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Are Christian leaders speaking into the Israel/Hamas Conflict in a manner that reflects our best understanding of a Christian worldview?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #150 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Since just after the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas surprise attack on innocent civilian Israelis in Israel, I’ve been bothered by how some leaders, including Christians, seem to be parsing this conflict.

On 10/7, Hamas terrorists crossed into Israel and perpetrated heinous, barbarous, cruel, and sickening carnage upon Israeli civilians, killing 1,139 people, including 764 civilians and 373 Israeli security personnel. This coordinated armed coercion included murder, butchery, torture, burning, and weaponized sexual violence involving rape, mutilation, extreme brutality against women and girls. And it included kidnapping some 252 victims and holding them as hostages, some of whom have been returned, most of whom are now dead, presumed dead, or believed still in captivity. To add considerable insult and humiliation, the savage raid was videoed by Hamas killers who wore Go-Pro cameras and later in their celebration, pride, and arrogance shared the videos with the world.

Since that time, Israel’s military, called the Israeli Defense Force or IDF, invaded the Gaza Strip and have been seeking to eradicate Hamas, wiping out every operative and eventually the group itself. As of May 8, 2024, over 36,000 people (34,844 Palestinian and 1,410 Israeli) have been reported as killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict, including 97 journalists (92 Palestinian, 2 Israeli and 3 Lebanese) and over 224 humanitarian aid workers, including 179 employees of UNRWA.

Despite the gut-wrenching brutality of 10/7, it has not been Hamas but the IDF that has attracted near world-wide condemnation for what is perceived as disproportionate killing, indiscriminately killing thousands of women and children, or intentionally engaging in a military operation aimed at genocide of the Palestinian people.

Now remember, the Palestinian death toll figures have consistently been taken from the Gaza Health Ministry, controlled by Hamas, yet these figures have been reported on mainstream media as if there is no question concerning their accuracy.

Recently, the UN revised these casualty figures significantly down, then denied they had done so.

All this sets the stage for Christian leaders to make comments that I find bothersome for their shallow theology or selective presentation of facts.

1-Comments lack nuance, meaning they tend to be one-sided, which is understandable and not necessarily bad if the full story is considered. Some leaders present a certain narrative that omits questions, issues, or developments that might cause one to question their message. Mainstream Media does this every day, i.e., they don’t provide news as much as interpretative slants that fit their political view. They knowingly omit inconvenient truths.

2-From the get-go, many Christian leaders have called for “ceasefire,” which seems logical, right? No one wants to perpetuate war and killing…well, except Hamas. I’m not quibbling with Christian leaders calling for ceasefire per se, but my eyebrow goes up when I note that their demand for ceasefire:

a) is generally aimed at Israel, not Hamas,

b) is presented as the moral equivalent of a biblical mandate about loving one’s enemy, that is, the only way to show this is ceasefire,

c) is shared as a panacea, meaning an automatic cure to what ails the region.

3-Christian leaders sometimes say that if people, in this case nation-states, would “just sit down and talk with their enemies,” then peace would be established. But one problem here: Hamas states in its founding documents that it does not recognize Israel’s right to exist. Hamas hates Israel and has vowed never to cease actively attempting to destroy Israel as a nation-state.

Consider these few quotes from Hamas’ primary documents:

“Palestine symbolizes the resistance that shall continue until liberation is accomplished, until the return is fulfilled and until a fully sovereign state is established with Jerusalem as its capital.”

“Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. Its religious, historic, and civilizational status is fundamental to the Arabs, Muslims, and the world at large. Its Islamic and Christian holy places belong exclusively to the Palestinian people and to the Arab and Islamic Ummah. Not one stone of Jerusalem can be surrendered or relinquished.”

“The establishment of ‘Israel’ is entirely illegal and contravenes the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.”

“There shall be no recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist entity.”

“Hamas believes that no part of the land of Palestine shall be compromised or conceded, irrespective of the causes, the circumstances and the pressures and no matter how long the occupation lasts. Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. ‘

How will talks proceed when in this case at least one side does not believe the other has any right to exist?

4-Christian leaders frequently say, “Violence always leads to more violence.”

But what if violence is perpetrated by bad actors seeking to destroy others? What then is the proper response?

If a terrorist group slaughtered, raped, and brutalized Americans in a surprise invasion into our country, all the while videoing the carnage, then also kidnapped American citizens, subjecting them to sexual degradation, abuse, and murder, what would these Christian leaders want the US military to do?

Would Christian leaders really stand up and say, “Violence begets more violence”? Would they argue we should sit down for talks with the perpetrators? Where in this scenario is there room for self-defense?

