Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fanning Flames of Fundamentalism

While President Bush likes to point out the threat from Islamic fundamentalists, the Christian and Jewish versions are also making hay in light of the recent conflicts in Biblical lands. A Middle Eastern think tank based in our Egyptian ally’s capital had this to say:

"The Americans are shooting themselves in the foot," Abdel Moneim Said, head of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, based in Cairo, said last week, before the U.N. deal. "The only beneficiaries of the ongoing conflict are the fundamentalists."

While he is speaking of Islamic fundamentalists as beneficiaries, my guess is the Christian and Jewish versions will also benefit. The news ran a story on Israel’s courting conservative Christian support early in their Lebanese offensive.

Rev. Ted Haggard, President of the Evangelical Association said Israeli Embassy Officials called him several times a day during the first two weeks of the conflict, asking for a public expression of support. Ted would not make a public statement in order to protect evangelical Christians in the Middle East.

However, James Dobson of Focus on the Family weighed in releasing his first comments in a statement Friday, a month after the fighting began. Dobson said the loss of life in Lebanon was "terrible," but added "there is no doubt who the aggressors are" in the war and that Israel is being threatened with "annihilation." He likened the Jewish state to "little David" facing "mighty Goliath," and asked God to intervene and "give His people a miracle on the battlefield."

"While we are praying without ceasing for the innocent victims in Lebanon, we stand firmly with Israel and the Jews," Dobson said.

Many evangelicals have individually expressed support for Israel. Evangelist Pat Robertson was in Jerusalem this week, where he joined hands with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to pray for victory in Lebanon.

The article closed with: "I don't think anyone doubts the great support that Israel has in the evangelical community"

It appears U.S. policy is fanning the flames of fundamentalism in the Middle East. At least that’s the view from here…

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