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    United Methodists of Upper New YorkLiving the Gospel. Being God's Love.

    news article

    What is the Doctrine of Discovery: an anti-Christian theology of “chosenness”

    April 17, 2023 / By UNY Taskforce for Palestine-Israel

    The Papal Bull "Inter Caetera," issued by Pope Alexander VI on May 4, 1493, played a central role in the Spanish conquest of the New World. The Bull stated that any land not inhabited by Christians was available to be "discovered," claimed, and exploited by Christian rulers and declared that "the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself."

    This "Doctrine of Discovery" became the basis of all European claims in the Americas as well as the foundation for the United States’ Western expansion. In the US Supreme Court in the 1823 case Johnson v. McIntosh, Chief Justice John Marshall’s opinion in the unanimous decision held "that the principle of discovery gave European nations an absolute right to New World lands." It was announced this April, 2023, that the Vatican repudiated this doctrine, 530 years too late for many millions of people.

    By what authority did Pope Alexander VI claim the power to give Spain nearly exclusive possession of the New World?

    “ the authority of Almighty God conferred upon us in blessed Peter and of the vicarship of Jesus Christ, which we hold on earth, do by the tenor of these presents, should any of said islands have been found by your envoys...”1 I Peter 2:9 “But you are God's chosen and special people. You are a group of royal priests and a holy nation.” Christians are “chosen” and therefore have special privileges under God's authority., or so went the argument. From this theology “Christians” from Europe believed they had God's blessing to “discover” the American continents and Africa and take the land, its inhabitants and all its resources. 

    The same theology is and was used by the Hebrew people for the conquest of Palestine. The Hebrew people believed God had given them the land and all its inhabitants and resources because God had chosen them and promised the land to them and their offspring. They had the right religion and anyone not of that religion was not a child of God. They believed (and many today still believe) God gave them the authority to kill men, women and children, and all the living animals of the people who opposed them. To this day it is their “chosenness,” which gives them claim to all the land from the Jordan to the Sea. “The Bible says so.”    

    1 An excerpt from the Bull.

    TAGGED / Taskforce for Palestine Israel

    With more than 100,000 members, United Methodists of Upper New York comprises of more than 675 local churches and New Faith Communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."