A conservative gadfly group has released a report asserting that mainline U.S. Protestant organizations criticize Israel for human rights practices more than they criticize any other foreign country. In response, mainline groups contested the methodology and conclusions of the report, issued by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
The IRD report said it examined official statements by mainline groups and found that 37 percent of all criticisms of human rights violations were directed against Israel, 32 percent against the U.S. and the remaining 31 percent against 20 other nations.
“Israel is certainly responsible for some human rights abuses, as are all nations,” said IRD President Diane Knippers in a statement. “But an extreme focus on Israel, while ignoring major human rights violators, seriously distorts the churches’ message on universal human rights.”
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).