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July 30, 2002
Not all Evangelicals are Blind supporters of Israel



Evangelical Christians and Israel/Palestine

There has been considerable attention paid in the news and in Washington tp the politicized role of the Christian Right in advocacy and its seeming unquestioned support for the unyielding policies and actions of the government of Israel. However, many evangelical Christians do not share the views of Ralph Reed and his friends. Here is a letter to the President from over 40 evangelical Christian leaders who "reject the way some have distorted biblical passages as their rationale for uncritical support for every policy and action of the Israeli government instead of judging all actions - of both Israelis and Palestinians - on the basis of biblical standards of justice."

July 2, 2002

President George Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We write as American evangelical Christians concerned for the well-being of all the children of Abraham in the Middle East -- Christian, Jewish and Muslim. We urge you to employ an even-handed policy toward Israeli and Palestinian leadership so that this bloody conflict will come to a speedy close and both peoples can live without fear and in a spirit of shalom/salaam.

An even-handed U.S. policy towards Israelis and Palestinians does not give a blank check to either side, nor does it bless violence by either side. An even-handed policy affirms the valid interests of Israelis and Palestinians: both states free, economically viable and secure, with normal relations between Israel and all its Arab neighbors. We commend your stated support for a Palestinian state with 1967 borders, and encourage you to move boldly forward so that the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for their own state may be realized.

We abhor and condemn the suicide bombings of the last 22 months and the failure of the Palestinian Authority in the first year of the intifada to stop the violence against Israeli citizens. We grieve over the loss of life, particularly among children, and the suffering by Israelis and Palestinians. The longer the bloodletting continues, the more difficult it will be for both sides to reconcile with each other.

We urge you to provide the leadership necessary for peacemaking in the Middle East by vigorously opposing injustice, including the continued unlawful and degrading Israeli settlement movement. The theft of Palestinian land and the destruction of Palestinian homes and fields is surely one of the major causes of the strife that has resulted in terrorism and the loss of so many Israeli and Palestinian lives. The continued Israeli military occupation that daily humiliates ordinary Palestinians is also having disastrous effects on the Israeli soul.

Mr. President, the American evangelical community is not a monolithic bloc in full and firm support of present Israeli policy. Significant numbers of American evangelicals reject the way some have distorted biblical passages as their rationale for uncritical support for every policy and action of the Israeli government instead of judging all actions - of both Israelis and Palestinians - on the basis of biblical standards of justice. The great Hebrew prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah, declared in the Old Testament that God calls all nations and all people to do justice one to another, and to protect the oppressed, the alien, the fatherless and the widow.

Finally, Mr. President, be assured of our prayers for you and your cabinet as you lead our nation in this troubled time. May the strength and peace of the Lord be with you.


cc: Colin L. Powell, Secretary of State

Raymond J. Bakke
Executive Director
International Urban Associates
Seattle, WA

Craig Barnes
Senior Pastor
National Presbyterian Church
Washington, DC

Marilyn Borst
Executive Director
Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding
Houston, TX

Gary M. Burge
Professor of Theology
Wheaton College & Graduate School
Wheaton, IL

Clive Calver
President, World Relief of the
National Association of Evangelicals
Baltimore, MD

Paul-Gordon Chandler
President & CEO
Partners International
Spokane, WA

John Crosby
Pastor, Christ Presbyterian Church
Minneapolis, MN

Tim Dearborn
Chairman, International Fellowship
Of Evangelical Mission Theologians, USA
Seattle, WA

John De Haan
Executive Director
Association of Evangelical Relief & Development Organizations (AERDO)
Grand Rapids, MI

John R. Dellenback
Former director, U.S. Peace Corps
U.S. House of Representatives, retired
Medford, OR

Christopher Doyle
President & CEO
American Leprosy Missions
Greenville, SC

Craig Hilton Dyer
President, Bright Hope International
Hoffman Estates, IL

Colleen Townsend Evans
Author, Writer
Fresno, CA

Leighton Ford,
President, Leighton Ford Ministries
Charlotte, NC

Steve Hayner
Past President,
InterVarsity, USA
Madison, WI

Paul Kennel
President, World Concern
Seattle, WA

Don Kruse
Vice President
Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation
Chicago, IL

Peter Kuzmic
Distinguised Professor of World Missions & European Studies
Gordon-Conwell Seminary
South Hamilton, MA

Max Lange
President, Childcare International
Bellingham, WA

Gordon MacDonald
Board Chairman, World Relief of the
National Association of Evangelicals
Boston, MA

Michael A. Mata
Pastor of Leadership Development
Pasadena (CA) First Church of the Nazarene
Director, Urban Leadership Institute

Rev. Dr. Albert G. Miller
Midwest District Minister,
The House of the Lord Pentecostal Church
Oberlin, OH

Paul Moore
President, CitiHope International
Andes, NY

Richard J. Mouw
President, Fuller Seminary
Pasadena, CA

David Neff
Editor, Christianity Today
Carol Stream, IL

Victor D. Pentz
Senior Minister,
Peachtree Presbyterian Church
Atlanta, GA

Eugene F. Rivers
Special Assistant to the President,
Pan-African Charismatic Evangelical Congress, Boston, MA

Leonard Rodgers
President, Venture International
Tempe, AZ

Andrew Ryskamp
Executive Director
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee - US
Grand Rapids, MI

Scott C. Sabin
Executive Director
Floresta USA
San Diego, CA

Cheryl J. Sanders
Senior Pastor, Third Street Church of God
Washington DC
Howard University School of Divinity

Amb. (r) Robert A. Seiple
Founder & President
The Institute for Global Engagement
St. Davids, PA

Ronald J. Sider
President, Evangelicals for Social Action
St. Davids, PA

Luci N. Shaw
Author, Lecturer, Writer in Residence
Regent College
Vancouver, B.C., Canada

James Skillen
President, Center for Public Justice
Annapolis, MD

Glen Harold Stassen
Professor of Christian Ethics
Fuller Seminary
Pasadena, CA

Richard Stearns
President, World Vision US
Federal Way, WA

Amb. (r) Clyde D. Taylor
Board, International Justice Mission
Washington, DC

Dean Trulear
Pastor, Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church
Twin Oaks, PA

Harold Vogelaar
Resident Scholar in World Religions
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

Donald Wagner
Director, Center for Middle East Studies
North Park University
Chicago, IL

Robin & Nancy Wainwright
Board of Directors
Holy Land Trust
Pasadena, CA

Philip Yancey
Evergreen, CO

More information about Churches for Middle East Peace and its work on behalf of the member churches can be found at www.cmep.org. If you would like to be removed from this list, please let me know.

Tom Quigley
Regional Coordinator
Churches for Middle East Peace
11530 West Oakmont Drive
Mukilteo, WA 98275

Churches for Middle East Peace is a Washington-based program of the American Friends Service Committee, Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Institutes, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Church World Service and Witness, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Mennonite Central Committee, National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church

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