It's Time to Turn the Spotlight on Christian Zionism
I grew up Christian Zionist. I know Christian Zionism from the inside. I know that nearly all Christian Zionists are wonderful people with good hearts. (A few, maybe not so much.) But wonderful people with good hearts can be wrong about some things, and their good-heartedness should lead them to remain humbly open to that possibility.
That's why - if you are a Christian Zionist - now is the time to listen to the serious concerns being raised about Christian Zionism. (And if someone you love is a Christian Zionist - now is the time to ask them if they've considered these important concerns.)
Here's a next step:
Here's a full engagement, an open letter to American Christian Zionists, written by two Evangelical theologians:
This Christian version of Zionism matters deeply, not just because theology intrinsically matters, but because it is overwhelmingly clear that American evangelical-fundamentalist Christian Zionism affects US policy toward Israel and the Palestinians in distressing ways. It is one reason why the United States stands almost alone in the world community in supporting Israeli policies which our international friends generally find intolerable if not immoral and illegal.
Not to put too fine a point on it, we wish to claim here that the prevailing version of American Christian Zionism—that is, your belief system—underwrites theft of Palestinian land and oppression of Palestinian people, helps create the conditions for an explosion of violence, and pushes US policy in a destructive direction that violates our nation’s commitment to universal human rights. In all of these, American Christian Zionism as it currently stands is sinful and produces sin. We write as evangelical Christians committed lifelong to Israel's security, and we are seriously worried about your support for policies that violate biblical warnings about injustice and may lead to the outcome you most fear—serious harm to or even destruction of Israel.
We write as evangelicals to you, our fellow evangelicals. On the shared basis of biblical authority, we ask you to reconsider your interpretation of Scripture, for the sake of God, humanity, the United States, and, yes, Israel itself, the Land and People we both love.
It takes courage to challenge Christian Zionism. You are likely to be called liberal, heretical, intolerant, even anti-Semitic. That's why I always try to remind people - to be critical of Christian Zionism is not to be critical of the Jewish people or their legitimate desire for security in a hospitable state (especially in the aftermath of centuries of horrific "Christian Anti-Semitism"). More and more of us see Christian Zionism - no matter how sincerely and innocently it is held - as a gross misreading and misapplication of the Bible, one that will result in more pain for Israelis and Palestinians alike. We need solutions that are pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace, and pro-justice. Anything less is morally unacceptable and will produce unintended negative consequences.
Here are some photos I took a few years back when I was in Israel and Palestine. First, this is my own shadow on the separation wall ... a reminder that I, as an American, am implicated in the status quo there:
I thought of this wall mural from the West Bank when I heard that President Obama is still planning to veto the Palestinian request for statehood. (Please change your mind, Mr. President!)
This famous wall mural shows the dual commitment of the vast majority of Palestinians - to passionate activism, and to peaceful means of achieving change.
Finally, our little group attended a Shabbat service in a synagogue near Jerusalem. I took a picture of this prayer from the prayer book - a beautiful Jewish prayer for peace:
Will you pray this prayer right now?