The Churches for Middle East peace report can be found at www.cmep.org/Alerts/2007July30.htm
Listen to an Aug. 2 report on NPR's "The World": www.theworld.org/?q=taxonomy_by_date/1/20070802
July 30, 2007
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) thanks the 34 Christian evangelical leaders who have written President Bush offering support for his efforts to reinvigorate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and to correct the view that evangelicals are opposed to a two-state solution. The letter - www.esa-online.org/Display.asp?Page=LettertoPresident - dated July 27, is included below.
It was reported in the New York Times - on Sunday, July 30 - www.nytimes.com/2007/07/29/us/29evangelical.html?ei=5070&en=29c26bdc33463919&ex=1186372800&emc=eta1&pagewanted=print
CMEP's June 2007 newsletter, "Christian Advocates Compete for Ear, and Heart, of Policymakers" - www.cmep.org/newsletter/2007July.htm - explained the Christian Zionist approach of Christians United for Israel and provided background information on evangelical support for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, including the efforts of Ron Sider, President of Evangelicals for Social Action who lead the letter-to-the-President initiative.
Corinne Whitlatch, CMEP's director, called Ron Sider this morning with appreciation for this important evidence of public support among evangelicals for a fair solution to the conflict and with suggestions for bringing their letter to the attention of members of Congress and other key people in the Administration.
In January of this year, a number of these evangelicals joined Orthodox, Catholic and mainline Protestant church leaders in a letter organized by CMEP urging President Bush to make Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking an urgent priority - www.cmep.org/documents/Ecumenical_letter_to_Bush.pdf
Full Text and Signers of Evangelical Leaders' Letter to President Bush
July 27, 2007
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We write as evangelical Christian leaders in the United States to thank you for your efforts (including the major address on July 16) to reinvigorate the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to achieve a lasting peace in the region. We affirm your clear call for a two-state solution. We urge that your administration not grow weary in the time it has left in office to utilize the vast influence of America to demonstrate creative, consistent and determined U.S. leadership to create a new future for Israelis and Palestinians. We pray to that end, Mr. President.
We also write to correct a serious misperception among some people including some U.S. policymakers that all American evangelicals are opposed to a two-state solution and creation of a new Palestinian state that includes the vast majority of the West Bank. Nothing could be further from the truth. We, who sign this letter, represent large numbers of evangelicals throughout the U.S. who support justice for both Israelis and Palestinians. We hope this support will embolden you and your administration to proceed confidently and forthrightly in negotiations with both sides in the region.
As evangelical Christians, we embrace the biblical promise to Abraham: "I will bless those who bless you." (Genesis 12:3). And precisely as evangelical Christians committed to the full teaching of the Scriptures, we know that blessing and loving people (including Jews and the present State of Israel) does not mean withholding criticism when it is warranted. Genuine love and genuine blessing means acting in ways that promote the genuine and long-term well being of our neighbors. Perhaps the best way we can bless Israel is to encourage her to remember, as she deals with her neighbor Palestinians, the profound teaching on justice that the Hebrew prophets proclaimed so forcefully as an inestimably precious gift to the whole world.
Historical honesty compels us to recognize that both Israelis and Palestinians have legitimate rights stretching back for millennia to the lands of Israel/Palestine. Both Israelis and Palestinians have committed violence and injustice against each other. The only way to bring the tragic cycle of violence to an end is for Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a just, lasting agreement that guarantees both sides viable, independent, secure states. To achieve that goal, both sides must give up some of their competing, incompatible claims. Israelis and Palestinians must both accept each other's right to exist. And to achieve that goal, the U.S. must provide robust leadership within the Quartet to reconstitute the Middle East roadmap, whose full implementation would guarantee the security of the State of Israel and the viability of a Palestinian State.
We affirm the new role of former Prime Minister Tony Blair and pray that the conference you plan for this fall will be a success.
Mr. President, we renew our prayers and support for your leadership to help bring peace to Jerusalem, and justice and peace for all the people in the Holy Land.
Finally, we would request to meet with you to personally convey our support and discuss other ways in which we may help your administration on this crucial issue.
Ronald J. Sider, President
Evangelicals for Social Action
Don Argue, President
Raymond J. Bakke, Chancellor
Bakke Graduate University
Gary M. Benedict, President
The Christian & Missionary Alliance
George K. Brushaber, President
Gary M. Burge, Professor
Wheaton College & Graduate School
Tony Campolo, President/Founder
Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education
Christopher J. Doyle, CEO
American Leprosy Mission
Leighton Ford, President
Leighton Ford Ministries
Daniel Grothe, Pastoral Staff
New Life Church (Colorado Springs)
Vernon Grounds, Chancellor
Stephen Hayner, former President
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor
Member, Executive Committee of the NAE
Jo Anne Lyon, Founder/CEO
World Hope International
Gordon MacDonald, Chair of the Board
Albert G. Miller, Professor
Richard Mouw, President
Fuller Theological Seminary
David Neff, Editor
Glenn R. Palmberg, President
Evangelical Covenant Church
Earl Palmer, Senior Pastor
University Presbyterian Church Seattle
Victor D. Pentz, Pastor
Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Atlanta
John Perkins, President
John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation & Development
Bob Roberts, Jr., Senior Pastor
Northwood Church, Dallas
Leonard Rogers, Executive Director
Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding
Andrew Ryskamp, Executive Director
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
Chris Seiple, President
Institute for Global Engagement
Robert A. Seiple, Former Ambassador-at-Large,
International Religious Freedom
U.S. State Department
Luci N. Shaw, Author, Lecturer
Regent College, Vancouver
Jim Skillen, Executive Director
Center for Public Justice
Glen Harold Stassen, Professor
Fuller Theological Seminary
Richard Stearns, President
Clyde D. Taylor, Former Chair of the Board
Harold Vogelaar, Director
Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice
Berten Waggoner, National Director
Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace is a Washington-based program of the Alliance of Baptists, American Friends Service Committee, Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Armenian Orthodox Church, Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Institutes, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Church World Service, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Franciscan Friars OFM (English Speaking Conference, JPIC Council), Friends Committee on National Legislation, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Maryknoll Missioners, Mennonite Central Committee, Moravian Church in America, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, and the United
Methodist Church (GBCS & GBGM).
Churches for Middle East Peace
110 Maryland Ave. NE
Washington DC 20002