Christendom Goes Zionist
By Mitch Jones Columnist (US)

"Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." - Matthew 26:52
The above quote is from Jesus of Nazareth, the founder of the Christian faith. He preached a message of peace, love and nonviolence and his early disciples followed this model. However, somewhere along the way, things changed. The Crusades and the Holocaust are two extreme examples of where war was carried out in the name of Christ.
Currently we find ourselves faced with another religious war that pits Christians against Muslims. President Bush has stated that the so-called War on Terrorism is a "crusade" of good versus evil. By implication, Christians and Jews are good and Muslims are evil. This is not to minimize Islam's role in making war; however, Jerry Falwell called the Islamic faith violent without examining the militant tendencies in his own religion.
Forgiving for a moment the fact that Christian fundamentalists and militant Zionists have declared war on Islam, does this represent a newfound cooperation between Christians and Jews? Hardly. The Evangelical Christians who are lobbying for Israel believe that the state of Israel is fulfillment of prophecy, as do the Zionists; however, the Evangelicals believe that God's army will kill two-thirds of the Jews and the remaining will be converted. Gershem Gorenberg told "60 Minutes" recently, "If you listen to the drama they're describing, essentially it's a five act play in which the Jews disappear in the fourth act." He also stated, "As a Jew, I can't feel very comfortable with the affections of somebody who looks forward to that scenario."
Incidentally, one scripture that Zionists and Evangelicals cling to is in Isaiah 2:2-4, which states, "And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." However, fundamentalist Christians seem to have the opposite philosophy. They see the hardcore Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza as the only truly faithful ones. They believe that God did not want the Oslo Accord to go through. They essentially support those things that have been a stumbling block to peace and oppose those things that seem to be making moves toward peace.
Ariel Sharon is hardly fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah either. He has stated that he will rule the occupied territories with an Iron Fist. Israel has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and Sharon continues to expand military operations. This is the opposite of turning "swords into plowshares."
The scary thing is that these militant Christians and Jews are close to the U.S. President. In fact, when Jerry Falwell sent a letter to the White House decrying the President's call for Israel to remove tanks from the occupied territories, Bush recoiled from his former speech and didn't repeat the demand.
It is important to remember that Islam has had a substantial role in perpetuating violence and war, especially in Palestine. However, those of us who come from a Christian or Jewish background can do something to help change the situation. We can no longer throw all the blame at the Muslims.
There are many Jewish and Christian groups that are working for peace. Groups like Gush Shalom, Women in Black, Courage to Refuse and Rabbis for Human Rights are Israelis who are really fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah to "beat swords into plowshares."
Christian groups like Pax Christi, the Catholic Worker Movement and Every Church a Peace Church are also ones who strive to live by Jesus' words at Matthew 26:52. Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, a Catholic Worker who has visited the occupied territories, writes in The Catholic Radical, "After such experiences in Israel/Palestine, both the nightmares and the miracles, I am more sure than ever that peace is not only necessary, but possible."
[Mitch Jones is currently a student majoring in journalism and sociology. He attends the State University of New York at Brockport where he writes for the student newspaper, the Stylus. He also is a singer/songwriter and poet. More information can be found at Mitch's website: He lives in the United States.]
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