RELIGION: Understanding CUFI and Christian Zionism

Lori M. Sousa

Rochester City Newspaper — May. 8th, 2007 – In response to Richard Myers’ April 18 letter “Assessing Christians United for Israel”:While I am sure that Myers sincerely believes that CUFI has a covert and sinister motive, I believe that this assessment is based on lack of information and faulty assumptions that do not accurately represent the heart or mission of CUFI.

I can understand the skepticism that surrounds this issue. Who can blame people for being wary of the support that Christians now offer to the State of Israel and the Jewish people around the world? The first 1900 years of Church history was dominated by a theology that held that the Church had replaced the Jewish people as God’s chosen people. This theology made way for some of the worst atrocities to be committed against the Jewish people at the hands of professing Christians.

While I cannot speak for the motives of every Christian who is involved with CUFI, I can respond as someone who has worked to educate Christians about Israel, coordinated the recent Greater Rochester Night to Honor Israel, and supports Pastor Ron Domina in his role as New York State Director for CUFI.

Rather than being used to further the age-old strategy of Christian anti-Semitism, CUFI was created to be a positive, supportive voice from the Christian community for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Currently, CUFI is being used in a powerful way to bring understanding and to rally Christians who will remember the lessons of the past, offer support and encouragement in the future, and envision an era where Christian and Jew stand together in the common bond of brotherhood under the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We recognize that our Christian faith finds root in ancient Judaism, and this evokes our gratitude for the Jewish people, who gave us a monotheism purchased with the blood of Jewish martyrs.

For those who are serious about understanding the prevalent form of Christian support for Israel emerging in our day, let me recommend a well-documented book by David Brog, “Standing with Israel.” Brog is Jewish and is also the executive director of CUFI. Prior to assuming his role with CUFI, Brog served as chief of staff to a senior United States senator and staff director of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Brog spent years researching the topic of Christian Zionism in an attempt to uncover the motives and goals behind this increasingly powerful political movement. In the process, he became convinced that he was tapping into something far deeper than politics and came to believe that he was witnessing “the birth pangs of a Christian-Jewish reconciliation that has been over two millennia in the making.” In this book, Brog exposes the roots of Christian anti-Semitism and discusses the birth and development of Christian Zionism.

While Myers accuses CUFI of resisting “every effort to make peace in the Middle East,” CUFI’s actions have demonstrated a genuine and informed commitment to stand against forces that are bent on destruction and violence. Shall we pursue “peace” by being silent when the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discounts the Holocaust as a myth and threatens to “wipe Israel off the face of the map” while acquiring the nuclear capability to make good on his threat? Shall we also ignore the fact that the Hamas-led Palestinian government denies Israel’s right to exist and still adheres to the PLO founding charter that contains clauses calling for the destruction of Israel?

Shall we forget our past and be like the many Christians who were silent while 6 million Jews were murdered by a regime that came to power in Christian Germany? Yes, as Christians we pray and pursue peace with all humanity, but we believe that peace is not merely an esoteric idea that eludes current realities and practical action. To accuse organizations such as CUFI, who take an active stand against forces bent on the destruction of Israel, of taking actions that “resist every effort to make peace in the Middle East” is a misinterpretation of true motives. In the words of CUFI founder John Hagee: “When the Jews of Europe were marched to the gas chambers in Hitler’s holocaust… the Christians of the world were strangely quiet. Never again! Not on our watch! The sleeping giant in America has awakened!”

As Israel is faced with serious and immediate threats, the honest and genuine support of millions of Christians will continue to be voiced through organizations like CUFI. This support was seen in Rochester during the recent Night to Honor Israel, where an enthusiastic crowd of over 1600 people united for a bi-partisan, non-denominational, non-proselytizing, Christian-organized demonstration of support. The message that night was clear, and the crowd responded with a standing ovation as Pastor Ron Domina proclaimed: “Let it be known today that Rochester, New York, is not neutral or silent when it comes to Israel. Rochester is a city of righteousness, and we will stand with Israel in her hour of need.”

Lori Sousa coordinates the Office of Israel Programs at Bethel Christian Fellowship, assisting Pastor Ronald. A. Domina in his roll as state director for CUFI.

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