Some Christian leaders, while not declaring themselves as such, sound like romanticists or idealists or pacifists, because their comments seem bereft of any understanding of evil or sinful depravity in the human heart. Their comments don’t acknowledge that one reason God created government is as a protection against the ravages of evil in the world. God gave legitimate government authority to use coercive force to preserve peace, establish justice, and insure domestic tranquility.

In fact, in shouting “Violence leads to more violence” and calling for immediate ceasefire, these leaders fail to recognize that in a fallen world, sometimes legally constituted governmental and military force must use violence as the only means available to stop violence.

Cries of “Violence always results in more violence” also suggest those who embrace this incomplete philosophy equate the absence of violence with the presence of peace and justice.

In other words, if I don’t hit back, if I don’t return fire, i.e. the absence of violence, then there is peace? Or rather, maybe what we get is not peace but appeasement toward the bad actors. What we get is kowtowing, enablement, surrender, subjugation, or enslavement  wherein the evildoers are allowed to escape justice and are allowed to return another day to reap dark deeds upon the innocent.

I’m not making a case that those who respond in self-defense or as arbiters of justice, peace, and security want violence, that they want to kill. No. It is that they understand human nature, as Ronald Reagan did when he talked about “Peace through strength.”

5-Some Christian leaders are pro-Israel, and some are pro-Palestine, while showing little concern for people on the side they oppose. Among both sets of leaders there are a few who sound prejudiced or worse. Commentators in both camps make the questionable arguments mentioned above. Both are quick to summarily condemn the other side, acting as if bumper sticker theology or meme politics hold ready-made solutions. I don’t sense much subtlety in these views; they’re sure God is on their side.

We’d be better served if Christian leaders wrestled with evil, violence, peace, and justice in Christian worldview terms. This means we label bad deeds as morally unacceptable, no matter who commits them.

A Christian worldview is not idealist or pacifist, but realist, understanding both sin in a Satan-dominated fallen world and the power of the Sovereign God.

Christian worldview recognizes there is always sin on all sides of human conflict, but does not wash away accountability for evil via the currently popular “bothsideism,” an illusion of respectability for certain points of view or certain sides that’s created without evidence.

A Christian worldview hurts for the “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd,” (Matt 9:36) who suffer and die, no matter who they are. And a Christian worldview demands we work to aid them, no matter who they are.

A Christian worldview proclaims hope in the transformative power of the Gospel, in Jesus Christ whose sacrifice is for all – Israelis, Palestinians, Americans, Iranians, Jews and Arabs, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Houthis.


Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2024  

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at or

I read “Israel is bad” or “Hamas is bad” arguments, one-sided with little nuance or consideration of issues faced by the opposition or by civilians.

I read “Ceasefire Now” arguments with no explanation of what can happen next.

I read “Two State Solution” arguments that seem to ignore the history of this diplomatic idea.

For the “Israel is bad” faction:

  • What resolutions to this war, do they recommend?
  • How should Hamas be held accountable for 10/7?
  • If Israel embraced a ceasefire now, what do they believe Hamas will do?
  • How do they suggest Israel get the remaining hostages returned?
  • How would they fight an enemy ensconced in tunnels under an urban civilian landscape?
  • Where in this approach is any responsibility, blame, accountability assigned to Hamas?

For the “Hamas is bad” faction:

  • Do they believe all Palestinians are evil, culpable for 10/7, and thus should be destroyed, or at least are of no concern should they become collateral damage?
  • Do they believe Hamas’s self-articulated mission, rejecting Israel’s right to exist, or the evil facts of 10/7, justify any Israeli response?
  • Do they believe Israel is free to seek justice, revenge, retribution, genocide, or none of these goals?
  • Do they believe that if Hamas is annihilated there will be no more terror attacks upon Israel?

For those calling for “Ceasefire now,” including several hostage families:

  • Do they believe Hamas will return the remaining hostages simply due to a ceasefire?
  • Do they believe a ceasefire would end the war?
  • Do they equate ceasefire with peace?
  • Is a ceasefire the same as justice?

For those calling for a “Two State Solution”:

  • Why are people continuing to propose this political “solution,” which has been discussed since 1937, when people in the MENA do not own it and many do not want it?
  • How can a two-state arrangement be set up when one, if not both, people groups believe the other holds no right to even exist – as a people group, much less as a nation state?


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2024     

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at or

In the chaotic maelstrom that is the Holy Land crisis, what principles can we glean from Scripture to guide our thinking? 

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #117 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.


The complexity of terrorism, violence, and war in the Holy Land calls for thoughtful response.

Partisan, ideological, or street protest slogans are not enough, and in fact many of these are hateful, inflammatory, and clearly not something a Christian should think, say, or promote.

