Tuesday, November 14, 2006

God's Foreign Policy -- New York Times Article

The conversation about Christian Zionism is not one that happens only in workshops of conferences and assemblies -- it is mainstream. Today's New York Times carries a front page article on the issue under the headline: "For Evangelicals Supporting Israel is God's Foreign Policy." While it's not a ground-breaking article and there are no significant new revelations in it, its placement affirms the importance of the issue.

Click here for the New York Times story.

My colleague Robert O. Smith adds this important caution:

One very interesting thing about this article is its willful confusion of “evangelicalism” with the more specific category of “Christian Zionism.” It is simply not true that all evangelicals are Christian Zionists. The theological and foreign policy perspectives of Christian Zionism are formed into a single, very dangerous ideology of conflict and hatred. The ideology of Christian Zionism ties Christian faith to militarism and imperialism, all in our name. The failure of this high-profile article to name this ideology more precisely should be of concern to all of us.

And from another colleague: Corrine Whitlach of Churches for Middle East Peace, this comment:
The following article from the Nov. 14th New York Times is very relevant to our work and the challenges we, and you, face in our faith-based advocacy of Israel-Palestinian peace. This article, and especially the title, "Evangelicals Backing Israel: 'God's Foreign Policy'", also requires us to 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 alongside CMEP. A number of leaders of evangelical organizations joined CMEP leaders in signing a letter to President Bush that was published in the New York Times in January 2004. Over 40 evangelical Christian leaders wrote to President Bush, in July 2002, 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."

On the question of Christian Zionism read Corrine Whitlach's policy analysis written in CMEP's Quarterly Newsletter in June 2003:

Christian Commitment to Peacemaking is Distorted by Christian Zionists


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