Tuesday, December 12, 2006

God's Foreign Policy - Not

An article by David Kirkpatrick in the New York Times is very relevant to the challenges facing everyone working in faith-based advocacy for Israel-Palestinian peace.

Here is a little of the text, followed by the link to the complete article:

For Evangelicals, Supporting Israel Is
‘God’s Foreign Policy’

"WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 — As Israeli bombs fell on Lebanon for a second week last July, the Rev. John Hagee of San Antonio arrived in Washington with 3,500 evangelicals for the first annual conference of his newly founded organization, Christians United For Israel.

"At a dinner addressed by the Israeli ambassador, a handful of Republican senators and the chairman of the Republican Party, Mr. Hagee read greetings from President Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and dispatched the crowd with a message for their representatives in Congress. Tell them “to let Israel do their job” of destroying the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah, Mr. Hagee said.

"He called the conflict “a battle between good and evil” and said support for Israel was “God’s foreign policy.”

"The next day he took the same message to the White House.

"Many conservative Christians say they believe that the president’s support for Israel fulfills a biblical injunction to protect the Jewish state, which some of them think will play a pivotal role in the second coming. Many on the left, in turn, fear that such theology may influence decisions the administration makes toward Israel and the Middle East."

The link:

Churches for Middle East Peace (www.cmep.org) comments that the title, "Evangelicals Backing Israel: 'God's Foreign Policy,'" helps us keep in mind that stereotypes and generalizations can be wrong and dangerous. There are many evangelical Christians who pray and work for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

A number of leaders of evangelical organizations joined Churches for Middle East Peace leaders signing a letter to President Bush that was published in the New York Times in January 2004. And more than 40 evangelical Christian leaders wrote to President Bush in July 2002 to say that they "reject the way some have distorted biblical passages as their rationale for uncritical support for every policy and action of the Israeli government instead of judging all actions - of both Israelis and Palestinians - on the basis of biblical standards of justice." Find these documents at http://www.cmep.org/letters/letters.htm

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