The ethnic nature of the conflict, dating back to Abraham’s sons Isaac and Ishmael, Jew and Arab or Palestinian, involves not only nationality, disputed territory, and historic grievances but also religious or worldview differences, making this violent upheaval all the more complex.

Understandably, we can point to the Oct 7 Hamas barbaric attack on innocent, unsuspecting Israeli civilians and arrive at a point of moral clarity. Yes, those needless deaths were perpetrated by evil incarnate deserving of the harshest retribution and justice.

But then with first the bombardment of urban areas in the Gaza Strip and the subsequent advance of the Israeli Defense Force into Gaza with noncombatants inevitably killed and wounded, and the related humanitarian crises, what is right, just, and morally justifiable gets murkier.

But as soon as you suggest any murkiness here, you’ll likely hear from Israel proponents saying there is no murkiness, no moral equivalency between what Hamas did and what the IDF now is forced to do in self-defense, in what Israel considers an existential fight, and the realpolitik of justice. 

The proponents of Palestinians, including those who condemn Hamas and its terrorism, introduce another quandary that further muddies our desire for moral clarity. 

They note that 60% of Gazans lived on some form of aid, no jobs, and struggling since 2006 under Hamas dominance that ignored the citizens while Hamas built its arsenal. These pro-Palestinians decry not only the bombardment, or any Israeli action really, they argue the West ignored Hamas for 18 years, allowing the timebomb to tick in the Gaza Strip. Others say, Hamas has been in charge for 18 years and did nothing to help the Palestinian people. In fact, Hamas leaders live in high-rise luxury hotels in Doha, Qatar, Beirut, and Istanbul.

Now, the war is personal. Many in the Arab World know someone who lives in Gaza, know people who have been killed, and, again, believe the West, specifically the U.S., is backing Israel to the point of perpetuating Palestinians and Arabs as second-class citizens. While it may be difficult to grasp why the U.S. is at fault here, still, this is how many in Arab countries feel and how they are parsing what’s happening.

Of course, one does not have to embrace all this perspective to be disturbed by the images of death and destruction now emerging from the Gaza Strip. Even if your inclination is to support Israel’s right to defend itself and hold Hamas accountable, suffering and death of noncombatants is gut-wrenching, for these casualties are real people, including children, and are not just “collateral damage,” nor are they mere numbers.

One of my colleagues noted this week that major news agencies are now rounding what in the Viet Nam War days we called body counts. In other words, say 7,457 people are said to be killed, but media reports 7400 or 7500, as if, as my colleague said, we’re talking about sticks or candy for Halloween. No, each number is a human being made in the image of God.

You don’t have to dismiss or ignore Hamas’s depraved massacre to care about innocent Palestinians caught in this war between an evil ideology and a nation state. So again, moral clarity is harder to come by.

Our best, most trusted, accurate, and powerful source of moral understanding is the Scripture, the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God.

Consider these principles that speak not only into our understanding of the Holy Land crisis but of any and all trials we confront in this life:

