Doug Phillips: The Vulgaria Monologue

Doug Phillips of Vision Forum rails against “Lesbian-feminist radicals, mother-goddess promoters, Marxists, Internet kooks, and even a professing Christian publication”:

Welcome to the newly-formed “United States of Vulgaria.” All are welcome — except Christian, homeschool families with a “quiverfull” of children. Here politicians seek to fix their runaway spending policies by banning babies; television personalities gasp at the sight of “too many” children; and journalists target fruitful mothers for public ridicule and censure.

Phillips is particularly angry with journalist Kathryn Joyce, author of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement, and he is dismayed that Christianity Today gave it a good review (I should disclose that Kathryn has been supportive to this blog, and that I get an acknowledgement in the book):

But the winner of the “2009 Vulgaria Child Catcher of the Year Award” goes to Kathryn Joyce and Beacon Press…In the world of Kathryn Joyce, scientists and professional demographers who warn about the serious consequence of an imminent birth dearth are really bigots with an agenda to perpetuate white Christian babies; prolific Christian homeschool mothers and their daughters are mindless doormats to domineering patriarchs; and Christian ministries like Vision Forum with a pro-family theology are dangerous subversives that threaten the modern culture of reproductive freedom, women’s liberation, and abortion on demand.

The first mission of the book is to warn the radical left about America’s real threat — pregnant mothers who quote Psalm 127 and submit to their husbands. The second mission is to paint certain ministries and Christian parents as intolerant racists with a penchant for spousal abuse, and other even more unconscionable crimes.

It’s all part of the old Communist conspiracy:

Joyce was personally mentored and trained to become a cultural revolutionary by one of the most significant radical feminists of the 20th century, Ellen Willis. Joyce and Willis were both at NYU, where Joyce was a student and Willis served as head of NYU’s Center for Cultural Reporting and Criticism. A founder of the ultra-fringe Redstockings of the Women’s Liberation Movement, Willis would later state that “Redstockings’ dominant political tendency was a kind of neo-Maoist materialism” and that her personal politics were a “blend of cultural radicalism, populism, and Marxism.”

 Plus:

Lest you think that books from pro-homosexual publishing houses like Beacon are being ignored in the Christian press, none other than Christianity Today offered a positive review of Quiverfull after recently publishing an absurdly favorable puff piece on the radical pro-homosexual film, Milk. The fact that both of these revisionist histories were advanced by individuals and organizations who thrive on viciousness to Christianity and God’s Word mattered not to the editors of Christianity Today.

As I blogged here, Kathryn has written about Phillips in the past. It seems she rubs all the right people up the wrong way; last year she provoked none other than Don Feder into a tirade.

Some background to the book can be seen here.

Although I hate to boast, I should add I’ve had an award too: in 2008 Mosquewatch declared me to be “Dhimmi of the Year” for my sceptical probings of Walid Shoebat. I’ve also been featured on the website of the Official Street Preachers, who called me out as “The Level Headed, Beer Guzzling, Left Wing LIBERAL”

quiverfull 

Daily Mail Nonsense on “666” Car

Claim: Burnt car supports Irenaeus’ Interpretation of the Book of Revelation

A shocking headline in the Daily Mail:

The devil’s work? Supercar with registration plate ‘666’ destroyed after it mysteriously bursts into flames

Inevitably, this has now crossed the Atlantic to be linked by WorldNetDaily.

Here’s what an unnamed but idiotic hack has to say:

It’s commonly believed to be the number that identifies the Antichrist. So perhaps the owner of this Dodge Viper supercar shouldn’t have been surprised when their car went up in flames.

The registration plate was ‘666’: it was almost an invitation.

…The number has been associated with the Satanism, universal price codes and the game of roulette, as the numbers on the wheel add up to 666.

Recent research has shown that the number in the Bible may have been translated incorrectly, and that 616 is the actual number of the beast.

However second century church father Irenaeus examined that possibility – and rejected it.

The demise of this Dodge Viper would seem to support his theory.

However, Jalopnik, a website devoted to “the cult of cars”, has a bit more information:

Remember the Dodge Viper with “666” license plates which burned to a crisp? The UK’s Daily Mail just caught the story… two years after we ran it…The fire happened way back in 2007 in Kostroma, Russia, when a group of devout religious types took offense to the “666” mark of the beast license plate and set it on fire. We enjoyed the story when it first came out, and still think it’s pretty amusing, though we’re sad to see a Viper get it over something so silly. Perhaps Daily Mail should read Jalopnik more often.

