A dozen church denominations are challenging Israel. Both Mainline and Evangelical Zionist church leaders are beginning to acknowledge Israel’s daily war crimes in Palestine/Gaza, but they are responding in very different ways. We note to begin that there is no war is Palestine because only one side is armed.
Listen to an analysis of this article by Chuck Carlson and Craig Hanson of WHTT:
We Hold These Truths has struggled painfully to educate Christian Zionist church leaders. We have and will have much better success in educating Mainline Christian leaders. We Americans Christians are involved in a giant cycle of moral leadership. Our Zionist influenced churches have morphed backwards from the beautiful butterfly, to the worm! From morally conscious, to tolerant, to complicit in excusing Israel’s daily murders. It is past the time for renewal; this is why we titled our first video made in Gaza, 17 years ago, The Roots of Christian Zionism.
Both Christ-following sides have made errors in the past. Mainline followers of Jesus have been slow to recognize Israel’s abuse, primarily because of their preoccupation with worthwhile local charities, such as care for the homeless. These efforts, while needed and worthy, have shielded many Mainline Christ Followers from noticing the most evident and deliberate territorial crimes of the 21st century. Furthermore, these are crimes in plain sight in a tiny place called Gaza. Now, however, the Mainline is taking the lead in its new, outspoken humanitarian position toward Palestine.
Conversely, Evangelical (Christian Zionist) leaders seem to have gone increasingly silent. Some are quietly ignoring the Palestine issue. Some seem to show signs of embarrassment over their controversial scriptural argument that “Israelis are God’s Chosen.” According to Wikipedia, Christian Zionism is a belief among some “Christians” that “the return of the Jews to the Holy Land and the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 were in accordance with Bible prophecy,” (and therefore Israel is holy and untouchable-Ed)
The question we who care must address is, how can followers of Jesus help to save a half-million Gaza families from death, missiles, disease, and starvation when our government and the Evangelical half of Christianity support Israel without question? Can Christian Zionists be rescued from the course of supporting a killer state that clearly plans to keep on killing? What would Jesus say about supporting Israel when we can not help but know they killed unarmed people yesterday and will repeat it tomorrow?
Several new facts indicate some of those we call “Christian Zionists” are catching on, but the awakening is limited to a thinking few that do not broadly include leadership. Why this indifference? It is because many of the largest churches teach that the present-day state of Israel (as opposed to the ancient one thousands of years ago) is foretold in biblical prophecy and is therefore holy and untouchable.
This belief is prevalent in US churches that are the subjects of this study and is at the root of Christian Zionism. It is the excuse for the genocide of the Palestinian people. Conversely, Mainline churches generally believe that Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. Therefore it is self-evident that today’s Israel is no different than any other political state, and God did not will them the land of Palestine. This difference in basic beliefs separates Mainline Christianity from Zionists in a way that defies compromise. The largest Zionist leaning denomination is the Southern Baptist Convention.
Zionist Christian groups offer junkets to political Israel, usually sponsored by Jewish organizations and guided by the Israeli state. Evangelicals intentionally overlook Israel’s acts of proven brutality. They choose not to see, or dismiss Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian minority as its deserved punishment for misdeeds against “Gods Chosen People.”
Mainline church leaders are beginning to notice more objectively, acts by the state of Israel, some of which are well documented. An instance of the revolt against Israel’s brutality is made clear when 17 Mainline Christian Groups defended the right of individuals and US groups to boycott Israel. They asked Congress to reject the ‘Israel Anti-Boycott Act.’ Sadly, signatories on the letter include not one Christian Zionist church. This group of the Mainline 17 managed to introduce legislation in the US Senate as S.720 and in the House as HR 169, which did not pass Congress, but would have corrected previous law prohibiting individual Americans from supporting a boycott of Israel.
Fortunately, some secular organizations are beginning to set an example for churches. One of these is Human Rights Watch. Recently, its director for Israel and Palestine, Omar Shakir, an American citizen and a graduate of Stanford University Law School, was deported from Israel for speaking up about its atrocities upon Palestinians. While living in Israel, Shakir did the unthinkable: he spoke out in support of Boycott, Divestiture, and Sanction (BDS), which has exposed Israel for its treatment of the Palestinian people.
Israel hides its virtual imprisonment of all Palestinians from tourists to Israel and researchers, who are rarely allowed to see Gaza. Those who ask are usually told it is “too dangerous,” and that rocket fire from Gaza is a constant threat. Most tourists accept this explanation without question. Even those who argue, rarely see Gaza, even from the outside. Human Rights International knows better and has spoken out. Israel’s genocide is too apparent to ignore. More significantly, many large membership Mainline, or Traditional churches that we will name, have finally noticed and have begun to demand justice in the last few years.
Four large mainline churches have taken essential positions opposing and exposing Israel’s act, at least to some degree and detail. These, including ELCA Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and the United Church of Christ. All have called for sanctions against Israel for its ongoing abuse of Palestinians. Some nine smaller denominations have followed their example. They include the Alliance of Baptists (not the Southern Baptists), the United Brethren in Christ, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Mennonite Church USA, and finally the giant, Roman Catholics.
Israel has attacked some of these churches in its press. In early 2014, Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was interviewed on a Lebanon-based news channel Al Mayadeen TV station.
The Lutheran Bishop is quoted as follows: “We’ve urged our government not to engage in grants to the State of Israel while the settlements are going on.. (in other words, stop financial aid to Israel).”
