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Posts Tagged ‘Christian Zionism’

Baghdad Embasssy Attack

Hundreds of protesters stormed the US embassy compound in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone [Khalid Mohammed/AP Photo]

I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.

  • Psalm 120:7

It seemed like déjà vu.  Watching video of angry protesters storming the American embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday, I couldn’t help but recall similar scenes from 1979.  I was thirteen when angry crowds of demonstrators took to the streets against the Shah of Iran, swept the Ayatollah Khomeini to power in that nation, and captured the American embassy in Tehran, holding fifty-two American hostages for 444 days.

There was, as you may suppose, a good deal of anger directed at Iran from the American public.  Pictures of the scowling Ayatollah, a man whose menacing face seemed to be everywhere, served to drive home the seriousness of the ongoing hostage crisis.

For my part, I recall not so much being angry with Iran as I was puzzled by the whole affair.  Here were people on the other side of the world, in a country I had barely heard of, marching, burning American flags and calling America the Great Satan.   The whole thing just seemed bizarre to me.  As far as I was aware, I had never harmed an Iranian, nor did I harbor anything like hatred for the Iranian people.  So why did these people, seemingly out of the blue, one day start proclaiming how much they hated my country?  It was as if Iran was a nation full of nothing but lunatics.  At least that’s how it appeared to me at the time.

Sometimes I wonder how those too young to have lived through the Iran hostage crisis view that event.  Do Millennials or Gen-Z even know about it?  If so, do they realize how big a deal it was at the time?  This one event dominated the news for over a year.  It even spawned a new news program on ABC called Nightline hosted by Ted Koppel and dedicated to providing the latest hostage crisis updates.  If memory serves, it used to come on weeknights at 11:30 pm after the local evening news.

That was then.

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“Hell is going to be filled with good religious people who have rejected the truth of Christ.”

  • Robert Jeffress

 

“President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at tackling anti-Semitism on college campuses on Wednesday – but one of the speakers at the event said that Jews are going to hell,” thus reported the Huffington Post on Thursday.

Yes, the HuffPo was in a state of high dudgeon that Donald Trump dared to invite to the While House a Christian minister, who actually teaches Christian doctrine.

In this case, the guilty party was none other than noted Southern Baptist minister Robert Jeffress.  At times, I have been critical of Jeffress on this blog. I stand by my criticism.  But today I come not to bury Jeffress but to praise him.

What triggered the outrage at HuffPo and several other news outlets?  I’ll let the HuffPo’s headline speak for itself: “Pastor Who Says Jews Are Going To Hell Speaks At Trump’s Hanukkah Party.”

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BDS

A screenshot of C-Span at the end of a tally of a US House of Representatives vote to condemn the boycott Israel movement on July 23, 2019.

Congress Shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

– The First Amendment to the United States Constitution

Last Tuesday, the United States House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to condemn a movement of private citizens to boycott companies doing business with the state of Israel. Palestinian Omar Barghouti is generally credited with founding The Boycott, Disinvest, Sanctions movement (BDS) in 2005, and since that time the movement has gained supporters in many nations. Claiming inspiration from the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS website states that, “the Palestinian BDS call urges nonviolent pressure on Israel until it complies with international law by meeting three demands.”  They are:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall,
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality, and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

As the BDS movement’s name suggests, the goal of the organizers is to bring economic and social pressure on Israel to accede to the group’s demands. It is beyond the scope of this post to argue whether or not the goals, methods and motives of those involved in the BDS movement deserve the support of Americans in general or American Christians in particular. Rather, the focus of this post is on the attempts by various Zionist lobbying groups to combat the BDS movement in the United States by shutting down their ability to peacefully protest.

In the opinion of this author, the ongoing attempts by the Israel lobby in America to condemn and to even outlaw private, peaceful protests against the policies of the Israeli government are unconstitutional and represent a grave danger to the American republic. In short, the Anti-BDS movement is a direct threat to one of America’s most cherished liberties, the right to free speech.

Yet despite the grave danger to the American republic, there has been very little criticism of this movement either in the mainstream press or the alternate media. Especially disappointing the apparent lack of scrutiny from Christians, who of all people should be the most vigorous defenders of free speech.

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Pence_Pompeo

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence.  Fred Reed rightly criticizes these neo-conservatives for their belligerent foreign policy and tendency to conflate U.S. interests with those of Israel, but misses the mark when recommending an alternative.

“Pence A Christian? POMPEO?: There Are Christians Who Love and Christian Who Hate,” a recent article by veteran journalist and commentator Fred Reed caught my eye this week. Reed, a gifted and independent-minded columnist, takes an approach to politics that can, I think, fairly be described as Libertarian.

As to his religions background, in his biography on his website he writes, “In general my family for many generations were among the most literate, the most productive, and the dullest people in the South. Presbyterians.” That said, in reading him over the years, my sense is that he has rejected the faith of his forebears and now seems rather hostile to the Presbyterianism of his family. Writing about the Catholic churches of Mexico, he commented in one column, “In any of these them (sic), before Protestantism cast its drab cloak of half of the faith, a traveler could enter and understand everything he saw.” In the same column, he has high praise for Russian Orthodox ceremony as well.

All that said, Reed has a wonderful talent for exposing the many nonsensical pieties which in our time are presented to the public as the very height of wisdom. In his article Reed – the author has a penchant for ribald language, which I have edited out as both unnecessary and inappropriate for this blog – makes many spot on observations about the anti-Christian foreign policy espoused by supposedly Christian government officials. On the other hand, some of his statements are wide of the mark. My comments are interspersed.

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According to John Hagee, the answer to this question is a resounding “yes.” Israel, we are told, is on the verge of annihilation and it is incumbent upon Christians to take a stand for Israel now.  Hagee and others believe that Christians have an obligation to bless Israel, and this is generally understood by them to mean supporting whatever initiative is being pushed by the Likud party.     In his book In Defense of Israel, the first chapter of which is titled It’s 1938…Again, Hagee makes the following claim,

John Hagee

John Hagee

As an avid student of history, I am convinced that we are facing the same situation the world faced in 1938.

Iran is the new Germany, and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is the new Hitler. Iran poses a threat to the State of Israel that promises nothing less than a nuclear holocaust. The only way to win a nuclear war is to make certain it never starts. We must stop Iran’s nuclear threat an stand boldly with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East (Hagee, In Defense of Israel. 2,3)

Hagee, of course, in not the first or only person to make comments of this sort. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamen Netanyahu has built his career on statements of this sort. But since Hagee claims to speak for Evangelicals in general, his comments are of special interest to Christians.

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