Baptist Church in Bethlehem Declared Illegitimate By Palestinian Authority

By Joseph DeCaro, Correspondent

, (Worthy News)– Only a week after Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told a conference of evangelical that his government respected the rights of minorities, his fellow Palestinian officials told Pastor Naim Khoury that his could no longer operate as a religious institution under the .

This latest “bombshell” dropped on Bethlehem’s First Baptist by the PA proved to be more destructive than all the bomb attacks it endured during the First .

“They said that our legitimacy as a church from a governmental point of view is not approved,” said Khoury’s son Steven, an assistant pastor at First Baptist. “They said they will not recognize any legal paperwork from our church: that includes birth certificates, wedding certificates and death certificates. Children are not even considered to be legitimate if they don’t have recognized paperwork.”

The PA’s announcement comes after the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference in which about 600 evangelical Protestants from around the globe gathered to discuss Christian Zionism, a theology some claim adds to the violence in the Middle East by giving credence to Israeli policies.

During the conference’s opening ceremony, Minister Fayyad told the assembly that his government respected the rights of Christians; he said they all celebrate the same religious holidays and that PA officials even attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

Further, Fayyad assured them that the PA respects all holy places and it will allow unfettered access to them in the areas under its control.

However, Khoury said First Baptist’s message of reconciliation between Arabs and Jews conflicts with the hatefull messages sponsored by the PA: clerics routinely broadcast anti-Semitic rants on PA TV while “peace activists” turn sections of Bethlehem’s barriers into billboards for their fatalistic jihadist propaganda.

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