SocraticGadfly: Politics: Why does the Christian Century hate Palestinians?

August 27, 2021

Politics: Why does the Christian Century hate Palestinians?

A couple of weeks ago, at my philosophy, secularism and critical religion blog site, I tackled this issue from more the religious angle.

Now, I want to go more into the politics angle.

I'm excerpting from, and editing, that post.

First, the claim that it does hate Palestinians in general, and Palestinian Christians in particular, is a fair one, based on this open letter in Mondoweiss that the Christian Century refused to publish in response to an editorial there.

For secularists, non-Christians, and Christian laypeople who don't know the Christian literary world, Christian Century is not a fundamentalist or conservative evangelical magazine. It's also not a liberal evangelical outlet; in other words, it's not Sojourners.

What it is, is the voice of ecumenical mainline Protestantism. In other words, churches whose denomination leaders, colleges and seminaries, and most pastors in the pulpit do NOT believe in a Rapture, do NOT believe that, contra Paul in Romans, "all Israel will be saved" before the Apocalypse, and have no religious reason to suck up to Israel at the expense of either a separate Palestinian state, or full Palestinian rights within a one-state solution. (Think Episcopalians, United Methodist Church, liberal wing of Lutherans and Presbyterians, etc.)

The quote I reference, for the non-evangelical types? Romans 11, specifically, quoting 11:23-26a:

23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! 25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved.
No, liberal Protestants don't believe that as a literal event, just as they know that Paul was wrong about a Second Coming in his lifetime or soon thereafter. They also don't (on paper!) believe that we must support Israel with foreign aid for this reason. (See below on foreign aid, in more detail.)

Back to the details of the rejection. Specifically, this claim:

When US Christians talk about Israel and Palestine, we should do so with care, recognize that we’re guests in someone else’s conversation, and resist easy answers.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

As long as the United States government gives foreign aid to Israel while turning a blind eye to settlements, it's our conversation, too. It's the conversation of every American citizen, whether mainline Protestant, other Christian, Jew, Muslim, or even secularist.

And, as such, it's wrong when it says that only the "two-state solution" is viable.

For starters, Israel itself has made it non-viable, with a border wall that would be the envy (and is) of Donald J. Trump, followed by settlements in pre-1967 Palestine protected by that wall, followed by harassment on the other side of that wall and more. Either the editorial board of Christian Century knows this, and knows this is why liberal Zionists like Peter Beinart have jumped ship on the two-state solution, and they're being obtuse to their readers, or they don't know this and are being obtuse to themselves, or there's a split, like an apparent split on other things Israel, and the board needs to abandon the will o'the wisp of "consensus."

Showing how behind the times they are, the editors cite an EIGHT-year-old piece of theirs explaining why they think the one-state solution is not viable. People who know better have long ago rejected those ideas.

It's shameful, politically and otherwise, for the Century to have not published the response to its editorial. And, that goes above and beyond its getting this issue wrong in the first place. It's shameful, period.

It's also shameful, and hypocritical, because liberal Protestant Christianity, in things like the civil rights movement, has long believed in political activism.

No comments: