Recently, on Facebook I saw a Christian leader and his wife at a black-tie banquet in Florida, “Celebrating Israel.” It was a Christian affair. I’m not sure what they were celebrating per se.
Of course, I am not “against” or Anti-Israel as such. It’s just that I think being supportive of, caring about, and praying for Jews or the “peace of Jerusalem” as Scripture commands is decidedly different from blessing or blindly defending everything the modern nation-state of Israel does.
This confusion is evident in social media, but it’s long been a part of American Christian culture, the idea that to be considered politically correct in a conservative Christian community or church one must be loud-n-proud when talking about Israel. I’ve long seen people on social media sort of “beat their chest” about being “Pro-Israel” as a way of demonstrating their Conservative or Republican or Christian bona fides.
Again, let me be clear. I am not against or anti-Israel, much less anti-Jewish people. They, like all others, are part of the divinely created human race, are in need of salvation like all the rest of us, should be able to rear their children in peace and security, and should be appreciated for who they are and what they contribute to global society. Certainly, actions that bespeak antisemitism, racial discrimination, or the worst in the genocides of history, are wrong, immoral, and evil, not the attitudes and behaviors that bless civilization, or the Church.
This said, I still wonder about the over-the-top posturing I see among conservative Christian Americans pertaining to Israel, and by implication, pertaining to Arabs, Persians, and Turks living in the Middle East and North Africa. To hear some Christian leaders speak on television, you'd be forgiven for thinking if they are not anti-Arab they certainly sound anti-Arab. But God created Arabs too.
For comparison, let me think aloud about my country the USA. I am patriotic, red-white-n-blue, glad to be an American, proud in some sense of the land of the free and home of the brave, but I do not believe and would not make the case that the USA has always done the right things or done things right, much less given Republican or Democrat, or for that matter Whig or Federalist, leaders have always done things right.
I think one can love his/her country without arguing it is and always has been right or best. And I think one can critique one’s country without buying into the contemporary revisionist line that the USA has never done anything right, so we must reject and put down and deny our ideals in favor of any and all global alternatives.
Back to Israel, I want this nation-state of people to enjoy human rights to life and liberty, to self-determination, dignity, and respect. I want for them peace, security, and prosperity. But I want these things for other Middle Eastern and North African countries too. It need not be zero-sum, us or them, America supports Israel or American Christians support Israel no matter what they do. No, it can be an intelligent and sophisticated relationship committed to lofty ideals and values.
American Christians and/or Conservatives and/or Republicans or Democrats need to think before they speak, honor good and right causes, reject bad and wrong behaviors, work together for mutual benefit in a free and peaceful world.
Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2018
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