The ELCA released the following March 14:
"Addressing recent efforts in Jerusalem to confiscate church lands and tax church properties, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), along with leaders from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Armenian Church of America and The Episcopal Church have sent a letter of support to the heads of churches at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
In addition to Eaton, the letter was signed by His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, ecumenical director and legate, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern); and the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate, The Episcopal Church.
The letter expressed 'fervent solidarity with you, your churches and the entire Christian community in the Holy Land as you face repeated challenges to the Status Quo that ensures a Christian presence in this most holy of places.'
The four church leaders also sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat expressing concern about the recent proposals and tax plans.
The letter states, 'If enacted, these measures would have the effect of creating a situation that jeopardizes the very survival of the Christian community in the Holy Land.'"
The Status Quo refers to a group of understandings among the parties of the Middle East which have made it possible for the people in this area to live in relative peace for decades.
Partly because of the unilateral decision of President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the American embassy there, other parts of the Status Quo are now being challenged. Because it was the American president who made the decision, American church leaders are having to get involved in issues they have not had to address in recent decades.
This is another example of how political changes in the United States in the last couple years have forced American church leaders, including parish pastors and priests, to spend more time and effort on issues of public policy and have less time and energy for traditional church activities.