19 Apr 2021

“Christianity” Today

Something I think few of us ever thought we’d see has actually been with us a long time in the American Church:

Bashing Israel.

It’s horrifying to watch the continued slide away from the People of the Book. That it’s accelerating due to the help of American Christians is mind-boggling. I write about this frequently, in part because it’s also an underreported story. Some outlets, like CAMERA, do a terrific job highlighting this blight on the Church. Most ignore it.

The flagship periodical of the evangelical world, Christianity Today, has been operating from the Chicago suburbs since 1955. CT was never conservative—it was founded in part to counter the fundamentalists—but for at least 25 years, the leftward drift has been disturbing. Nowhere is this more evident than in the reporting about the Jewish state.

I have said plainly many times: many, many American professing Christians simply don’t like Jews. I base this on documented hit pieces from the Christianity community and at least hundreds of personal conversations and exchanges with leadership and laity. When Christian leaders like Mart Green and Russell Moore refuse to be interviewed about their disturbing views on Israel, one realizes the animus towards Israel is profound.

A year ago, CT ran a piece by Griffin Paul Jackson, a Chicago writer, reporting on the effects of the coronavirus on Palestinians. Let me note the obvious: Israel and the international Jewish community had nothing to do with the virus unleashed on all of us by the Chinese Communists. In fact, Israel has been at the forefront of dealing with the outbreak.

The article by Griffin Paul Jackson highlights the toll taken by the coronavirus outbreak in the Palestinian territories, including Bethlehem and Nazareth. Interestingly, the headline chosen for the piece blasts Israel:

“Bethlehem Christians Bear Burden of Israel’s Coronavirus Crackdown.”

Let me say this plainly, too: That headline is an intentional lie aimed at hurting Israel among America’s evangelical population.

Buried in the story is this:

“Thousands of residents and foreign visitors are already living under quarantine. Churches and mosques have closed their doors. And the Palestinian Authority has barred all pilgrims and vacationers for at least two weeks.

“As a result, Bethlehem, where 70 percent of the economy revolves around tourism, is now entirely blocked to tourists.

“’The virus outbreak will ruin the city economically,’ said Mitri Raheb, president of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem. (The university has been closed since March 5, ordered to suspend all programs by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.)”

And there was this:

“And the Palestinian Authority has barred all pilgrims and vacationers for at least two weeks.”

Notice in all these paragraphs that Israel is nowhere to be seen. The villains in reality are the coronavirus and PLO/PA decision-making.

This logic though will be lost on the many who will see the inflammatory CT headline and think (yet again), “Those dirty Jews…”

Quoting anti-Israel activists like Raheb and Munther Isaac, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem and academic dean of Bethlehem Bible College, is old hat for anti-Israel activists, who are growing like weeds within evangelicalism. A decade ago, then-director of Christians United for Israel, David Brog said that if something isn’t done, the situation will be grim in 10 years.

Here we are.

(David himself worked and works mightily to combat these evil prejudices, but I know from personal experience many other groups did nothing to stop this rot.)

Throughout the article, Jackson and CT discuss other devastations to the local Palestinian economy, including the Arab Spring in Egypt a few years ago. None of these events had anything at all to do with Israel!

No, this is outright propaganda.

Jackson’s website bio reads thus:

“Griffin Paul Jackson is a husband, father, and writer living in Chicago. He is a regular contributor for Christianity Today and is the lead writer for one of the world’s top economic consultancies. Griffin edited and wrote for the Chicago Tribune from 2012 through 2015, then moved to Lebanon to work in refugee emergency response, which he did for two years. Griffin grew up in Michigan, graduated from Calvin College, and earned his master’s in international relations from the University of Chicago. His work has appeared in Slate and Al Jazeera, among other places.”

This is a garden-variety bio for an evangelical, anti-Israel activist. Calvin College is left-wing (as is Wheaton). And why would any self-respecting Christian writer allow his byline to appear at Al Jazeera?

Though he has been mocked by the elitists for years, Hal Lindsey was prescient in writing such books as The Terminal Generation.

What an accurate description for a people that, among other things, hate Jews and Israel.