Friday, September 01, 2006

The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism

am a Christian and as such live every aspect of my life as best as I can, to represent the true message of Christ. No, I'm not a fanatic, born again, evangelical or Bible literalist. As a Palestinian Christian I draw great pride in being able to say I am a Christian from the land of Christ and as such am always concerned with those Christian's who choose to distort Christ's original message of peace. When I first discovered the idea of Christian Zionism I was stunned and appalled that any Christian could twist such a simple message of peace into...evil!

A couple of days ago the The Vatican's envoy in the Holy Land and bishops from three other churches launched a joint attack on the Christian Zionist movement, accusing it of promoting "racial exclusivity and perpetual war". The document is called: The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism which I have republished below.

Afterwards you can read
Reuters take on the declaration here as published by Yahoo! online.

"THE JERUSALEM DECLARATION ON CHRISTIAN ZIONISM" - Statement by the Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches In Jerusalem

"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 programme 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 pre-emptive 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 undermines 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 non-violently.

"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 Cor 5:19)

His Beattitude 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

August 22, 2006


Tsedek said...

The Evangelists are one of the extreme counter-parts to the extremist parties that decry that Israel is "muslim-land" - also in the name of religion - and thereby using the same theory of preferrence. Unluckily enough for both Palestinians as well as Israeli's - both parties exercise influence since the Israeli government receives a lot of money from the evangelists and the Palestinian government has this theory in his Charter and it is this ideology that prevents them from recognizing Israel (meaning preventing negotiations for peace and an independent autonomous state - so this way they just feed each-other and keep each-other and the conflict alive).

Raed Hamdan said...

Dear Abu Issa
I am so happy to send you this letter wishing you and your family are fine.
I am Raed Moneef Mohareb Hamdan 24 years old from Palestine – Gaza .
I graduated from Islamic University of Gaza as communication and electrical engineer in 1st of February 2006 and I tried to look for a job but Unfortunately, I did not find any job for me. Situation here in Gaza is not helping it is getting worse and worse and it is not stable. The economical situation is very bad and salaries of employees in Palestinian Authority are not paid since 6 months ago and Gaza strip is under siege many months ago.
In addition to all the bad conditions in Gaza , me and my family live hard conditions;
My father died in Saudi Arabia in 1997 and I am eldest of my family and I have 5 brothers and 2 sisters and 3 of them studying in palestinian universities in gaza.

And as I told you previously that I did not find any chance of getting job, I wish that I have chance of job in canada or scholarship of master degree in my feild to continue my education an to help my family. And I attached all my papers that you may need them to help me in that.

Finally, I want to thank you very much for reading my letter
All best wishes to you.
Salam Alikum .

Your sincerely;
Raed Hamdan

Omar El-Mokhtar St.
P.O. Box 1359
Gaza Strip
Phone: +972599773819

Anonymous said...

Let's see how well Christians do under Islamic-fascism. Christians in Iraq, Indonesia, Palestinian territories, and India, just to name a few, don't have much good to report.