Perverse Perspective on Peace

Despite the recent rift over The Passion, the alliance between Christian Zionists and Israeli reactionaries is back on track, with a huge effort to unite Christian conservatives in support for Israel and against Muslims being organised for October. According to a report by ASSIST Ministries:

Protestant, Catholic and Jewish leaders from around the world are endorsing an international “Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem,” to be held annually on the first Sunday of October, this year on October 3. People all around the world will be asked to pray in harmony for the Peace of Jerusalem.

The plan, according to the event’s website

is for all men and women of prayer throughout the world to assemble in New York City for an urgent two-day convocation on May 20-21, 2004 to affirm and sign [the] proclamation [of the October event].

But I’m confused. What’s Pat Robertson doing on the list? Or the International Christian Embassy doing as a sponsor? These are people who’ve been telling us for ages that war is inevitable in the Middle East, and that the only “peace” will be a plot by the anti-Christ (and the UN) before Jesus returns to convert the few Jews who survive all the horrors of the Tribulation. Indeed, Eagle’s Wings, the organisation behind the “Day of Prayer”, is also insistent that these are the “last days”.

The answer is that the plan is not so much about peace as such as trying to persuade conservative Christians across the board to sign up to a “clash of civilisations” worldview where “Judeo-Christian” values stand against the Muslims hordes:

[Rev. Robert] Stearns, co-chairman of the call to prayer, says, “We must realize the hour in which we are living. Throughout the world dark forces are at work, seeking to destroy the Judeo-Christian world and Western Civilization as we know it. This gathering is a strategic time in which both Jewish and Christian leaders can affirm the importance of faith, the value of unity, and a commitment to pray for Israel and the Peace of Jerusalem.”

So praying for Jerusalem means praying for Israel, and not for Palestine or Palestinians. And what does praying for Israel mean? Well, given that the above is as far as analysis of the Israel/Palestine conflict goes, and Stearns describes himself as “pro-Israel”, we can assume it basically means unconditional support for the Israeli government in whatever it does. Indeed, the word “Palestinian” appears only once on the “Call to Prayer” website, where it exhorts readers to visit Israel under its guidance, so as to

Understand and be able to articulate the reality of the current Palestinian situation along with an understanding of the Radical Islamic agenda as pertaining to the Judeo-Christian world population.

That’s it. Deftly put, but the implication is clearly that Palestinian complaints are based purely on a commitment to radical Islamism – and are part of an Islamic plot against “Judeo-Christians”.

Rev Stearns, who heads up Eagles Wings, is a multi-talented individual, and according to the website of his magazine Kairos he

has sung for the last three Prime Ministers of Israel, including a special concert for former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

One weird statement on the ASSIST report is that

The Roman Catholic Church was represented [in the endorsement] by Monsignor William Showali, the personal representative of the Latin Patriarch in the Old City.

Given that I can’t find a William Showali anywhere on the internet, I suspect ASSIST means William Shomali, the General Econmo of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem. Since both he and Patriarch Michel Sabbah have for a long time advocated Palestinian rights (and co-existence with Israel), I wonder if he was fully aware of what the event really aims to do.

Of course, there are actually plenty of Christian organisations out there genuinely trying to build peace in Israel/Palestine, such as Sabeel and Christian Aid. Somehow, though, I doubt Stearns and friends are likely to want to hear from them.

3 Responses

  1. […] according to a press release carried by ASSIST Ministries. This is not the New York event discussed back in March, but a Memphis-based affair that has been going on for 23 years. The release tells us that Moore is […]

  2. […] 8, 2004 by Richard Bartholomew Plans for the Day of Prayer For Israel (noted by me back in March) are heating up. Charisma News offers an update: International Prayer Day For Jerusalem Enlists 50 […]

  3. […] Stearns is another player I’ve looked at previously) The newly-commissioned representatives are members of Watchmen on the Wall, a program organized by […]

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