09 February 2015

Christian Zionism. Why is it vital for everyone to understand it's development?

Reverend Dr. Stephen Sizer is an expert on Christian Zionism.  It was the subject of the Ph.D. dissertation he earned and was working on during the 90's. 

There are currently many reports about a brouhaha associated with a link Reverend Sizer posted, with comment, on a social networking site.  This is only one of the many articles:  "Church bans pro-Palestinian cleric from talking about Middle East"

"A Church of England vicar who posted a Facebook link questioning if Israel was behind the 9/11 attacks has been banned from speaking, writing, tweeting or blogging on the Middle East by the Church of England."

Apparently it was considered far worse than a faux pas for him to state about the link he posted that "it raises questions".  But the purpose of all conspiracy theories is to raise questions, no matter how off base or on target they may be.  However, we must keep in mind that his expertise on Christian Zionism already has him being watched more closely and carefully for the purpose of criticizing his work.  Sizer did apologize for offending by posting the link and comment during the commemoration of the WWII Holocaust.   I consider his timing of that post to be similar to the Texas government's faux pas of holding Muslim Capitol Day at the state capital during the annual commemoration of the WWII Holocaust.  It should have been understood that the Zionists in the Texas State government would be offended at the timing.   The hate-mongering that focused on Muslims was inexcusable of course, but perhaps it could have been avoided . . . or not . . . by having scheduled Muslim Capitol Day at a more suitable time.  Were the haters Christian Zionists?  Maybe, maybe not.  Basically those who support the ideology of Zionism are Zionists.  But it is vital, especially for Americans, to understand how the theology of Christian Zionism evolved into a political crusade because of our separation of church and state which is intended to protect government from religion, and to protect religion from government.  [
Article the third... Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.]

Whatever Stephen Sizer's personal political views, his theological work on Christian Zionism must be and is clarified within the history of the politics of the government of Israel's ideological Zionism.  In that clarification it can become clear to anyone that the politics of ideological Zionism is the problem that created what today we consider to be the Israel/Palestine issues.  It also clarifies how our American government become duped into becoming so intertwined with Israel's territorial ideology of political Zionism - in large part due to the religious beliefs of American Christian Zionists.   And because of the American government's support of the government of Israeli's  Zionist ideology, America is also unconstitutionally politically supporting the specific theological tenets of Christian Zionists in America because of our established policies regarding Israel . . . like continuing to provide over $3Billion a year of military aid to Israel.  It is in violation of our own laws, because of the use to which Israel puts that aid which violates international laws of occupation. 

Some would say the complexity of political issues associated with ideological Zionism is as sure a verification as any of Marx' claim of religion being the opiate of the people.  Be that as it may, what it demonstrates to me is that professing a religion without a scholar's knowledge of the religion is a dangerous business.  Many are born into a religion that is a habit of belief, attitude, and behavior often as familial as it is religious.  But to avoid having one's professed religion being used as an unholy political weapon it is advisable to learn the history of the development of it's theology which must be within the context of history.  "Unholy political weapon" although seemingly strong language, is quite apropos due to the fact that nearly every conflict in history has some sort of religious dimension, either as cause or as a weapon of justification for military conflict.  The unholy political weapon is politics masquerading as religion.

Surely world history demonstrates how vitally important it is to truly understand what we profess to belief so that it can not inadvertently be used against us
as a means to a political end, because of our own ignorance.  Because "separation of church and state" is at the foundation of our nation's establishment, this vital understanding should be a natural part of the American character.   So why does it not seem to be?  And why is it not reflected in our nation's policies?

Because Stephen Sizer is currently in the news it would be a good time to understand the expertise he is able to share about the theology of Christian Zionism.  I offer the 1 hour 15 minute video of Dr. Sizer discussing his book  "Christian Zionism Road-map to Armageddon?" published by InterVarsity Press, www. ivpress.com, presented by the author and the Bishop's Committee on Justice and Peace in Israel/Palestine, Episcopal Diocese of Olympia (USA), at Trinity Parish Church in Seattle Washington 25 June 2007.

Keep in mind the presentation is directed toward a Christian audience, and it IS theological and historical.  But it can be a learning experience
for anyone about the political chaos and complexity that is a result of the theology of Christian Zionism which supports the government of Israeli's ideological political Zionist form of government.  The problems Sizer discusses in 2007 are as current today as they were then. For those concerned about the group of people in Congress who work to superimpose a mix of religious dogma onto political decision making, Sizer's lecture can add some clarity to what is motivating it. [Note:  I did said "religious dogma", meaning tenets of a specific religious belief which in effort to superimpose them on government policy-making becomes unconstitutional.  Of course the religious values and principles which are common to all religions and philosophies informed our government from the start and continue to do so.]

An excerpt from the 2007 video presentation:

"While not all Christian Zionists endorse an apocalyptic future, the movement as a whole is never-the-less leading the west and the church with it into a confrontation with Islam using biblical terminology to justify a preemptive global war against the axis of evil; merely reinforces stereotype, fuels extremism, incites fundamentalism, and increases the likelihood of a nuclear holocaust. From a theological perspective to offer a critique of Christian Zionism is not anti-Semitism. We should repudiate any form of racism, any form of hatred of a people group be they Jews or Muslims."

The above from a 2007 presentation, after this understanding was common knowledge among those paying attention to these issues, some for a decade, some for many decades. 

The first 58 minutes are primarily history.  It may be labor intensive to listen and understand but it may be one of the most educational 58 minutes of insight worth understanding that some have engaged in recently.  Sizer briefly comments, personally, before the 15 minute Q and A.

Zionists, no matter what religion or philosophy they embrace support all the illegal atrocities the nation of Israel engages in as an occupier of the people who live on the land the government of Israel wants to claim as greater Israel.   Some feel badly about the suffering
directed at the occupied Palestinian people because of the institutionalized terror policies of the Israeli government's ideological Zionism.  But feeling badly is not a solution.  Zionists continue to support those policies because they are ideological Zionists using religion as a political weapon.  Stephen Sizer teaches how theological Christian Zionism developed as a political movement that some Christian Zionists are unwittingly a part of without realizing it.  My question:  If good, decent Christians knew would they continue to knowingly support the atrocities associated with the government of Israel's territorial land-grab which uses and abuses religions as a weapon to achieve it's ends?