The recent devastation in Gaza is horrifying the world, and one pastor at Grapevine’s Fellowship Church is particularly moved by the images, at least those he apparently thought depicted the Israelis for whom he is praying.
Ed Young, a pastor at the church and (as he points out on his Instagram) New York Times bestselling author of The Fear Virus, which claims that all fears in life can be assuaged by a love of God, made a post last week with the caption: “Pray with me. For protection of the innocent. For peace. For loved ones lost. For our leaders. In Jesus name.”
Young’s Instagram post included seven photos, the latter of which is an image that reads “Pray for Israel.” Most of the photos he uploaded were of the effects of the conflict on Palestinians.
The photos shared by Young stem from publishers Al Jazeera, Getty, and BBC, among others, and depict the bombings on Gaza by Israeli raids, which have resulted in the deaths of nearly 250 Palestinians.
Young’s post was shared by Dallas activist and writer Stephanie Drenka, who wrote on Facebook:
“This is one of the grossest examples of unethical storytelling and exploitation I've ever seen on social media.”
Drenka included the links to the original photos
“I can't stop thinking about the brave photojournalists who risked their lives to show the world what is happening in Palestine — and those whose grief was captured in the images — only to have the pictures used in a call to pray for their oppressors. #FreePalestine,” Drenka added.
Drenka says she learned of Young's post from an Instagram story by the account Dallasfoodwanderer, where the influencer shared Young’s photos and added her own comments.
In one photo of a blown-up mosque she shared from Young's post, the blogger added the caption “Hmmm I didn’t know Israel had mosques” and in a photo of a man carrying a child away from a street with buildings turned to rubble, she wrote, “A man holding his child runs away after Israeli warplanes launched attacks over Gaza Strip."
Young has not returned our request for comment.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.