Programme to Combat Racism

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The Programme to Combat Racism was a political programme of the World Council of Churches during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. It funded a number of liberation movements while those groups were involved in violent struggle, including UNITA and the MPLA in Angola; FRELIMO in Mozambique; SWAPO in South West Africa/Namibia; the Patriotic Front in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe; and the ANC and Pan Africanist Congress in South Africa. According to Rachel Tingle, between 1979 and 1991 the PCR gave a total of $9,749,500 to such groups.[1]

  • In 1970, Reader's Digest suggested that the PCR was contributing to fourteen groups involved in revolutionary guerrilla activities, some of which were Communist in ideology and receiving arms from the Soviet Union.[2]
  • In 1977 "The Fraudulent Gospel"[3] was published in the USA and Britain and carried a graphic photo on the front cover of 27 Black Rhodesians it said were "massacred by WCC-financed terrorists in Eastern Rhodesia in December 1976".
  • Donating $85,000 to the Patriotic Front of Zimbabwe (ZANU) in 1978, months after the group shot down an airliner, killing 38 of the 56 passengers on board. Members are reported to have killed 10 survivors (this was denied by the Front).[4]

This caused much controversy in the past among member churches. A Time Magazine article had the title "Going Beyond Charity: Should Christian cash be given to terrorists?”.[5] Further examination of WCC's political programme appeared in Amsterdam to Nairobi - The World Council of Churches and the Third World by Ernest W. Lefever.[6]

The Programme to Combat Racism was changed and concerns addressed through the “Special Commission[citation needed]

Further criticism was also been cited by the Christian right. In the U.S., important elements in such WCC member groups as the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese were upset.[citation needed]

Accusations of Anti-Zionism[edit]

The council has been described by Bat Yeʼor as taking anti-Zionist positions in connection with its criticisms of Israeli policy. He believes the council has focused disproportionately on activities and publications criticizing Israel in comparison with other human rights issues[7] The council members have been characterized by Israel's former Justice minister Amnon Rubinstein as anti-Zionist, saying "they just hate Israel."[8]

The World Council of Churches has rejected this accusation. In 2005, the General Secretary of the WCC, Samuel Kobia, stated that anti-Semitism is a "sin against God and man" and "absolutely irreconcilable with the profession and practice of the Christian faith," quoting from the first assembly of the WCC in Amsterdam in 1948.[9]


  1. ^ Tingle, Rachel (1992). Revolution or Reconciliation. Christian Studies Centre. pp. 240–241. ISBN 0 951372114. 
  2. ^ (Reader's Digest, October 1971)
  3. ^ By Bernard Smith; ISBN 0-89601-007-4.
  4. ^ Returning to Zimbabwe (1998-08-12)
  5. ^ (October 2, 1978)
  6. ^ (1979), Georgetown University, ISBN 0-89633-025-7
  7. ^ Yeʼor, Bat; Miriam Kochan; David Littman (2002). slam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 377. ISBN 978-0-8386-3942-9. Retrieved 2009-03-01. Of all the currents that run through the ... World Council of Churches, anti-Zionism is the most powerful... [T]he World Council of Churches [hasn't] officially condemned anti-Zionism as a criminal ideology advocating the elimination of the State of Israel. 
  8. ^ חדשות NRG - "הם פשוט שונאי ישראל"
  9. ^ WCC rejects anti-semitism accusations - news from ekklesia | Ekklesia