“We also support lifting the blockade of Gaza.” “We also engage in selective purchasing. So we not only try to trade with the Palestinian Authority, but we do not purchase products made in the illegal Israeli settlements.”
“We are contacting the Congress, the President, and saying that the illegal settlements must stop. We’re hoping that people are listening to us. I’m not sure that the government of Israel will.”
“Israel is not listening to the United States when we ask for these settlements to be stopped. But we have to keep trying.”
“The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement aims to hold Israel accountable to international law. Traditional or Mainline churches support the movement to recognize and challenge Israel’s inhumane crimes.”
Author notes: Sadly, not one of the Evangelical (Christian Zionist) churches was a party to the above statement.
The UN had forecast that Gaza could become unable to sustain human life by 2020 as a result of Israel’s siege, which blockades ingress/egress of people and resources by land, sea, or air. The Washington Report went on to state correctly: “During the Great March of Return (2019) last year, along the fences and wall—the “cage”—that separates Gaza from Israel and Egypt, Israeli snipers shot thousands of Palestinian demonstrators. According to Amnesty International, Israeli sharpshooters killed 150 Palestinians at the protests and wounded at least 10,000 others.” (Author notes the number wounded is open to debate, but there is no question that thousands have been wounded, and an unknown number have had legs amputated)
This author wrote a report asking how the Israelis marksmen could wound and maim so many, and kill only150?. The answer is that while the Israel sharpshooters were at point-blank range, less than 150 yards from most targeted Gaza youths, few were killed but hospitals were overflowing with leg shot youths. Marksmen had orders to deliberately shoot legs and feet to keep the death numbers down and out of the world press, while crippling thousands of youths. Some Israeli soldiers admitted this. The Israeli-friendly media in the US usually prints only the death figures and does not note the staggering number of disabled and crippled youths. There is no way for Americans to know how many of the unarmed wounded and crippled survived.
Israel proclaimed its innocent to all these atrocities. And not all the resistance from mainline churches can be attributed to an official position of the church proper. Nevertheless, it is highly significant for mainline churches because opposing or criticizing Israelis is all but unknown in Evangelical or Zionist friendly churches. These include most Southern Baptist, Pentecostals, and independent mega-churches. And we know of not a single leader from the “Christian” Zionist church who has supported any movements to expose Israel’s mass murderers. We believe they soon will!
We Hold These Truths has known about and exposed these conditions for some 17 years, starting with our first film, Root of Christian Zionism. This author witnessed and photographed an Israeli bombing in Gaza that left 40 wounded and four dead. But few church leaders listened. We are among the forerunners in this very long, uphill fight. We have popularized the now accepted label, “Christian” Zionism.
Now we are moving on, and putting quotation marks around the word “Christian” to show that “Christian” Zionism is anything but Christian. Perhaps the best encouragement we have received came from the pathetic lack of knowledge shown by members of “Christian” Zionist churches that we have picketed, and which challenged our members’ demonstrations against their acts.
It’s one thing to explore and expose the brutality of Israel, endorsed by well-meaning “Christian” Zionist church leaders. It is yet another, more formidable task to detect and expose the network of Jewish Zionists who dominate the media and support Israel’s brutality. The largely Jewish-controlled press has never reported Israel’s acts! Not all those who control the US media are Zionists, but most who are not Jews cater to them about issues exposing Israel and its brutality toward Palestinians.
The question is, how do we expose the role of these Jewish power groups? We see the first fire in the hearts of the Mainline Christians we have named! We can only pray that some courageous leaders within the big CZ cult will follow them.
We must add to our agenda accelerated education of the Mainline church leaders. Last Sunday I approached one of the younger elders (directors) of a local conservative Mainline church. He is an active businessman and sometimes preaches. He is smart, articulate, and genuine, and I would say influential. This author mentioned Christian Zionism, and he stopped me to ask what I meant. I provided the standard definition we have developed for over 17 years, “Christian” Zionism is the belief that the Political State of Israel is the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.” The elder rolled his eyes back and responded, “I will have to think about that one.” He was not challenging me, but he has probably never thought about what Christian Zionism is! We need to seek discussion in every Mainline Christian church! I would guess that half of the leaders in Mainline and Catholic churches have not thought about Christian Zionism seriously, and what the “Zionizing” of Christianity means. However, fortunately, most Mainline leaders have not been brainwashed to believe that the political state that named itself “Israel,” is holy.
What reaction can we expect from Jewish-controlled financiers? Historically we know that their common method to control dissent is the creation of economic chaos. We might as well expect this sometime in the near future. The hardest part of exposing Israel’s evil is tying it to Jews, without saying the word “Jew” in any critical way. The reason for this is that these people have had 2000 years of practice in defending themselves by attacking critics.
We can also expect those War-bankers and financiers we are exposing to play the economic crash card when all else fails. Zionists’ financiers believe that if they can make us miserable enough financially we will listen to them for a way out. In the next few years, while we are busy approaching mainline churches, and when we are about to win, we can expect an induced, chaotic financial crunch. It will be planned and will include a virtual collapse of stocks, bonds, and real estate. It is a tactic that has been used before by those who have controlled our money for the last hundred years, at least ever since the Federal Reserve system came into existence in 1913. We Hold These Truths leaders hope we can continue to expose this financial scheme as we have in the recent past.
We have our work cut out for us! Let us pray for allies who are up to the challenge.
*Christian Zionism: The belief that the state of Israel is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, (and therefore is holy).