  1. God is sovereign—omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent—so he’s never surprised, never uninvolved in earthly affairs. This doctrine is the basis of both accountability and hope.
  1. God is Creator and he loves all human beings made in his image, including every demographic,Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, Iranians, Russians, Chinese, even Hamas and Hezbollah. This doctrine means that no human being is unworthy, expendable, of no consequence, but a person of eternal value. This is the basis of our understanding of human reason, moral agency, and freedom. 
  1. In the Christian Church universal, what Scripture calls the Body of Christ, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:28. This doctrine clearly states that no one is beyond the care or reach of the Holy Spirit, and that heaven will indeed be the most diverse place we’ve ever been.
  1. We live in a fallen, i.e., sinful, evil, world, so wrong, wicked, depraved things happen. Unlike humanly devised philosophies and religions that have no ability to define sin and thus no way to respond to evil, biblical Christianity tells us the origin of sin and therefore the source of wrongdoing, not our environment, biology, or upbringing, but in our own hearts. This doctrine allows us to understand the need for law, criminal justice, and grace.
  1. One purpose of government is the legitimate use (police, military), as required, of coercive force as “agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer,”thus to preserve order, restrain evil, create security, allow human flourishing, Rom 13:3-4. Because sin exists, humanity needs protection and a way to achieve justice, including, if necessary, the right use of violence; in other words, sometimes the only way to preserve peace is through violence.
  1. Israel is a nation state, which is not the same as the Jewish people, and Palestinians are not the same as Hamas. Christians too readily jump from the pages of the Old Testament into current affairs saying, “Thus saith the Lord.” While is its true that Jews are “God’s chosen people,” and it is true that God will work through Israel in the end-times, in the meantime, it behooves us to remember that no nation’s leaders, including in the U.S., are always right and moral, and no nation, including the U.S., is always right and moral. 
  1. One can critique Israel’s response without being antisemitic or ignoring the nation’s legitimate defense of its people and plans to hold Hamas accountable, and one can care about Palestinian lives without supporting Hamas or ignoring their heinous actions, and one can desire Hamas faces retribution without being a warmonger. Nations are political actors and what they do can and should be critiqued. Evaluating Israel’s policies is not ipso facto anti-Jew or antisemitic but rather a political calculus regarding decisions enacted. Similarly, a people group like the Palestinians, can be critiqued for electing and among them many supporting Hamas, and at the same time it can be accurately said that most Palestinians are victims of a dictatorial hate group that seized control of the people and the territory. 
  1. Calls for genocide of Palestinians or Israelis, coming from the Left and the Right, even shockingly from Christians and sadly from many American university students, are not morally justifiable. There is nothing in Scripture that endorses ethnic cleansing or genocidal mania. Yes, in the Old Testament, God called upon Israel to destroy different people groups, but one, he is God and we are not, two, this was a matter of idolatry not hate, and three, God at various times stopped this kind of thinking, for example Jonah’s desire for Nineveh to be destroyed when God wanted to call them to himself.
  1. God is not the author of evil, but he will even use evil of men to bring people to Christ. Even in the darkest of times, hope and compassion can prevail. Looking back at the suffering ISIS brought to millions, and that the Islamic government has brought to its own people, we see that the Lord has used it to open the eyes of millions of Muslims to see what the true Islam is and to become open to the message of the Gospel.
  1. It's possible to work for justice and peace at the same time, pursuing a just peace, which has varied definitions but is not peace at any cost. This is practical. So often, we seem to think in either/or terms. Justice, rightly understood, is not contradictory to what God determines is peace. The problem with much current discussion is a belief justice equals peace, yet even protesters shout, “No justice, no peace.” Peace that is not built upon moral foundations defined by God is simply a temporary cessation of violence, not genuine just peace. 

We often hear Christians calling upon God to do this or do that. But my friend and colleague John Frick made an interesting observation about this. In our prayers about the Holy Land crisis, John said, we should "avoid telling God what to do." 

In other words, while we know God's character and much of his will revealed in Scripture, we do not know God's will exhaustively. 

So, the point is, while we have our desires about how this war is resolved, and we can share these with the Lord, ultimately, we should say, "Lord, your will be done. 

The Psalms, and the entire Bible, though well aware of the human capacity for evil, also proclaim that evil will not have the last word. 

Out of the depths of pain and sorrow, the believer’s heart cries out: “I trust in you, O Lord; I say, You are my God’,” Ps 31:14.


Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023    

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at  

Have you noticed that media tend to present what they call “news” with a distinctive political slant? 

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #116 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.


“Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God? How often have you heard this question on television courtroom dramas?

The phrase “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” is believed to have initially been coined in Old English, and to have become a staple of English trials by approximately the 13th century. The exact wording of the oath can vary, but the general principle of swearing to tell the truth remains a fundamental part of the legal system.

The oath recognizes that it is possible to tell the truth yet fail to tell the whole truth, and thus to misrepresent an occurrence. Notice, too, the oath recognizes it is possible to tell the truth mixed with non-truth—falsehood, lies—and thus to misrepresent an occurrence.

In the wake of the Oct 7 Hamas massacre in the Holy Land and the subsequent military response of the Israeli Defense Force, it’s become increasingly difficult to discern whether we’re hearing the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

I’m often perplexed by people who seem to arrive at what they consider the right and only interpretation, full blown and unassailable—no doubts, rarely any humble admission they might have missed something or simply be wrong—in highly complex circumstances like the current Holy Land crisis.

Partisans, both Democrat and Republican, without a whisper of doubt often look to their leaders or at some calculus regarding political advantage and, boom, they take a rock-solid position. This kind of approach saves time. They don’t have to think. There are a lot of these people in Washington, D.C. and in media.

Then there are ideologues, people who are intellectually and philosophically committed to a particular sociopolitical worldview, who assume positions in lockstep with their cohorts and what they consider the prevailing acceptable narrative. They rarely change their positions, even in the face of facts.

I’m not suggesting partisans or ideologues shouldn’t be free to hold their own views. I’m just wondering how they get to a point they are so certain their non-nuanced position is correct, especially when many have arrived at these positions based upon something less than the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

As a human being, I have biases too, and I am not omniscient. But as a Christian, I want to critique my own thinking and the thinking of others so that I will not be captive to culture, my own history, or as Scripture says, to “hollow and deceptive philosophy” (Col. 2:8).

