PCUSA and Wheaton College Join in Slandering Israel?
Among mainline Christians of a certain political bent, lying in the pursuit of ideological goals is not only sinful, it is positively praiseworthy. An example of this behavior is currently on view at the web site of First Presbyterian Church of Wheaton, Illinois (PCUSA), where the ideology is anti-Zionism, and the lie is imputing racism to the most multicultural society in the Middle East:
World Peace is in danger because some philosophies are having terrible unintended consequences. Zionism was a Jewish movement to find a safe haven from anti-Semitism. Christian Zionism evolved from prophetic ideas and beliefs about the end of time. While well intended concepts, the results have become very dangerous. Zionists in Israel have created a state that wants racial purity. Many Zionists want native-born Christians to leave Israel. Christian Zionists in America support Israel because they believe this will accelerate the second coming of Christ. The conflicts in the Middle East have become more agitated because of these ideas. [Emphasis added.]
This bigoted, lying paragraph appears on a poster that is, perhaps, gracing a bulletin board at FPC-W. What’s wrong with it?
1) The use of the past tense in the second sentence implies that Zionism, while well-intended, is no longer about the purpose for which it was founded. That is a lie.
2) To say that Israel is a state “that wants racial purity” is a vile lie. Israel’s Arab population is 20% and growing. Arabs–many of whom are hostile to the country of which they are citizens–have a full panoply of rights that are not possessed by the entire populations of most Middle East and Muslim-majority states. They have roles in Israel as jurists, MKs, journalists, businesspeople, entertainers and so on that no Jew has had for decades in the lands from which they were expelled following World War II. Most importantly, there is no move among any but the fringiest elements of Israeli society to bring about a “racially pure” Israel, while the Palestinians have already made clear that their state, once it has been established, will be wholly Judenrein.
Oh, and using the expression “racial purity” not only expresses a Nazi-like view of the Jewish people, it is a deliberate attempt to smear Israel with the Nazi brush. Despicable.
3) “Many” is a weasel word that can mean anything. No significant figure in Israel has suggested that Arab Christians (or Muslims, for that matter) should leave Israel. This is like saying that “many” Americans believe that the Queen of England is a drug dealer because Lyndon LaRouche and his cult followers happen to think so.
4) The “conflicts in the Middle East”–Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iraq–are “more agitated” because of Zionism? Al Qaeda and other Islamist fanatics are slaughtering other Muslims in Syria because of Israel? Libya and Egypt have fallen into political chaos because of Israel? Iraq does not yet have peace, Sunnis and Shiites remain at one another throats, because of Israel? Are these people so tunnel-visioned that they are actually unaware that there are “conflicts” in the Middle East that have nothing to Israel? Or have they thrown in their lot with the conspiracy theorists of the anti-Semitic cesspools on the left and the right who think that Jews are behind everything that ails humanity?
This poster raises another disturbing question. The person whose speaking engagement at FPC-W it is meant to publicize, Gary Burge, is an evangelical anti-Zionist who teaches at Wheaton College. Does it represent his viewpoint? Does he traffic in the lies found in this poster? Does Wheaton College stand behind teaching like this?
The presence of blatant bigotry and out-and-out lies with regard to Israel is not new in the PCUSA. Gary Burge has normally at least a bit more circumspect in making his case against Israel. This poster, and the association of his name and Wheaton College with it, means that some folks have some ‘splainin’ to do.
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