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Christian Zionists and false prophets

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  • Daoud Kuttab
    The following appeared in the TimesSelect on the one line New York Times web sit By Daoud Kuttab, Ramallah, West Bank As if we don t have enough problems with
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 11, 2006
      The following appeared in the TimesSelect on the one line New York
      Times web sit

      By Daoud Kuttab, Ramallah, West Bank

      As if we don't have enough problems with Muslim and Jewish
      fundamentalists, we are now confronted with yet another -ist.
      Christian Zionists, mostly from the United States, are trying to
      throw their weight behind one of the parties, in effect calling for
      the continuation of the war and carnage in Lebanon.

      A small minority of evangelical Christians have entered the Middle
      East political arena with some of the most un-Christian statements I
      have ever heard. The latest gems come from people like Pat
      Robertson, the founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting
      Network, and Rev. John Hagee of Christians United for Israel. Hagee,
      a popular televangelist who leads the 18,000-member Cornerstone
      Church in San Antonio, ratcheted up his rhetoric this year with the
      publication of his book, "Jerusalem Countdown," in which he argues
      that a confrontation with Iran is a necessary precondition for
      Armageddon (which will mean the death of most Jews, in his eyes) and
      the Second Coming of Christ
      In the best-selling book, Hagee insists that the United States must
      join Israel in a preemptive military strike against Iran to fulfill
      God's plan for both Israel and the West. Shortly after the book's
      publication, he launched Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which,
      as the Christian version of the powerful American Israel Public
      Affairs Committee, he said would cause "a political earthquake."
      With the outbreak of the war on Lebanon, he and others have called
      to their followers to pray for Israel, and for the continuation of
      the war on Lebanon. They have demanded that Israel not relent in
      what they call the need to destroy Hezbollah and Hamas. They seem to
      have completely forgotten the very core of the Christian faith.

      I have been watching many American evangelicals trying to distance
      themselves from the calls in the name of the Almighty for the war to
      continue. As Christian leaders of all persuasions, including leaders
      of evangelical churches, are calling for Mideast peace and an
      immediate cease-fire, these Christian Zionists want their followers
      to pray only for Israel.

      One e-mail message that was making the rounds came from a prominent
      U.S. evangelical Christian totally upset with an interview that Pat
      Robertson gave to the Jerusalem Post. In it, Robertson appears more
      pro-Israeli than the Israelis themselves and expresses anger at the
      notion that Israelis might not completely finish off Hezbollah — a
      task that he somehow sees as God's will. The author of the above-
      mentioned e-mail message, Serge Duss of World Vision, a Christian
      relief organization, called the Robertson interview "a perversion of
      the Gospel of Jesus." Duss writes that he is sure that many
      evangelicals strongly disagree and would gladly refute Robertson's
      distorted theology.

      Duss insists that American evangelicals are praying for 1) the
      people of Israel and Lebanon; 2) for a cease-fire, so that lives
      will be spared and 3) for peace with justice for all people in the
      Middle East.

      The discussion has reminded me of so many calls I heard as a young
      Christian boy growing up in Bethlehem and Jerusalem: the false
      prophets that have predicted the end days and the presence of the
      anti-Christ are too numerous to list here. But I vividly remember
      the very same Pat Robertson in 1982 as he spoke on C.B.N.'s "700
      Club." He stood in front of a map of the Middle East, opened up a
      copy of the Old Testamant and claimed to know what a particular
      prophecy meant in geopolitical terms. As the Begin-Sharon army at
      the time was besieging Beirut, he pointed out exactly what he said
      would happen next. In particular he was keen to repeat that the
      P.L.O.'s leader at the time, Yasir Arafat, was none other than the
      anti-Christ himself.

      Less than 13 years after that international broadcast, Robertson was
      filmed visiting Arafat in Gaza, delivering food and milk to
      Palestinians and applauding the peace agreement that Arafat had
      signed with Israel's Yitzhak Rabin.

      Christian Zionists who use religious rhetoric to justify political
      and military actions are no better than Jewish or Islamic
      fundamentalists who make similar outlandish claims. Peace in the
      Middle East should be about the liberty, independence and freedoms
      of all the people of the region, and not about whose promised land
      the Holy Land is.

      For the time being, I, as a Christian Palestinian, prefer to follow
      the words of Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. "Blessed are the
      peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God."
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