrest in the region.