The gut-wrenching nature of the Holy Land crisis has produced white-hot sensitivities. Yet discerning, thinking, and acting with moral clarity may not be as easy it first seems.

On one level, given the heinous, debased nature of the gruesome Oct 7 Hamas terrorist attack upon unsuspecting, innocent, unarmed Israelis, isn’t moral clarity starkly obvious for any right-thinking person?

Yet on another level, given the large body of Palestinian civilians now in harm’s way, enduring daily massive bombing onslaughts, maybe the morally correct response is not as easy to discern as we first thought.

Israel’s mission to eradicate Hamas. But these terrorists hide amid an urban, civilian population. High casualty rates among innocents are inevitable. People who have questioned Israel’s tactics have been accused of antisemitism. Pro-Israel supporters say Hamas, not Israel, is responsible for death of civilians.

Others, including those who support Israel, note that Israel is a nation state, which is not the same as the Jewish people. It is not ipso facto antisemitic to critique the state’s actions.

Legacy media reports, pundits on both sides of the issue, protestors, and many posting online engage in selective hearing.

Not all, but certainly many, “speak the truth,” but intentionally or maybe because they are uninformed, do not speak “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” In other words, their biases lead them to tell only part of the story.

Proponents build their seemingly incontrovertible statement upon their confirmation bias by selectively seeking, interpreting, and remembering information that supports their existing beliefs or opinions while ignoring or dismissing information that contradicts those beliefs. This failure to grasp the whole truth can lead to a skewed perception of reality and hinder objective decision-making and critical thinking.

For example, memes have been making the rounds on social media stating that Israel has been a Jewish homeland for 4,000 years and never a Palestinian state.

This is historically demonstrable. Some of these memes are simply presented as a show of solidarity with Israel. But some go beyond this, making derogatory remarks about Palestinians as people, or ignoring entirely the fact that they exist.

Without using the phrase, these sorts of meme comments often come off as an in-your-face “No Two State solution—ever” blast at Palestinians. They are boldly saying Palestinians are illegitimate because they did not exist as an organized political entity hundreds of years ago. OK, what do these pro-Israel people, including some Christians, recommend for 5.4 million Palestinians?

You could also say that before 1776 there was no USA. Is the USA illegitimate? 

Frankly, these pro-Israel statements sound a lot like many Pro-Palestinian statements aimed the other direction, like those who chant “From the River to the Sea, Palestine must be free!” OK, what then do these pro-Palestine people recommend for 9.8 million Israelis?

Pro-Palestinian arguments frequently say Israel has treated Gaza as “occupied territory” for fifty years. It’s true, that in 1967, Israel seized control of Gaza in the Six-Day War with Egypt, Jordan and Syria, and held it for nearly 40 years, but Israel has not “occupied” Gaza since it voluntarily withdrew its troops and settlers in 2005. Hamas was elected in 2006, and began threatening its terrorist actions, so Israel, in coordination with Egypt, imposed blockades. Critics say this transformed Gaza into “the world’s largest open-air prison.” Others say Hamas is responsible for Gaza residents’ living conditions.

Pro-Palestinian arguments say Israel is an apartheid state. Meanwhile, those who support Israel note that the Israelis have extended an opportunity for territory ceded to Palestinians and a two-state solution five separate times. Yet each time, Palestinian leaders rejected these overtures. Why? Because the leaders were influenced by extremists who do not under any circumstances acknowledge Israel’s legitimate right to exist and who call for annihilation of the Jewish people

Pro-Israel people support the IDF’s bombardment, while others claim the loss of lives is disproportionate to the Hamas massacre, that killing civilians even if inadvertently is a “war crime,” and it is immoral to hold an entire people collectively responsible for the actions of a terrorist organization. Question is, how should Israel respond?

I read a lot of articles and try to read representative arguments on both or several sides of the issue. What I find, over and over, is that a given media outlet presents events based upon selected, incomplete histories filtered by its left, liberal, or conservative perspective, or filtered by its pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian biases.

What this means is, a given media outlet may present truth, but rarely the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

In the face of the Holy Land crisis, I find it mind-blowing to watch American university students, later all ages, protesting not simply on behalf of an admirable concern for Palestinian lives, but chanting “Gas the Jews,” “Israel, Israel, you can’t hide, we want Jewish genocide,” “Long live the Intifada,” “Divest from Zionist genocide now,” “F___ Israel,” “Glory to our martyrs,” etc. American universities have become the source of the very anti-civilizational, barbaric values they were designed to obviate. I never thought I would see open antisemitism, particularly coming largely from those in the political spectrum who have been preaching about hate speech and political correctness for the past decade. But it’s there and it is full blown.

It’s also been disturbing to read commentary, Left and Right, even some Christians, calling for genocide of either Israelis or Palestinians. But on no level is genocide morally justified.

