Every day, Sherry girds herself for her war. She knows the names of her enemies, but she has learned not to name them too quickly. For it is unchristian in her circles not to love one’s enemies. In a letter to WHTT Sherry stated, “We should be very careful that any criticism is directed at people as people and not according to their race or religion.”
But if encouraged, Sherry’s true feelings pour out: “It is established fact,” Sherry wrote, “that the militant Islamic agenda is the elimination of Christianity and of Israel, God’s chosen people.” Sherry’s words leave little doubt she truly believes that Muslims are evil enemies of Christianity.
Sherry considers Palestinians to be part of “Militant Islam” and is emphatic in her belief that Israelis are allies in her war. She states, “I support a pro-Israel stance because I believe it is Biblical. I have done a lot of reading on this and we have been to Israel. The Jewish people cannot even go up onto the temple mount.” She adds that her Israeli allies “have been much maligned by the press and the other factions in the Middle East, when they have, in fact, been trying to defend themselves to keep from being pushed into the sea.”
Sherry’s war is very real to her. Her statements may seem to some to be exaggerated and based upon racial and religious hatred, yet she bases her political beliefs upon her religious doctrine. Sherry is, in fact, a loving and caring person, and not a fanatic as her words suggest. What then do Sherry and her husband Lanny believe that fuels these powerful political attachments and prejudices? What is their life style, and who are their mentors in this anti-Islamic subset of Christianity?
Sherry and Lanny are model church member in a fast-growing evangelical non-denominational congregation. Sherry is a working mom and Lanny is a stockbroker. Both consider themselves “born again” and would probably be described by fellow churchgoers as salt of the earth Christians, the kind of people most would like to have as neighbors. If one had a problem, great or small, Sherry and Lanny were the kind of Christians who would be there. They are sacrificially committed to supporting mission work. Sherry is a defender of those who cannot defend themselves–the mistreated and the persecuted. They are no doubt dedicated to their family and consider Jesus the center of family life.
Sherry wants to believe a mail-order missionary named Wes, who has visited her church and been welcomed from the pulpit several times. Wes operates a mission in Sudan whose stated purpose is to train chaplains for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). Wes claims that before starting his “permanent” mission, he bought and freed “slaves” in Sudan. Sherry has sent money to Wes. She agonizes over his stories of slave trade, alleged forced-conversion to Islam and blood-curdling claims of murder and rape of Christians for no reason except that they are Christians, all of which Wes claims is being carried out by the Sudanese Government.
Sherry believes Wes’ stories of his sacrificial mission to an army of black Christians battling a hoard of light-skinned Muslim killers and tyrants. She finds it natural to believe Wes’ story because she is sure Muslims are her natural enemy. She does not hesitate to say that Muslims, especially in Sudan, want to destroy Christianity and kill Christians simply because they are Christian. She considers all this to be fact and beyond question.
Sherry associates Islam with anti-Semitism and believes Christians and Jews are inseparably bound together in a war against Islam. She believes the Bible commands her to “bless Israel,” at risk of bringing a curse from God down on her own head. Sherry believes Israel’s war is a global war with Islam. She wants to please God, so she says she will do whatever she can to bless the state of Israel.
Sherry is probably a Republican, conservative and an avowed pro-life advocate, supporting the right to life of every unborn child. But she sees no problem with opposing the rise of Islam by whatever force is required, even if innocent people must suffer. Sherry probably would be sympathetic to the women and children in Iraq and Palestine who are the victims, but she does not allow herself to think about them. She considers their problems beyond her scope. She attributes any such suffering and loss of life as “God’s plan.” She would point out that God also ordered Israelite slaughters of Canonites in the Old Testament and had His reasons.
Sherry believes that the leaders of Israel are often in error, and that they have strayed from God’s will, but she defends them nevertheless. She says she does not know why God has blessed these people, but he has. To her his absolute blessing on the present-day state of Israel is an unequivocal fact, based upon her understanding of Scripture.
Sherry was incredulous when someone gave her a We Hold These Truths research paper that challenged much of what she had been taught about missions, slavery and persecution in Sudan. The report astonished Sherry by naming the very same mail-order missionary, Wes, whom she was supporting financially, as one of the more questionable missionaries in Sudan. The report suggests that most missions in Southern Sudan are, at best, well-intended but ill-advised and totally impractical, spendthrift money-raising operations. It claims that some missions are knowingly financing a war of revolution in this poor African country, doing far more harm than good for the people they claimed to be aiding.
More damning still, the report suggests that some organizations are fronts for a warring faction posing as a mission. Sherry was disturbed to learn this author claimed to have interviewed Wes and described him as a likable and convincing small-time opportunist who was taking advantage of the gullibility of well-intended churchgoers in America. Lanny and Sherry, like the conscientious Christians they are, decided to hear both sides. They discussed the matter with local We Hold These Truth advisors. They also listened to George, a part-time summer volunteer from their church, who had visited Wes’ mission in Sudan twice, and who raised the money for his trips to their church.
After hearing what they considered to be both sides, Lanny and Sherry decided to believe Wes and George and to disregard the WHTT report. Sherry stated she simply could not believe George and Wes would lie in church. What tipped the scales in Sherry’s mind? Sherry came to see that the State of Israel probably has an interest in the war in Sudan and is probably financing the revolution, and that Israel needs and covets the new oil field in Sudan. Sherry and Lanny, trained in finance, did not doubt this report in the least. They quickly accepted the idea that Israel needs oil, and Sudan has lots of it.
Sherry and Lanny believe they should support anything that is good for Israel, even if, in this case, it means war in Sudan. They do not mind helping what Wes claims is a school to train chaplains for what he describes as the black Christian revolutionary force of the SPLA. George proudly claims that Wes’ mission camp is defended by armed SPLA “rebels” armed with AK-47 rifles.
Sherry sees herself as helping God’s plan along by financing Wes and George–an ideal way, she thinks, to help defeat the Muslims without actually shooting them. She is aware that a chaplain is actually a combatant warrior, and not a neutral party who conducts services but is under military command.
Sherry’s love for the State of Israel and militancy toward Islam, Israel’s mortal enemy, is the result of what she has learned in her church and in Bible studies. She was more than willing to provide a detailed list of the scriptures she used to defend her unshakable support for Israel. She believes these verses not only support theology, but demand her loyalty to Israel as the “Chosen People.” Sherry has years of training in her beliefs and is well able to support her arguments; she assumes hers is the prevailing Christian view and spares no effort in selling her beliefs to others.
Next, we will review Sherry’s favorite Bible verses. We will examine the media supporters of her view; we will approach the puzzle, why Lanny, Sherry, and millions of church going American, Judeo-Christians like them, gird for war with Islam. Finally, we will inquire into what traditional Christians say about Sherry’s war.
Part 2 – Sherry’s War: Sherry’s Bible
A pdf file of the original Right To The Point journal published in Oct., 2001, featuring “Sherry’s War Is available at: http://whtt.podbean.com/mf/web/h6pe9v/0110RTTPJournal-SherrysWar.pdf