A well-known pro-Palestinian activist and member of the Christian clergy has raised concern with Rev June Major’s hunger strike, accusing her of misconstruing her personal issues with the Anglican Diocese with her fight for the Palestinian cause. Reverend Edwin Arrison, a member of the National Coalition for Palestine (NC4P), was responding to claims that Christian leaders have failed Major in her quest for justice.
“I called her last week and wanted her to be quite sure that whatever she does, she does not mix an intra-church matter with the Palestinian cause. I did it because I saw on her Facebook post that she was mixing the two things. All of us as clergy, we face opposition from times within our congregation. In her particular case, she was given a hard time about her stance on Palestine. But in the Anglican church, we are not employed by a congregation but we are employed by something bigger called the ‘Diocese’,” Arrison said.
Major has embarked on the hunger strike in a bid to have the Anglican Bishop address her concerns on alleged abuse and the anti-Palestinian sentiment within the church. She says she was forced to resign from her post as she had brought the church into disrepute with her Palestinian solidarity activism over the years. For the past few months, she has been battling to get vetted papers which would allow her to relocate to Australia. The bishop is the only person that can give her these documents.
But Rev Arrison claims that Major was never asked by her Bishop to resign, instead she made the decision to resign.
“I want to correct some misconceptions that are out there. I think she has the right to protest but my own hope is that her issues gets sorted out as quick and amicably as possible,” Arrison concluded.
Major feels hurt and disappointed that her own church leaders have rejected her. In a diary post on Facebook on Friday, she said she has been cast aside by the clergy.
“An Anglican priest just left. She shouted at me in the presence of many witnesses. She said that I deserve to die and many other hateful words. I refused to go down to her level and insult back. I pray for her.”
The Anglican Diocese has refused to comment. VOC News has attempted to reach the Archbishop of Cape Town, but was unsuccessful.
VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)