Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christians? What Christians?

The conflict in the Middle East is commonly presented as a simple, two-sided conflict between Israeli Jews and Arab Muslims — and that is, in fact, how most Muslims in the Middle East regard it. Everyone, however, tends to forget the presence of Palestinian Christians.

Today it is believed that the number of Christians in Israel and occupied Palestine number some 175,000, just over 2 percent of the entire population.

Christianity - which has its origin in the Middle East - was once the dominant religion of the region from as far back as the 4th century (when the Edict of Milan was proclaimed) and for some time after the Muslim conquests of the 7th century, but that number is dwindling fast today.

The Christians of Lebanon, for example, once made up around 55% - a majority - of its population, but after repeated incursions and domestic instability, this majority has been lost.

It is one thing to be simply forgotten by Christians in West, who are usually quick to take up the cause of persecuted Christians abroad, but in Palestine, in a bizarre twist, they aid and abet those who would persecute these Christians. The Christians leave in their hundreds, and those who choose to remain have only Islamic militants as allies.

"We have received far more support and comfort from the Hezbollah in Lebanon than from our fellow Christians in the West," remarked one Christian Palestinian refugee in Damascus. "I want to know, why don’t the Christians in the West do anything to help us? Are the teachings of Jesus nothing but empty slogans to them?"

- The American Conservative, May 24 2004

Why is this?

The majority of Palestinian Christians belong to Apostolic Churches, and perhaps, in the eyes of Protestants, are Mary-worshipping idolaters who deserve no better than Muslim terrorists? That is, however, not the case - most Protestants are unaware of the existence of Palestinian Christians, much less the Churches they belong to.

It is Christian Zionism, a broad movement among Christians (especially the Evangelical Protestants) to champion the Zionist cause. The very establishment and existence of Israel heralds Armageddon and the second coming of Christ. There can be no redemption for mankind without the expansion of Israel to her "historical" borders - and thus, a key tenet of Protestant dispensationalist theology is absolute, blind support for the Zionist state. Palestinian Christians are, of course, acceptable collateral damage in this apocalyptic quest.

This view is, however, not shared even by Protestants who live there. Quoting Anders Strindberg's article from The American Conservative again:

Abbas is one of the handful of Palestinian Christians that could be described as Evangelical, belonging to a group that appears to be distantly related to the Plymouth Brethren. Cherishing the role of devil’s advocate, I had to ask him, "Is the State of Israel not in fact the fulfillment of God’s promise and a necessary step in the second coming of Christ?" Abbas looked at me briefly and laughed. "You’re kidding, right? You know what they do to our people and our land. If I thought that was part of God’s plan, I’d be an atheist in a second."

Apparently, it is up to them to ensure that the conditions as supposedly described in the Book of Revelation are established. Gee, isn't God capable of taking care of a simple task like that?

As Protestants continue to pray for the "triumph" of Israel, these incidents continue:

In a phone conversation today, from Gaza the Latin Patriarchate Church priest, Father Manaweil Musallam, clearly shaken, said, "her name is Christine, a tenth grade student. Her father is a doctor and she lived near the YMCA in Al-Remal area. She died of fear. Since the war started she felt apprehensive of the danger. She suffered from neurotic disorder and a hysteric situation just as many children are suffering. On Friday, during the shooting of F-16 missiles, she fell on the ground due to the dreadful sound. Her father tried to help, but he couldn't. Then he held her in his arms hoping to rescue her in the hospital, but she died before reaching there."

He continued, "the Latin Patriarchate school [where Christine attended] did not face any damages, however, the Rosary Sisters School did face physical damages, since it is located near to the Preventive Security building. Today, no one attended Sunday Mass, no one was able to reach the church... we tried to find an alternative place in the school to do the prayers…I tried to gather the nuns with my own car. Today, the area in which the church is located was shelled, we cannot go there."

Being part of the Greek Orthodox Church, the other congregation in Gaza, means that Christine and her family were looking forward to celebrating their Christmas on January 7th. Instead, they will bury Christine at a time where funerals are a rare commodity, for Gazans cannot keep pace with the mounting dead.

- Uruknet.info, Jan 4, 2009

If anyone ever needed a reason to regard the actions and the beliefs of conservative Evangelicals as both hypocritical and unworthy of serious consideration, this would have to be it. Their support — sometimes tacit and sometimes overt — of actions which harm Palestinian Christians just goes to show that they care far less about humanity and fellow Christians than they do about the ego boost they experience at the idea of coming out on top after Armageddon when everyone else suffers a horrible death.

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Blogger Robert said...


My name is Rev Robert Wright, Editor for Christian.com, a social network made specifically for Christians, by Christians. We embarked on this endeavor to offer the entire Christian community an outlet to join together and better spread the good word of Christianity. Christian.com has many great features like Christian TV, prayer requests, finding a church, receiving church updates and advice. We have emailed you to collaborate with you and your blog to help spread the good word of Christianity. I look forward to your response regarding this matter. Thanks!

Rev. Robert Wright

Sat May 01, 05:30:00 am 2010  

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