666-car

Swine Fever: Health Ministers Respond

Saudi Arabian health minister Abdullah Al-Rabeeah responds to the threat of swine fever:

“…we have intensifed precautionary measures to protect the public…We have been following the latest development of the disease through reports received from the World Health Organization (WHO). We have also instructed all health centers and departments to inform the ministry of suspected cases.”

Israeli deputy health minister Yakov Litzman responds to the threat of swine fever:

“We will call it Mexican flu. We won’t call it swine flu”

Judaism and Islam of course both have a taboo against pork; I’ve sometimes seen the Judaic proscription explained as being some kind of divinely-inspired hygiene advice, while the same Islamic objection is mocked as a risible and morbid superstition.

Benjamin L. Hartman, writing in Ha’aretz (hat tip to Failed Messiahis dismayed:

While this may seem to be just the semi-weekly “Haredi government minister gone wild” comment that makes for great office banter, the truth is that it’s just one more in a series of state-sanctioned declarations by a government official that serves only to further humiliate Israel in the eyes of the world…Litzman’s absurd first act in office is merely a glaring symptom of the disease of Israeli politics…This attempted rebranding of swine flu raises another issue about the dangers of Israel’s lack of separation of synagogue and state…the constant ability of the religious, when put in charge of government ministries, to make a mockery of a modern, would-be sophisticated western country that sees itself as a beacon of pluralism and modernity in a region darkened by religious fundamentalism and political extremism.

As Seen on TV

…in the East Midlands section of the BBC Politics Show, discussing the BNP’s Rev Robert West.

richard-bartholomew

UPDATE: In the programme, Rev West shows the camera a diploma from the Apostolic Church Bible College in Penygroes (var. “Pen-y-groes”). This Apostolic Church is a Pentecostal denomination noted for having a “high” ecclesiology; the church’s website is here and there are some further resources at this website.

In 2006 a blog called Love @nd Rage emailed the Apostolic Church about West, and published the response it received. Unfortunately, the blog has since been removed and it has not been preserved at Wayback; luckily, however, I quoted this source at the time:

Thank you for your email and for bringing to our attention the news item mentioning the BNP and a Mr Robert West.

First of all may I confirm that The Apostolic Church does not support the views or the activities of the British National Party. The Church has no political association whatsoever.

On the second matter I am uncertain about who is the Mr Robert West mentioned in the article. One thing is certain: he does not speak on behalf of The Apostolic Church. If this person lives in Lincolnshire he does not attend The Apostolic Church. In fact as a denomination we have no churches in Lincolnshire.

I note that he is quoted as being ‘ordained as an elder’ within the Church. If this person has had any association with The Apostolic Church in the past the only means by which he can maintain either his membership or office is by attending one of our churches. If he were an active member of the Church his views would not be accepted by the Church and disciplinary action would be undertaken by the Church which strongly distances itself from views such as these.

The End of the World Explains Unfortunate Events, Part 94

Well, that didn’t take long:

swine-fever

The author, Ray Gano (whom I last blogged here), explains that

We as students of bible prophecy know that this is one of the signs of the times that Jesus spoke about.

BBC Documentary on Militarily Embedded Social Scientists

BBC Radio 4 has an interesting documentary on Human Terrain System, the military program which embeds social scientists (so far around 50) with the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s entitled “Anthropology at War”, although other discciplines have also been brought into the program, including Religious Studies. There’s postive input from Marcus Griffin, who chose to give up his academic position for a military career (his website is being redesigned, but his old blog can be seen here), and from Montgomery McFate, who is the program’s Senior Social Scientist. They argue that social scientists can provide the army with crucial cultural knowledge that can save lives, and McFate assures us that social scientists provide information only, rather than intelligence – there is a “red line” against anthropologists advising on potential targets for attack.

Unsurprisingly, though, there are also a number of critics: we hear from Roberto Gonzalez of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists and from Hugh Gusterson, both of whom see particpation as a compromise of academic values, in particular the free informed consent of informants. There are also concerns that social scientists are being brought in without area expertise; Michael Gilsenan complains that:

One of the problems in all this is the notion that you can parachute in to a society in which you are in this very peculiar situation of massive invasion and death, population displacements and so on, and just have a tool-kit, which is called “the anthropology tool-kit”, with military commanders over your shoulder saying “what we really need to know is this or that.” It is an illlusion to think that you can take your tool-kit into these or any other circumstances without a knowledge of language, history, and culture and so on…And what that’s associated with is the idea that Iraqis have something called “a culture”, and it’s a very puzzling “culture”, and its why they behave so oddly and differently from us, and that if an anthropologist can only come along and say “ah, but they have honour”, or “ah, but they are tribal”, then the next thing you know people are giving talks here about the “secret” of the Arab world. So you then get these bizarre accounts which feed into in field manuals and interrogation technique ideas that Arab men are peculiarly vulnerable to sexual humiliation. So what it does is produce some essential notion of something called “the Arab culture”, thus re-enforcing every racial and cultural stereotype we have and making it yet more difficult to talk about history, economy, society, and the politics of what we do.

