Dennis Prager, on this morning’s radio show, directed me to an LA Times Op-ED by Zev Chafets, a non-religious Jew. In it, Chafets explains, once again, why American Jews have to shake off their atavistic fear of American Christians:
For millions of American evangelical voters, living right includes supporting Israel. Last week, Pentecostal televangelist Rev. John Hagee of San Antonio, one of the rising forces in American Christian Zionism, convened a meeting in Washington of Christians Unified for Israel. Hagee sees the newly formed group as an evangelical American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, dedicated to lobbying on Israel’s behalf, especially in states where Jews are few and far between. Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas attended Hagee’s rally. So did Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Rick Santorum (who is running for his political life). Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman was there. So was the Israeli ambassador, Daniel Ayalon.
Jewish Democrats often decry Republican evangelical support on the grounds that these Christians only want to missionize Jews (and if they do, so what? It’s a free country) or use them as cannon fodder at Armageddon (which matters only if you believe in Armageddon in the first place).
In fact, the main motive for Christian Zionism is not devious. As Hagee said, paraphrasing the Book of Genesis, Chapter 12:3, “God will bless those who bless the Jewish people.”
Now, if you don’t believe in the literal truth of the Bible, this probably sounds like a Christian Hallmark card sentiment. But if you do, it’s a marching order.
The idea of militant evangelicals mobilizing for Israel frightens those who believe fundamentalists are trying to push the United States into a war to hasten Armageddon. But they miss the point. One of the central attributes of conservative evangelical Christianity is its eschatological passivity. End times will come when God is ready, and there is nothing anyone can do — not give your old clothes to the maid, join the Sierra Club or even go on a Nation magazine Caribbean cruise — that will hasten Paradise.
This resignation once led to evangelical political quietism. But a new generation of leaders, like Falwell and Pat Robertson, taught evangelicals that if they can’t “fix the world” (in the charmingly modest phrase of the liberal religious left), they can at least support causes they find consistent with biblical teaching.
Now, in my personal opinion, some of these biblical principles are very good (honor your father and mother; don’t steal your neighbor’s ass), some less so (for details, contact my former wives). But one principle — supporting Israel in the face of a genocidal Islamic fascism — is excellent.
I couldn’t agree more. Evangelical Christians are exceptionally principled in hewing to Biblical precepts. In addition to looking to specific language in the Bible to support the State of Israel, Evangelical Christians also look to basic moral principles spelled out in the Bible that enable them to support a free Democracy in the Middle East against murderous totalitarian dictators.