Published by The Freeman Center
The Maccabean Online
Political Analysis and Commentary
John Hagee and CUFI...Friend Or Foe?
by Gerald A. Honigman
There\'s a debate going on among Jews these days about organizations like Pastor John Hagee\'s Christians United For Israel.
Millennia of forced conversions, massacres, expulsions, autos-da-fes, dehumanization, demonization, and so forth--frequently done in the name of the Christian Prince Of Peace--have taken their toll. The road to Auschwitz itself was indeed paved with many \'religious\' stones.
A good friend of mine and myself were recently discussing Christian support for Jews and Israel. Neither of us are naïve, and both of us are seasoned observers of the Jewish scene.
I remember, as a small child, having Christians knocking on my door telling me that my family was going to Hell…in Philadelphia, no less--with some 400,000 Jews in its environs. Imagine what it’s like out yonder ways.
As a doctoral student, I remember studying Christian theology as part of my interest in 1st century C.E. Judaism and the revolt against Rome. So I know the theological reasons for some Christians’ support of Israel as well as the fate of Jews after the 2nd Coming in that theology.
While doing those graduate studies, I also worked for years for an organization which monitored Christian proselytizing groups (among other things). So, when it comes to skeptics on this issue, I’m no greenhorn.
Having said this, I’m convinced that groups like Pastor John Hagee’s Christians United For Israel (CUFI) and Christian Action For Israel (CAFI) are among the best friends both Israel and Jews have right now…at a time when any of such friends are indeed a rarity.
CAFI has helped me spread such articles as Thinking Jerusalem around for years now http://christianactionforisrael.org/thinking.html. And check out CUFI’s Nights To Honor Israel and tell me you see something other than good here… http://www.cufi.org/site/PageServer?pagename=events_honor_israel
Few things are ever clear cut or risk free, and many Christians still embrace replacement theology.
But, here in the States, tens of millions of these folks have more clout than a relative handful of Jews--over half of whom don\'t really care about Israel anyway. I deal with the latter too. They\'re funding Obama, crying about the poor \'Palestinians\' Israel allegedly abuses, asking Israel to make suicidal concessions, etc. and so forth. I worry more about such tribal members more than Evangelicals right now--especially since there are plenty of similar Hebrew morons in Israel too.
I\'ve worked with local pastors involved in John Hagee-type activities (\'Peace For Israel\' celebrations, interfaith pilgrimages to Israel, and so forth) for years now. I\'ve seen tears in their eyes as they and their flocks embraced Jews and asked them for forgiveness for past Christian sins towards the Jewish People. Thousands of folks--mostly Christians--attended these local events. Not a Jewish dime was involved--all Christian sponsored, raising huge amounts of $$$ for Israel at same time.
But, again, as I stated, I\'m not naive. I understand Christian theology quite well.
They believe what they believe, we believe what we believe.
But, as long as they\'re not forcing it up our derrieres (as was done far too often in the past) and focusing on what they\'re focusing on instead, I don\'t know what else one can ask for.
These particular folks are not actively proselytizing us...indeed, I have openly discussed this with them. And they have rejected replacement theology and frequently speak of this rejection.
Do some other Christian groups engage so--including some associated with CUFI?
But, again, that\'s more our problem than theirs.
Would they like us all to be good Christians. Probably...And we’d like them all to see where they strayed as well.
On this particular issue, the real question is, what are Jews doing wrong if the beauty and messages of our Hebraic Prophets, Psalms, and Torah are being ignored or simply bypassed by our own people?
Sorry, but if you want someone to blame, then start with our own religious leaders.
If our Bible teaches “Love thy neighbor as thyself;” “What does the Lord require of thee but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy G_d;” “Offer Me not vain sacrifices if ye do not justice for the widow and the orphan;” etc. and so forth, and our kids still think they have to go elsewhere to find a G_d of love, then--again--whose fault is it? Not CUFI’s…that’s for sure.
If one has never seen thousands of Christians at a rally for Israel, lobbying Congress, the President, etc., then please try to imagine this. I have…Such support is critical here in the States--and thus for Israel too. We have too many Hebrews like James Baker’s “Jew Boy,” Dan Kurtzer (now Obama’s Middle East point man), in the Government instead who, to get ahead, accept the oil-tainted State Department’s view that to be pro-America one has to be hostile to Israel.
I’ll take my chances with John Hagee any day over such fellow tribal members.
CUFI, CAFI, et al are fighting for a better here and now for Israel--something such above Jew landsmen don’t think twice about undermining. Are they concerned about the Hereafter too.? Sure! But the deal is that they don\'t get the latter without the former...
So, along with my Christian friends (and not all Christians are our friends), I\'ll worry about the World To Come after this one is made safer for Israel and Jews in the here and now.