Also interviewed is Zenia Tompkins (formerly Zenia Helbig), a Religious Studies graduate who was trained for the program but rejected as a security risk at the last moment for joking about “joining the other side” in an argument with a soldier who favoured a bombing campaign against Iran. Helbig claims that the real reason was that she had criticised the army’s contractor for recruitment to HTS, none other than BAE Systems:

The first comment they made to me on my first day of training, a BAE representative looked me up and down and said, “well, what’s a degree in Islamic Studies have to do with Iraq? I was told I’m getting anthropologists”.

(Tompkins’ husband was also involved in HTS, and his critical blog can be seen here)

So far three “Human Terrain” recruits have been killed in action. One of these was Nicole Suveges, and the documentary includes a word from her PhD supervisor, Mark Blyth. Blyth was opposed to the Iraq war and is sceptical of HTS, but he respected her personal integrity:

This was her way of becoming involved in such a way that she thought she could make a difference in what was an awful situation and make it slightly less awful. This is what she wanted to do, and I don’t think that I occupy a higher moral plane than her, and if she was comfortable with the choices she made, if she believed what she was doing was saving lives, if she believed in what she took her life there to be, then who am I to critique it?

Oklahoma Ark-Eologist: “Arson Investigation Skills” to Find Lost Temple Treasure

More news via an email from the Christian Zionist “Jerusalem Connection”:

Jim Barfield, a retired fire marshal from Oklahoma, believes he has cracked the code on The Copper Scroll.  Applying his arson investigation skills to the world’s most intriguing antiquities, he has achieved something that for four decades has eluded all other archeological and paleographical experts. After two years of planning, Barfiled is now in Israel beginning an archeological dig with the Israel Antiquities Authority.  This dig just may lead to the discovery of artifacts from the Jewish Temple.

Now, I’m more than happy to see amateurs tackling long-standing problems; but when I read that this man’s “arson investigation skills” offer some kind of special insight the BS monitor starts beeping.

The Copper Scroll is an anomalous Dead Sea Scroll, difficult to interpret but apparently giving directions to a significant stash of treasure. Details remain obscure, and there has been some speculation about where the treasure – if it ever existed – actually came from. Some suggest it belonged to the Essene community, others that it was rescued from the Jerusalem Temple in AD 70. Barfield believes that the Scroll records the whereabouts of treasure dating from the First Temple, which had been destroyed by the Persians hundreds of years before, and that his findings will include artefacts such as 

unbelievable amounts of treasures from the Tabernacle of Moses to include, the Ephod of the High Priest, vast quantities of gold and silver, massive amounts of Tabernacle service vessels and gems of tremendous value.  Most importantly, Jim has located what appears to be the buried cave that has the greatest hope “ever” to contain the Tabernacle of Moses, the Alter [sic] of Incense and “the Ark of the Covenant.”

Barfield appears to take as literal the preposterously inflated amounts of temple gold recorded in 1 Chronicles 22; in fact, the author of that text wrote centuries after the events he purports to describe and was particularly keen to idealize the era of David and Solomon.

So what secret exactly has Barfield unlocked? There are various videos on his website, but beyond telling us that God guided him to “figure it out” specific details are thin. However, he assures us that

As strange as this developing story may seem; “none” of the archeologists, rabbis, historians or anyone else that has seen Jim’s Copper Scroll research doubt that he has unlocked its mystery. 

 Of course, this is all grist to a certain constituency of Christian Zionists who believe that the Jewish Temple must be re-built, in accordance with Biblical prophecies; the apocalyptically-minded author Joel C. Rosenberg (whom I blogged here) wrote a prophecy potboiler called The Copper Scroll  just a couple of year ago.