For a few decades now, American culture has been systematically jettisoning the idea of right and wrong in favor of morally relativistic hedonism. The nihilistic chaos we see now is what you get with moral relativism.

While it’s interesting to debate these things, on the ground, people are dying. If you were in the Oval Office, or you were in a position of influence, what would you do?


Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at  

It’s been said that truth is the first casualty of war, and this seems the case as the Israel/Hamas conflict produces a fog of war, but we’re also seeing some things with more clarity.

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #115 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

In times of crisis, especially war, what people really believe emerges in the crucible of fear and anger.

I have been astounded—and disturbed—by some of the reactions to the Holy Land conflict that I have seen thus far.


Hamas live-streamed their terror. Israel showed the world the pictures and videos of the terror. But many people simply denied the terror happened. It was remarkable watching progressive members of Congress refuse to acknowledge the terror. It was more remarkable to see how many antisemites came out of the shadows to cheer on the murders of Israelis while denying the murders even happened.”

“Many antisemites have taken to denying the babies were decapitated, claiming the story was debunked. The story was not debunked. In fact, reporters and military officials have all come forward as eyewitnesses to say they saw it for themselves. 

But, even if the babies had their heads, they were still murdered.”

What do people really believe? Recent, rampant antisemitism, blatantly and bluntly shouted on college campuses and in street demonstrations around the world and in the U.S. is evidence.

Those of us who read or research the radical left knew this was there, but now there’s no excuse for the public knowing this kind of hate is part and parcel of leftist, godless, socialist viewpoints. What has been most surprising to me is the audacity and extent of this antisemitism, like protesters in Australia chanting “Gas the Jews.” Until now, I could not have imagined anyone but neo-Nazis chanting a phrase like that. 

A new phrase is circulating in varying versions: “Palestinian babies are as precious as Israel babies.” Now what right-thinking moral person would disagree with this?

But why is this phrase circulating now, just as Israel is seeking to hold Hamas to account, which seems to suggest the phrase is speaking more to Israel than Hamas. 

In any event, the phrase with associated cuteness memes is making the rounds on social media.


Another clarity: what at first was called “misinformation” has morphed into constant fears of “disinformation,” which of course does exist, but mostly is a term used by the radical left to label any comment that calls into question what’s now called the “prevailing acceptable narrative.” In the blinded minds of the radical left, they think anything with which they disagree should be silenced.

The word, “narrative” is a good word, but it’s been co-opted to mean an ideological messaging point of view. “Prevailing acceptable narrative” is a phrase used now as a bludgeon to silence discussion, on a par with “the science is settled.”

We’ve not only lost our ability to identify right and wrong, now we celebrate wrong, even evil.

This is happening because “America lacks a cohesive and coherent moral compass. In 1981, around 90 percent of Americans identified as Christian, today that number is closer to 60 percent and declining rapidly. America once debated the truth. 

Now, everyone has their own truth, and anyone can be a woman. The ‘woke’ application of relativism across our institutions has banished meritocracy and undermined the rule of law with a politicized federal bureaucracy. The knock-on effects of moral decline and mediocrity are enormous.”

Decades of public education teaching moral relativism is now rearing its head in people arguing that what Israel is doing in self-defense is somehow morally equivalent with what Hamas did in a horrific infiltration resulting in mass execution.

Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) are two of the most vocal and visible terrorist-sympathizing voices on the Hill. Both have a history of anti-Semitic shenanigans, Omar with the more extensive list, including the infamous tweet about Israel having hypnotic powers over the world. Omar, remember, couldn’t denounce radical Islamic terrorists who committed the 9/11 attacks, describing it as an event where ‘some people did something.’” 

Some Hamas sympathizers in the American university and the US Congress argue that the attack didn't happen at all. How seemingly intelligent individuals can embrace such provably false ideas is perplexing.


Another thing has been made starkly clear. Many people are willing to argue for and support peace at any cost. 

I heard Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, AOC, say she believed all parties in this conflict wanted a de-escalation. She willingly ignores both statements and evidence of evil in the name of her version of peace. It makes me wonder whether she has read the Hamas charter, listened to them or Iranian leaders, and does she really believe Hamas will respond to reasoning? Where is justice in a peace achieved at any cost?

A guest of SAT-7’s program last week, A Different Angle, Freddy Al-Bayadi, a Christian member of the Egyptian parliament said, “Peace is tied to justice. If we are calling for peace, then we must call for justice as well. We see biases in some media agencies and governments, where they lean to one side or another regardless of what that side is doing, so they defend that side from any aggression while remaining silent about aggressions being suffered by the other side…Our role as Christians is to clarify that truth and peace come together.”

