Evangelicals and Israel – Time to Rethink (or Think, as the Case May Be)

It’s time for Evangelical Christians to rethink their undying devotion to the state of Israel.  It’s one thing to support Jewish culture and religion and history, etc.  It’s a completely different thing to unwaveringly support the modern state of Israel.  The two are not the same.

Evangelical Christians are quick to point out that a “cultural” Christian is not really a Christian.  One must  be “born again”, have a religious experience of salvation, see the light.  After all, as one popular phrase reminds us, “just going to church on Sunday doesn’t make you any more of a Christian than sitting in a garage makes you a car.”  Profound indeed.

So are we to assume that all those Israelis living in the state of Israel are all deeply religious, truly pious, practicing Jews?  Are we to assume that there are no “cultural” Jews in Israel? If there are so-called “cultural” Jews in Israel, then the pseudo-religious motivation for supporting the Israeli state falls flat.

Let’s flip the utopia switch though and assume for a moment that all Israelis are devout, pious, practicing Jews (in line with Evangelical fantasies).  The main struggle is between Israelis and Palestinians.  Enter the Palestinian Christians.  Not only are they a people without a country but they are also without allies.  Jews hate them because they are Palestinians.  Palestinians hate them because they are Christians.  And Christians?  Groups like Voice of the Martyrs describes the struggles they face.  Christians in the US should be supporting the Palestinian Christians (brothers and sisters in Christ), not the state of Israel.

Unfortunately, as long as Zionism remains a major tenet of the Christian right and, as a result, the Republican Party, no resolution for Palestinian Christians seems to be in sight. (Not to mention, no end to the terror threat we face as a direct result of our intrusive foreign policy in the Middle East…but that’s a blog for another day.)  If you pray for the “peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122.6a), don’t forget to remember “those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Heb. 13.3b).

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