One gushing and gleefully sanguinary endorsement of Barfield’s supposed breakthrough is as follows:

Shalom friends and Family,
This is my friend Jim Barfield (below). If you don’t know who he is, go to Copper Scroll Project on the net and read about him. He is the genuine article and I am pleased to be blessed to know him. He will be digging soon for the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle of Moses as he has unlocked the copper scroll and knows where they are or once were held. The amount of gold in this find could top trillions of dollars and my opinion on that is, that might be the spoil that brings Russia down to Israel for the gog and magog war. It may also restore the heart of Israel to Yahweh which is His goal for the whole earth, to know He is Yahweh. We are living in the most exciting days of all times. And even Indiana Jones had to face some danger and snake pits on his adventures to unlock treasures that were hidden. So please stand in the gap for our brother for protection and wisdom as he goes on the adventure of a lifetime, to bring us a gift of untold value. It is time for the Tabernacle of David to be restablished in our hearts and I hope on the Temple Mount of Israel. Honestly, Jim Barfield desperately needs your fervent prayers as this is the last thing the enemy of our soul and the enemies of Israel wants to happen. It looks as if it will happen during the days of Unleavenend Bread or the Days of Teshuva (repentance and turning back to Yahweh). So lets get the sin out(leaven) of our lives and turn back to Yahweh in preperation for this phenominal event. When the Ark of the Covenant is placed on the Temple Mount it could turn the whole world upside down and release events that have only been written about until now.
In the mean time, have a Blessed Pesach from Jessie and Renalee and Where the Glory Walks Ministries
Love and Shalom Blessings,
Renalee

Barfield himself explains that

Last week we went to Oklahoma City to speak at the state capital about the project to twelve state senators, all of which were Christian. They were greatly receptive to the progress and had many questions. We wanted to let some government officials know that we were going to Israel soon for accountability sake and…it worked out that we were contacted the next day by a local senator who asked us to come and speak at a prayer meeting they were having in one of the senate chambers. Before we left the capital we did a Copper Scroll Project update in front of the capital building which will be on You Tube at this address (http://www.youtube.com/user/Copperscrollproject ) some time tonight 7 April.

It is worth remembering at this point that the Oklahoma senate recently began an “investigation” of the University of Oklahoma for allowing Richard Dawkins to speak there.

Barfield has also touched base with Vendyl Jones, another “arkeologist”, whom I blogged here. Jones gets publicity every few years by phoning up some lazy hack with the announcement that he is on the verge of uncovering the Ark. I looked at a couple of other characters here.

UPDATE (7 May): I’ve now seen that Barfield is associated with an Oklahoma Messianic Jewish congregation called Beit Tefillah, and before Barfield’s Copper Scroll website was established they carried some details of his “researches”. One remaining document has these details:

Teacher Jim Barfield 

• Jim Barfield was born 27 April 1955

• Torah reading that day was… –Lev 16:1 – 20:27

• Today’s Torah reading is…–Lev 16:1 – 20:27

• One year ago today (28 Apr 07) Jim became a nazirite for life…

The section of Leviticus referenced deals with priestly duties.

In an interview from 26 April posted on YouTube, Barfield explains that he had hoped to dig in December, to coincide with Hannukah – he has interpreted the delay to mean that God wants the treasure to be found on some other significant date. This might be Memorial Day or Israel Independence Day, but he also modestly suggests dates in his own biogaphy: his birthday or the third anniversary of his becoming a “nazirite” (presumably the Beit Tefillah document should have given a 2006 date) – this is important because joining the Essene community took three years. The “nazirite” vow explains his increasingly Biblical appearance.

barfield

Name variations: Jimmy Barfield; Jimmy D. Barfield

More on March for England

Staying with the subject of nationalist protests (supposedly) against Islamic extremism, there has been an interesting exchange of views between a couple of commentators to this blog. One is Dave Smeeton, who organises “March for England” and is an associate of anti-Muslim blogger “Lionheart”, or Paul Ray. As I’ve blogged before, Smeeton has been keen to insist that March for England, despite a somewhat aggressive appearance, is peaceful and not anti-Muslim. When I noted that his Facebook profile shows an English flag advertising a football hooligan group (the “6.57 Crew”), he complained that it was of no significance:

March for England has members from all over the country. It has no links now or ever with the 6.57 crew. It fact March for England was started by a couple of Spurs supporters over 2 years ago. We are run by a commitee of 12 people who live in various parts of the country ranging from Blackpool in the North to the West Country London and Brighton etc.
we have have a broad cross section of members including ex srvicemen housewifes buisness men and yes god forbid football fans.
I hope this clears up the fact once and for all

Also:

Speaking for March for England we have had no problems in London or Brighton in putting on our marches. It has at times been made very difficult by the authorities. I repeat that there has never been one arrest on our marches.
What we all need to know is why when you go through proper channels why are you refused or why are hurdles put in our way? Also why are proscribed organisations allowed to march without permission and alowed to wear clothing promoting a proscribed organisation and flying the flags of this proscribed group. No arrests made? All we ask for is a level playing field. One law for all.
Untill these questions are answered by the authorities it looks like this will rumble on and on. There is a principle at stake that needs to be resolved one way or another.
We have sat back so far over the issue in Luton despite the cock and bull stories on here. I have even phoned Bedfordshire Police and refuted that we where going into Luton.
We need answers as to why Radical Islam can stage a protest that to any ones eyes is a threat to public
order. To many times the law is being waved in favour of extremist groups as in Luton,London ( Tamil Tigers} and the parade in Ulster by the C I.R.A The last two being banned groups. Is this a level playing field?

However, Smeeton was then asked some questions by another commentator:

On your Facebook site, why have you got a photo of a mock Dr Martens advert with skinheads kicking a man on the floor in the head ? The top of the photo says “Kicking the fuck out of you since 1960?. Underneath that you have written “those were the days.” Why have you written that if you, as you say you have, left violence behind you

Why have you got a poster also on Facebook with the words “Its the evil of our time – ISLAM – lets not leave it for our children.” Why do you display a poster that attacks all Islam and not Islamic extremists – the same line that Paul Ray folows ? How are you going to ensure Islam is not “left for your children?”

Luton has a significant muslim community. Now can you understand the reason why some people oppose March for England in this town ?

Hmm…

kicking-pic

Smeeton’s response:

As for my facebook you realy dont have a clue do you. I was a Skin head in the 70s. The caption says those WHERE the days. Got it yet? The 70s where the days. This is 2009 and i am an old man.
As for the picture of Islam. I will do i can within in the law to make sure Sharia law does not creep any further into our system. It is after all one law for one .one law for all. Am i not entitled to an opinion on religion? I thought we had freedom of thought and speach?

Whew, I was worried there for a moment…

US Anti-Islam Bloggers Argue over Luton Protests

Sadly No! draws attention to an interview with Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs:

Johnson worries, in conversation and on his blog, that his old allies have been duped by far-right European political parties and have bought into wild attacks on the president that discredit their own causes.

“I don’t think there is an anti-jihadist movement anymore,” Johnson said. “It’s all a bunch of kooks. I’ve watch some people who I thought were reputable, and who I trusted, hook up with racists and Nazis. I see a lot of them promoting stories and causes that I think are completely nuts.”

Sadly No! adds:

Noooooooooooooooooooo! What tipped it off? Was it Iron Fist’s fantasies of nuclear genocide? Was it your readers’ iron-clad belief that a crescent-shaped memorial to Flight 93 was really a secret plot to pay tribute to radical Islam? I don’t see how any of these not-at-all-crazy ideas could possibly change your opinion about anything.

Jeff Sharlet plumbed the unpleasantness of LGF and its commentators back in 2004.

One “anti-Jihadist” whom Johnson has fallen out with is Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, and on Monday he took aim at her for supporting a protest in Luton, UK:

Shrieking bigoted lunatic Pamela Geller has now graduated to promoting the skinheads of the neo-Nazi British National Party: Atlas Shrugs: PUSHBACK AGAINST MUSLIM EXTREMISTS IN THE UK.

One of the demonstrations she’s pimping was organized by pro-BNP blogger Paul Ray, aka “Lionheart.”

As I’ve blogged, last year Ray was investigated by the British police for incitement to racial hatred; for a while, he was lauded by US conservatives as a free-speech martyr, but when pro-BNP comments came to light he was quickly dropped – Johnson was among his critics, and Ray responded by calling him “the equivalent of a Second World War Nazi collaborator who would have been shot because of his treason”. The investigation seems to have been a formality – when a complaint is made to the police there have to be some enquiries, such as when blogger Neil Clark tried to set the police on Oliver Kamm. However, Ray has milked the incident ever since, as if he were under continuing police investigation/persecution – although in an argument with a commentator at his blog he recently finally revealed that he is no longer of interest to the police, and any suggestion otherwise was “unfounded and baseless, and could also be libelous”.

