Wow, so much to say here and so little time. This is a topic that is dear to my heart and that is the treatment of the Palestinian people. This week Jimmy Carter toured Gaza and had a couple of media events. In the one today, he said that the people of Gaza are treated like animals. The reason he said it? Simply because it is true. He has the nerve to say it . . . making him a hated one among many evangelicals.
My point here is that our eschatology should never determine our morality. Christians (nor anyone for that matter) shouldn't let their political lens determine their ethics.
I know how the Palestinian people have been abused. I strongly recommend the book, Blood Brothers, written by a Christian Palestinian who lived through the establishment of the nationhood of Israel. He tells a very moving story about how his family was removed from their land . . . against their will.
Of course I am not a anti-Semite. I am a pro person because all people are created in the image of the God that I serve. The holocaust of course did happen and it was one of the worst events, and most evil, in human history. But this does not make the Palestinian people somehow worth less. Yes, in their great frustration (and not to justify evil in any means) some Palestinians have taken the unfortunate course of violence. That is evil too.
But here is my commentary. I can not ask for prayer for the Palestinian people in my church without people rolling their eyes. I can not say that I believe peace in the Middle East is possible, and should be our goal, without my Evangelical friends scoffing. What ever happened to the concept of the blessedness of the peacemakers?
I was once doing a sermon (in a Lutheran church of all places) about our ministry to reach Muslims. I remember a young man marching up to the podium when I was done and almost verbally attacking me. All I did was say a few words out of compassion for the Palestinian people and that one of the reasons the Muslims are so opposed to Christianity is that American Christians (not Christians in other countries) turn a blind eye to the extreme racism that's practiced in Israel. I know because I spent an entire day in the car with a Palestinian and watched how he was humiliated at every check point by the Israeli army.
I too love the Jews. But as Christians we can not let our dogmatic view of a very specific eschatological concept (God caused Israel to become a nation again in preparation for eminent return of Christ) to influence our view of justice.
Jimmy Carter has been a Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher his entire life. His honesty, humility and boldness . . . his work to help the homeless, all those add up to a brand of Christianity that I envy. Yeah, envy is the correct word.