Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Another Look at the Middle East Problem

The Roman Catholic Church has had part of its flock in the Middle East for a long, long time. Thus, when the current Bishop/Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michael Sabbah, has something to say, it is worth reading and thinking about.

"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9)

Christian Zionism is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel.

The Christian Zionist program provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it laces an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ's love and justice today.

We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.

We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral preemptive borders and domination over Palestine.

This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of the world.

We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ.

Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from the ideologies of militarism and occupation. Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!

We call upon Christians in Churches on every continent to pray for the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom are suffering as victims of occupation and militarism. These discriminative actions are turning Palestine into impoverished ghettos surrounded by exclusive Israeli settlements.

The establishment of the illegal settlements and the construction of the Separation Wall on confiscated Palestinian land undermine the viability of a Palestinian state as well as peace and security in the entire region.

We call upon all Churches that remain silent, to break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land.

Therefore, we commit ourselves to the following principles as an alternative way:

We affirm that all people are created in the image of God. In turn they are called to honor the dignity of every human being and to respect their inalienable rights.

We affirm that Israelis and Palestinians are capable of living together within peace, justice and security.

We affirm that Palestinians are one people, both Muslim and Christian. We reject all attempts to subvert and fragment their unity.

We call upon all people to reject the narrow world view of Christian Zionism and other ideologies that privilege one people at the expense of others.

We are committed to non-violent resistance as the most effective means to end the illegal occupation in order to attain a just and lasting peace.

With urgency we warn that Christian Zionism and its alliances are justifying colonization, apartheid and empire-building.

God demands that justice be done. No enduring peace, security or reconciliation is possible without the foundation of justice. The demands of justice will not disappear. The struggle for justice must be pursued diligently and persistently but without violence.

"What does the Lord require of you: To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

This is where we take our stand. We stand for justice. We can do no other. Justice alone guarantees a peace that will lead to reconciliation with a life of security and prosperity for all the peoples of our land. By standing on the side of justice, we open ourselves to the work of peace -- and working for peace makes us children of God."

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:19)

Patriarch Michel Sabbah Latin Patriarchate, Jerusalem

Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem

Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land

These are serious people with serious concerns, and they happen to know what's going on in the Middle East--unlike some who pontificate from comfortable chairs behind "golden microphones" or in New York City editorial offices--such as at NRO, for example.

It has been clear that this "Christian Zionism" affects the worldview and editorial concepts behind many of today's electronic media outlets.

I hardly expect that the opinion-maker/Christian Zionists will pay much attention to this statement. But people should.


Brother James said...

Looking at the MSM, you figure why Al Jazeera came into being, as CNN and Fox have coverage clearly biased for Israel. Arabs/Muslims feel entitled to an equal outlet of agitation propaganda disguised as journalism.
The whole region is messed up, and both the Zionist side and the Arab/Islamic side are seriously deficient. Only Christ can lead the way out of these centuries of bitter reprisals, so we need to be busy proclaiming the Gospel, to convert the feuding members, instead of kissing each side's hindquarters and selling them guns.

Neo-Con Tastic said...

I don't feel that our MSM is of a christian zionism. Perhaps you could categorize Fox as being a democracy zionist but that's it.

Furthermore, how do these comments effect the Church's stand on the crusades?

Dad29 said...

The MSM is atheist.

Limbaugh, Fox, NRO, WorldNetDaily and the Weekly Standard are "Christian Zionist," to one extent or the other.

What do the Crusades have to do with this? The Crusades were fought to restore Catholic possessions in Jerusalem (and some other places in Palestine) after the Muhammedans took them.

The Holy Land has long been occupied by Catholics, especially Lebanon and Palestine. They have a right to be there...

The "Zionism" thing is a millenialist/end-of-the-world weltanschauung . The "Left Behind" series of books is what started it off. Now a number of "Christians" are looking for Armageddon to commence; for that to happen, Jerusalem must be under attack.

Remember, the Old Covenant is NO LONGER IN FORCE.