Johnson then refers his readers to (ahem) me:

Richard Bartholomew has more information on the skinheads behind this demonstration: Protest in Luton over St. George’s Day Event Decision

Geller responds:

I ran a video of folks supporting the troops in the UK. That’s it. Here’s the post. Nowhere is the BNP mentioned and never have I ever expressed any support for that group. I had no idea it’s BNP. Nothing at youtube says BNP. The name of the video is “People of Luton Protest against Muslim Extremists” – user name “lutonprotest”. Nutty as a fruitcake, I tell ya.

In fact, I was careful to point out in my posting that this was not a BNP event, that at least one protestor was black, and that there had been a banner attacking the far-right National Front. However, I also noted that a BNP activist had been drumming up discrete support for the event among the party, and that Ray continues to make pro-BNP comments, most recently that “you should not judge these people who God is doing a work with and through”. He also insists that the word “Paki” is not offensive, and he makes no distinction between Muslims and Islamic extremists.

Here’s the video, which is the only substantial footage of the event to appear online. It appears to have been an ugly and aggressive affair, with placards thrown at police to a chorus of the word “scum” at one point. As a defence of “English culture” it does not encourage, unless we include the kind of abuse and posturing that used to be seen around certain football matches.

Incidentally, there does not appear to have been any follow-up to the claim reported in the Daily Star that a black protestor had two teeth knocked out by the police. UPDATE: Paul Ray has posted a photo of a damaged mouth; there is no reason to doubt belongs on the protestor.

Christian Zionist Attack on Bishop Tom Wright

Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham, is one of the UK’s most respected evangelical Anglican intellectuals, and, as “N.T. Wright”, he is a scholar to be reckoned with in historical Jesus research. On Easter Sunday he gave a short exposition on the theology of the Resurrection, which has brought him under attack from Christian Zionists; Cranmer leads the charge, with ammo from the Anglican Friends of Israel:

 …the Bishop of Durham tells ‘pilgrims’ that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection have nullified the covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants over the land we now call Israel – the Replacement Theology thinly cloaked throughout the pilgrimage now surfaces.

In Replacement Theology, the restoration of Israel becomes not a fulfilment of an overarching Scriptural discourse, but an irrelevance at best, and, at worst, a terrible mistake: the return of the Jews to their ancient land is not a sign of God keeping his promises but an illegal assault of colonial interlopers.

Wright’s YouTube talk was posted at Journey to Jerusalem, a blog run by Christian Aid to create a “virtual pilgrimage” of the “Holy Land” over the period of Lent. Apparently the blog’s postings do not reflect well on Israel, and so, inevitably, anti-semitism must be the reason:

The Church, both Roman Catholic and Protestant strands, has historically maintained that due to the fact the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah, God saw fit to pour out his wrath upon them in AD70, destroying their temple and extinguishing their nation, leaving them to exile and oblivion. St Augustine was so persuaded, as was Origen, Tertullian, Eusebius, Ignatius of Antioch, Jerome, John Chrysostom – the Council of Nicea in 325AD purposely changed the celebration of the Resurrection from the Jewish Feast of First Fruits to Easter in an attempt to disassociate it from Jewish feasts. The Council stated: ‘For it is unbecoming beyond measure that on this holiest of festivals we should follow the customs of the Jews. Henceforth let us have nothing in common with this odious people…’

Replacement Theology is therefore seen to have an enduring heritage. But it is insidiously anti-Semitic. And it is concerning that the otherwise laudable charitable efforts of Christian Aid should be tarnished with the belief that, because of their rebellion against God in their rejection of Jesus, God has replaced Israel with the Church, and so the Church now inherits all of the blessings promised to Israel.

…In the context of Christian Aid’s rejection of the scriptural discourse of the Covenant between Abraham and God, the reasons for their embrace of the Palestinian narrative become clear: it is the only one which fits their theology. But the distortions and imbalance necessary to sustain this narrative, together with the abandonment of a key scriptural theme – the faithfulness of God’s promises – demonstrate the shortcomings of Replacement Theology.

In fact, Wright doesn’t say anything as tactless or provocative as God having “nullified the covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants” – instead he talks about the whole world now being a “Holy Land” rather than just one area in the Middle East. That’s a perfectly normal and unremarkable understanding of Christianity – followers of Judaism, of course, will beg to differ, but that’s just one of the areas of disagreement that make Judaism and Christianity into two different religions (despite the clumsy fudge of “Dual Covenant” theology, which was rejected by the Christian Zionist Jerry Falwell in 2006). It doesn’t therefore mean that the modern state of Israel has to be opposed, but it does mean that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be assessed according to the same criteria as other conflicts in the world. Ironically, it is Christian Zionism which favours a particular “narrative” for theological reasons.