Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Evangelicals & The Jews

Religion & Politics

There is a good and timely article in Commentary by Michael Medved, a noted conservative columnist, on the current relationship between Christian evangelicals and the Jews. In "What the Evangelicals Give the Jews," Medved writes:
Advocates of cooperation and coalition-building—call them Collaborationists—cite Christian evangelicals as an indispensable source of support for Israel, without whom U.S. policy in the Middle East could easily tilt toward the Palestinians and Arab nations more generally. According to the Collaborationist argument, Jews and evangelicals should ignore profound differences in their core values and put aside sharp disagreements on American domestic issues in order to make common cause against the existential threat of Islamofascism.
Meanwhile, skeptics who seek to maintain the traditional Jewish wariness toward fervent Christian believers—let’s designate them Rejectionists—insist that the ardent evangelical embrace of the Zionist project only encourages the most intransigent and fanatical elements in Israel, thereby undermining chances for a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians. The doubters, moreover, question the theological sources of Christian Zionism, insisting that sunny proclamations of brotherhood actually mask dark intentions of mass conversion, married to apocalyptic visions that inevitably include the unappetizing prospect of large nuclear explosions in the vicinity of Jerusalem.
As if that weren’t enough, Christian conservatives (or, in the preferred locution of their leftist critics, “the American Taliban”) stand accused by the Rejectionists of seeking to impose the sort of ruthless theocratic rule that would make life intolerable for all religious minorities.
The clashing narratives of both friends and foes of the tentative Jewish-evangelical alliance require considerable correction, or at least corrective context.
I can well understand the fears of the mainstream Jewish community. And I know the arguments of both sides intimately. In truth, the current relationship between evangelical Christians and Jews in America has evolved over the last few decades. It's not a perfect relationship, and there are all kinds of apocalyptic views mixed in with Christian Zionism and end times prophecy, but in the end it's a good and loyal relationship built on respect for the Jewish People and the Torah. 

I would recommend reading the rest of the article; it might give you another view of evangelical Christians and how their views and ardent support are good for Israel. But Medved goes further: "The stronger argument insists that evangelical Christians deserve our friendship and cooperation because they aren’t just good for Israel; they’re good for America." 
[Read more at Commentary]