Certainly, Christians are called upon to pursue peace, God’s peace, in the lives of every individual, by grace through faith in Christ, and God’s peace in the world in which we live. (Rom 12:15-21). The challenge is how to establish a just and lasting peace and upon what values and criteria is peace established? And the bigger question is that this Israel/Hamas conflict is only ostensibly about land. What it is really about is ethnic demography and hate.

How can I say this? Look back at the Khartoum Resolution, 1967, which clarified that Arab states intended to act according to the “three NOs”: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel. The Six-Day War followed shortly thereafter in 1967.

How do you establish peace between two groups when one of them wants to exterminate the other?


Here’s a fourth issue made clear: many people quickly side with Palestinian perspectives out of an a priori choice, and in a similar way many American evangelicals side with Israel a priori. Is this choice rooted in confirmation bias or their worldview or the undue influence of media?

Christians organizations in the U.S. have quickly aligned themselves, leaning toward or firmly placing themselves on one side or the other, Israel or Palestinian. 

Most of these Christian entities favoring Palestine are thankfully not endorsing Hamas terrorism, nor are they expressing antisemitic ideas. They are rather expressing concern for the Palestinian people who are trapped in either the Gaza Strip or the West Bank.

Palestinian proponents say Israel is “occupying” Palestinian territories, perpetuating an apartheid state. Israel proponents say Israel is not “occupying,” only walling and blockading the “disputed” Palestinian territories because of the ongoing threat of suicide bombers (significantly reduced since the West Bank Barrier Wall was built) and, to protect against mass attack like the Hamas infiltration.

Global opinion says Palestinians are not Hamas. True, but others note that Gaza residents celebrated in the streets when they got news of the Hamas massacre. And Israel says the people of Gaza elected Hamas in 2006, and Hamas is responsible for the difficult living conditions in Gaza.

The likelihood of escalation with more state or terrorist actors getting involved is very high. This certainly should be part of our prayers, that Hezbollah does not get more involved coming out of Lebanon in the north, that Iran and Syria stay out of this, that Hamas terrorists be brought to account, and that a just peace can soon be established.


Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s  

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at  

Hamas terrorists recently launched an unprecedented incursion of Israeli territory, killing more civilian Jews in one day than any time since the Holocaust.  How now should Israel and the world respond?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #114 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.


Hamas is a terrorist group, ostensibly representing the people of the Gaza Strip, a group dedicated in its charter to the elimination of the nation state of Israel and of the Jewish people. If any organization could qualify as a hate group, Hamas is it.

Recently, more than one thousand heavily armed, apparently Iranian-backed, Hamas assassins broke through the walled border into Israel and slaughtered defenseless people of all ages. 

Thousands from 36 different countries were killed. Adjusted for population, the total murdered in cold blood adds up to at least six 9/11 attacks. The ones who survived the initial onslaught were taken hostage and back to the Gaza Strip.” No military establishments were targeted. This was an act of extermination, an ethnic-cleansing massacre.

Reaction worldwide has been both revealing and discouraging. Most reasonable people agreed and continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself.

You don't have to pretend the Israeli government is perfect to understand its need to protect its people-- and acknowledge that hatred of Jews is alive and as sickening as ever in our world today.”

“Pope John Paul II said this in 2000 at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. His words feel near today. "How could man have such utter contempt for man? Because he had reached the point of contempt for God. Only a godless ideology could plan and carry out the extermination of a whole people."

“As with the Nazis, and ISIS more recently, any thought that Hamas has a righteous cause is the perversion of any kind of truth or concept of God. Woe to those who have the luxury to pretend otherwise, especially in the West. It's a delusion that spirals into all sorts of justifications for evil.”

Other groups have loudly protested Israel, not just out of concern for Palestinian civilians living in Gaza but in explicit support of Hamas and its tactics, many of these groups blaming Israel, and otherwise expressing bold antisemitic statements.

Demonstrations of “overt support for Hamas killers by the diversity, equity, and inclusion crowd on a lot of campuses” took place under the sponsorship of groups that have been promoting—I should say demanding—racist, so-called “anti-racism” policies and woke philosophies rejecting American Judeo-Christian values. 

Isn’t it strange that groups that have been lecturing the American public about inclusion and anti-racism suddenly find themselves endorsing antisemitic hate?

The usual suspects protesting on behalf of terrorist murderers…are the same leftists working overtime to destroy America from the inside out. They, and the murderous ideology they support through terrorist groups like Hamas, must be defeated.”

Many in American media and among the radical Left argued a moral equivalency in what Hamas did and what they believe Israel is going to do. Conveniently ignored in this is that Israel has always held the moral high ground, not calling for mass execution of Palestinians or Arabs but simply proclaiming its right to exist. 

