Monday, August 14, 2006

NAE Refuses to Officially Support Israel

I read today that the president of the National Association of Evangelicals in the United States said that the NAE has refused to officially support Israel in its conflict with Hezbollah. Rev. Ted Haggard told Associated Press that Israeli embassy officials had called him several times a day during the first two weeks of the conflict, asking for a public expression of support. He declined, he said, explaining ""Our silence is not a rejection of Israel or even a hesitation about Israel. Our silence is to try to protect people," said Haggard, pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. "There's a rapidly growing evangelical population in virtually every Islamic country. Much of it is underground in the countries that are more radicalized, and many of the Christians survive based on their neighbors just ignoring the fact that they don't go to mosque."

Haggard insisted the inaction of the National Association of Evangelicals is not a criticism of Israel, but reflects caution about the risks for Christians living in Islamic countries.

I wholeheartedly agree with Haggard's approach and applaud him for his wise and courageous stand on this issue. There will be those who will roundly criticize him for taking this position, accusing him of refusing to "bless" Israel. I will not be one of them.


Dan said...

I don't understand...why is refusing to stand against terrorism an effective means for protecting Christians? I do understand that terrorists use human shields, but I am also aware that refusing to fight the terrorists encourages them to do more of the same. Perhaps I would understand more if I were a Christian living in a terrorist country, but I am wondering if you would expound more on why you agree with the NAE.

Glenn Penner said...

The issue is that of making a public statement. In many Muslim countries, Christians are falsely accused of being allied with the West, under the assumption that Christianity is a western religion (which is ridiculous; Christianity was born in the Middle East). Hence, to make such a statement as a religious organization would be to put our brothers and sisters in greater risk than they already are.

NAE and VOMC have gone on record as being against Islamic terrorism; several times in our (VOMC's) case, but we have to be careful that our public statements don't cause even more acts of retaliation against Christian minorities than they already face for our actions in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.