Two men shaped my early Christian thinking probably more than all the others combined – John Stott and Francis Schaeffer, to whom I will be eternally grateful. I met Francis Schaeffer’s son Frankie two years ago and we dialogued about our mutual interest in the Middle East and our concern about the destructive influence of Christian Zionism.
Frankie has now written a review of our new film With God on our Side in his own inimitable style. Here’s a taster:
The so-called Jewish lobby is supposed to be so powerful that no American president can act without their approval. This is an anti-Semitic slur, a kind of Americanized “lite” version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (a forged anti-Semitic screed purporting to describe a Jewish plan to achieve global domination). For one thing most Jewish-Americans aren’t part of this lobby, but rather are ordinary American citizens who are just as skeptical of right-wing Jewish Zionist fundamentalist Israelis as other Americans are — perhaps more so, because they know more about them.
The truth is that when it comes to pandering to powerful religious/ethnic “blocs” in the US the biggest game in town is the across the board bowing to the white Evangelical “base” of the Republican Party. That’s the bloc of voters that adds up to real numbers, as high as a third of the American voting population.
It’s the Christian Zionists who have driven American foreign policy over a cliff. (I’m speaking here as the proud father of a Marine, who was sent to war in the Middle East, again and again.) Christian Zionists continuously jeopardize our future by putting the promotion of harebrained interpretations of biblical “prophecy” ahead of the well being of both Israel and the US.
To the Christian Zionists “defending Israel” is just a handy pretext for indulging their obsession: egging on, even “helping” the fulfillment of “biblical prophecies” about the “return of Christ.” But their worst sin isn’t just embracing dumb “theology” but that they have enabled a nefarious group of losers to irreparably harm America and contribute to the needless killing of our men and women in uniform worldwide: the neoconservatives.
To the neoconservatives “defending Israel” is just a handy pretext for upholding the myth of “American exceptionalism” for profit and nationalistic “glory,” of the kind that was supposed to have gone out of fashion when hubris and stupidity got half the young male population of Europe killed in World War One.
America needlessly went to war in Iraq because neoconservative war mongers — who laugh at the “those rubes” as they think of earnest Evangelical Christian Zionists, and whose own sons and daughters seem notably absent from our armed services — used the religious passion and dedication of conservative Evangelicals to provide political means and cover for the neoconservatives’ commitment to America’s military dominance of the world. In other words the Evangelicals provided the votes to put foolish war mongers like George W Bush in power.
With “friends” like the Christian Zionists and the neoconservatives Israel, America, our men and women in uniform, the Palestinians and the rest of humanity need no enemies. This is made poignantly clear by a new film, With God On Our Side.
With God On Our Side is the most powerful, humane and compassionate documentary exposé of the Christian Zionist movement, and the impact of their ideology on the lives they have touched (and ruined), ever made. It is well crafted, subtle and fair. And — notable in the “when hell freezes over” department — it was directed and produced by… an American Evangelical.
Read the rest here
Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back