Ever since our president made a speech on May 19 in which he suggested a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine with pre-1967 borders, I’ve seen a ton of posts on Facebook and in the news media in which Christians claim to support Israel over Obama. Now, I understand that the politics involved with economic and military allegiances are complex, and that there will be disagreement over any foreign policy. I don’t want to get into various opinions on whether or not Obama’s foreign policy best advances American interests in the region… that’s a conversation for another day.
What I question, though, is the attitude among many Christians (which has been around far longer than the last two weeks) that the nation of Israel can do no wrong, and that any criticism of Israeli policy (or borders, in this case) is tantamount to an attack on God himself. Evangelicals commonly claim a Scriptural mandate to support the political nation-state of Israel, no matter what. But is that mandate really there? Does the Bible obligate Christians to support Israel?
Rather than try to answer this myself, let me direct you to a recent article by Michael Horton which addresses this very question. His answer and reasoning is excellent; I hope you’ll read it! (“Biblical Foreign Policy?”)
Again, while acknowledging that there may be many political reasons to support the nation of Israel, I do not believe that there is necessarily any theological reason to do so. I’m sure many will disagree, which is fine. What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know. I’m still working through this question myself, and would welcome some dialogue as I develop my own thoughts.
Update: Douglas Wilson, a pastor and thinker I admire, addressed this same issue this morning. Though he agrees that Scripture does not obligate Christians to support Israel, and that Zionism (which resulted in carving up Palestine to create a nation for ethnic Jews) was a bad idea to begin with, he proposes reasons why we should support Israel politically. As he says, the Middle East is a mess, but one must “play the hand you hold” rather than speak theoretically about what should be. Check it out.