A saying that’s emerged during the current situation is that “if Arabs put down their arms, there would be peace. If the Jews did the same, they would be annihilated in the Middle East.” It’s hard to find evidence to question this aphorism.

Each Israeli citizen serves in the nation’s military. This includes Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot, who did a two year hitch in the IDF. Because of this, I mistakenly assumed that Israeli citizens, who know how to use rifles, had guns in their homes. However, this is sadly not the case. “In Israel, a lot of these people were slaughtered, unable to resist. The reason: Israeli gun control. There was some sort of myth out there that every Israeli had a rifle in their house, but that's not true. 

Everything is very centralized and very controlled. You couldn't get a gun except in very rare circumstances. There weren't enough people with guns.”

So, reasonable people affirm Israel has a right to conduct legitimate security operations to defend itself from terrorism, and most of these voices, certainly among world leaders, also call for efforts to protect Palestinian Gaza citizens, who are not ipso facto Hamas. But this is an extreme challenge.

As (U.S. Secretary of State Antony) Blinken put it: ‘Hamas continues to use civilians as human shields. Something that's not new, something that they've always done, intentionally putting civilians in harm's way to protect themselves ... So that's one of the basic facts that Israel has to deal with.’"

Add to this that Hamas took more than one hundred hostages, likely including Americans, who likely will be used as human shields. Why else would they take hostages?

Hostage rescue is one of the most complex and dangerous of military missions, usually performed by elite fighting forces. Here, soldiers looking for hostages will have to go into an urban warfare context potentially fraught with danger literally around every corner. It is therefore impossible to believe that what is coming won’t be bloody and deadly.

Calls for an “immediate cessation of violence,” while perhaps understandable on a sentimental level, don’t stand up in a real, fallen world. What Hamas did is on a scale with the worst death squads in history – savagery aimed at executing, raping, and beheading Jews and then mutilating their bodies. Would American allies have urged the United States toward a non-violent response after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941, just to stop the “cycle of violence?”

So, what does legitimate, justifiable, righteous defense in this horrific instance look like?

Christians have often looked to what is called Just War theory, originally propounded by St. Augustine, who held that individuals should not resort immediately to violence, but God had nevertheless given the sword to government for a good reason (Rom 13:4).

Just War theory “is a doctrine, also referred to as a tradition, of military ethics that aims to ensure that a war is morally justifiable through a series of criteria, all of which must be met for a war to be considered just…The criteria are split into two groups: ‘right to go to war’ and ‘right conduct in war’.”

Right to go to war  Competent authority, Probability of success, Last resort, Just cause.

For purposes of this podcast, I am going to focus not on going to war, because this one has started, but on how a war is conducted

On the Right conduct within war, Just War theory weighs in with five principles:

  • Distinction– War must be directed toward combatants, not non-combatants. This prescribes acts of terrorism, attacking neutral targets, bombing residential areas, or killing surrendered combatants.
  • Proportionality – The idea is harm caused to civilians or civilian property should not be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated by an attack on a legitimate military objective. 
  • Military necessity – An attack or action must be intended to help in the defeat of the enemy. It must be an attack on a legitimate military objective.
  • Fair treatment of prisoners of war– It is wrong to torture or otherwise mistreat surrendered or captured enemy combatants.
  • No means malum in se – This is Latin for “wrong or evil in itself.” It means combatants may not use weapons or other methods of warfare that are considered evil, such as mass rape, forcing enemy combatants to fight against their own side, or using weapons whose effects cannot be controlled, like biological/chemical weapons. 

All these principles, developed by great minds in ancient times, refined and deepened on behalf of Christians by St. Augustine and later St Thomas Aquinas, and then tested in the crucibles of war for centuries, make sense, are laudatory, and remain worthy standards.

The difficulty is, of course, on the ground in real-world, complex battle.

The difficulty lies in the sinful human hearts of soldiers from all countries.

The difficulty occurs in interpretation. For example, proportionality. What is a proportional response to 9/11? To the Hamas massacre? Or distinction and military necessity? How do you fight in a densely built out cityscape, door to door, basement to basement, without almost inevitably harming noncombatants?

So again, how do we evaluate what’s “Just”?

As a believer, I hold a moral abhorrence of war, but I recognize that because of sin, sometimes war is necessary. Sometimes war is necessary in the interest not only of safety and security but freedom and peace.

As believers, we desire peace, we should work toward a just peace, and at times we may face the obligation to defend peace.

As a believer, I hold to forgiveness and reconciliation, but I recognize that dark hearts do not always respond, and nothing is left but for legitimate government to act on behalf of justice and peace.

Pray for all people in the Holy Land.


Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at