Culture

Will Gay Marriage Derail Evangelical Support for Israel?

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As world leaders gathered to discuss the future of Israel, speculations and suspicions swirled around American Christians’ motives and commitment to Israel’s right to exist.

From Tablet’s Why Gay Marriage–Not AIPAC–May Determine Whether Bibi Bombs Iran:

Bibi’s possible choice of a military option would be premised in part on the assumption that Israel enjoys a strong bedrock of support in the United States—not Jews, but Christian evangelicals. The problem with the assumption that Israel can rely on its Christian supporters—and the majority of Congress that is reliant on their votes—is that some younger evangelicals are now tilting against support for the Jewish state. Oddly, the issue that may decide whether Israel can count on the United States in the future is not President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, but the evangelical schism on the issue of gay marriage.

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American evangelical support for Israel is based on a fundamentalist reading of the Bible, in particular this passage from the Book of Genesis, Chapter 12, Verse 3: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” The political expression of the mainstream evangelical exegesis of this passage is John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, which is the country’s largest pro-Israel organization—a fact that is hardly surprising, given that, according to the recent Pew study, more evangelicals believe that God gave Israel to the Jews than American Jews do, 82 percent to 40 percent.

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Contrary to what many liberals believe, and many conservatives like to pretend, the fundamentalist movement, like Judaism, is not a unitary political or theological force. Evangelicals lack a single guiding leader, as Catholics have in the pope, and as a result schisms in their movement have played a large if often understated role in American history. One such historic schism may be opening up beneath the feet of the pro-Israel community right now.

Evoking Hollywood images of the Scopes trial to illustrate the point, author Lee Smith claims that just as evolution split fundamentalists into sides that fought over the literal interpretation of creation, leaving them them looking foolish and archaic, so too will those that believe in the out-of-touch ideal of marriage as only one man and one woman look foolish.

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So, what message can you send to show that you’re not one of these retrograde, conservative, gay-hating evangelicals? One way they’ve found to go against the conservative tide is to embrace anti-Zionism.

Foolish, rebellious youth–Christian or not– will always find a way to buck the establishment and attempt to prove they are wiser and more enlightened than the previous generation. It’s also an added bonus when you can do so looking morally superior.

If the author is correct and there is a movement underfoot among young Christians to support Palestine, it would be disturbing but not surprising–and certainly not for the reason stated by the author.

It would be a victory in the war of disinformation and the popular culture’s trend of turning antisemitism, Marxism, and the destruction of capitalism into something that’s “hip.”

For the record, Christians who support Israel do so for more reasons than the seemingly self-serving scripture the author states.

There is also another shift in the Christian world that shouldn’t be dismissed. Smith writes, “Evangelicals lack a single guiding leader, as Catholics have in the pope, and as a result schisms in their movement have played a large if often understated role in American history.”

That leader is commonly called Jesus. I realize that in the face of all that has been done in his name, that concept is hard for so many to understand–especially Israel.

More and more young followers of Christ are rejecting historical Christianity and the tenets that led to so many atrocities committed in their Savior’s name. They seek to embrace Christ and follow his teachings rather than a religion.

Many followers of Christ from all denominations support Israel, simply because they too worship the God of Israel and serve Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah), who said,

“You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.”  John 4:22

As followers of the risen Christ, we pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and support Israel. We will continue to do so, even as gay pride marchers flaunt their sexuality through the city streets.

Without the protection and freedom Israel offers, those marching could be thrust into the evil and horrendous situation that waits outside her borders.

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Photo Credits, Shutterstock;  ChameleonsEye