An official publishing house of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has released a book denying al-Qaeda was behind the World Trade Center and other terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Westminster/John Knox Press has released a controversial book titled "Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11:  A Call to Reflection and Action." In the book, author David Ray Griffin claims the terrorist attacks on U.S. targets that day were carried out by the Bush administration to justify going to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The author's past work has reportedly inspired the teachings of University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Kevin Barrett, who also claims 9/11 was an inside job. But Jack Adams, editor of the conservative magazine Presbyterian Layman, says he seriously doubts many Presbyterians will embrace Griffin's book.

"The majority of the members of the Presbyterian Church are members of the Republican Party," Adams points out. "Now, I'm not holding that up as a good example of what the church ought to be comprised of, but that's a fact," he says, "so I would assume that many in the Republican Party might be very supportive of the policies of George Bush."

For that reason, the Presbyterian Layman's editor says he would expect that, as far as PC(USA) members are concerned, "this kind of attack on Bush and his administration would not play well within the pews." And nor, he surmises, would some of the writer's other ideas.

Griffin, a professor at Claremont School of Theology in California, is a proponent of liberation theology, Adams points out – a philosophy understood by many conservative Christians as one of taking the side of the lesser party regardless of what that party's relationship with God is. But even though some of the author's views may disturb many Presbyterians, the editor contends, they are not inconsistent with what leaders of the denomination have said in the past.

The PC(USA)'s Stated Clerk and Robert Edgar of the National Council of Churches issued a joint statement at the outset of the Iraq war, accusing the Bush administration of war crimes, Adams notes. And that is only one example the Presbyterian magazine editor cites of the denomination's leadership being out of step with its largely conservative membership.

"It was in 2004 that [the PC(USA)] General Assembly passed a resolution calling for divestment of Presbyterian holdings in all corporations that do business in Israel," Adams recalls. "They modified that statement this year after a tremendous outcry from the pews and from Christian and Jewish organizations," he says, "and I expect we're going to have some of that same response to the decision to publish the book by Griffin."

The publisher of Griffin's book, Adams suggests, may be similarly out of step with mainstream Presbyterians' predominantly conservative values. He says Westminster/John Knox Press has published a number of books promoting homosexual behavior.


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