The UCC’s 2011 resolution lamented that “Mr. López Rivera has watched from behind bars as his daughter and grand-daughter have grown up without him.” How sad. But the resolution doesn’t mention the victims of the FALN’s bombings, whose spouses and children have endured over 35 years of anguish over their loved ones’ needless deaths thanks to the FALN’s pointless fanaticism. The FALN’s worst atrocity was the 1975 bombing of the historic Fraunces Tavern in New York, where 4 were killed. Another man was killed in a 1977 New York bombing. Across several years at least 80 others were injured by FALN bombs, including a New York police officer who lost his eye in 1974.
After I first wrote about church support for the FALN terrorists in the 1990’s, the young adult son of one of their victims phoned me, distressed over continued sympathy for his father’s killers. His children will never know their grandfather, thanks to López Rivera. And since López Rivera has no regrets over his terrorism, his granddaughter is almost certainly better off not knowing him.
In 1995 I had exposed the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society’s effusive endorsement of the FALN prisoners in 1995, declaring they had “taken up arms against the colonizer” and were comparable to “American patriots” of the Revolution. The Methodist agency even likened them to the Apostles Peter and Paul, who also were imprisoned, noting “some of our greatest spiritual heroes spent time in jail for political reasons.
Church supporters of the terrorists sickeningly cite Bible passages about visiting prisoners. But Scripture doesn’t call for endorsing the murderous crimes of guilty prisoners. Truly Christian visits to prison would seek repentance. But the Religious Left across the decades has sometimes tragically prioritized radical politics, even when violent, over reconciliation with God.
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