"THE BIBLE BELT IS ISRAEL'S SAFETY BELT"
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
With the entire Muslim world and over half of the American people against Israel, the Jewish people cannot afford the extravagance of attacking those of us who are on their side. Yes, American evangelicals are among the most loyal supporters of Israel in the world today. Baptist Press reports:
Evangelical Christians are steadfastly committed to Israel's efforts to keep its citizenry safe and its borders secure, said Richard Land, president of the SBC's [Southern Baptist Convention's] Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, despite the fact that a majority of Americans (68 percent) in a May 6 Gallup Poll favor the U.S. remaining neutral in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. He said evangelicals recognize that Israel's right to its homeland is biblical (Baptist Press release, quoted in The Christian News, May 27, 2002, p. 1).
Land said in the Los Angeles Times, May 5, that in nearly every Southern Baptist church he visits, church members ask him to tell President Bush not to "abandon Israel" in the Administration's efforts to secure peace in the Mideast. "It is very, very important to evangelicals that the U.S. continue to back Israel," he said. "The Bible Belt is Israel's safety belt."
A National Review Online commentator suggested evangelicals back Israel with an "uncritical fervor that exceeds that of even some American Jews" (Baptist Press, ibid.).
Many people are unaware of why evangelicals are such staunch supporters of Israel, Land explained in a recent interview. "First of all, it's a matter of faith. It is a matter of our understanding, and belief in the Bible, that God gave this land to the Jews, the descendants of Isaac. Isaac is the child of promise and God is a keeper of his promises," he said (Baptist Press, ibid.).
Many Jews think of evangelicals as "step-children" of the Catholic Church. To be sure, evangelicals believe in Jesus. But that's where the comparison between us and Roman Catholics ends. In our six-hundred-year history Baptists have never persecuted the Jews. And it should be remembered that Baptists were often the victims of the same type of medieval Catholic hectoring and oppression that befell the Jews.
In contrast to the Roman Catholics of the Middle Ages, evangelicals think of Israel as God's land, and the Jews as His covenant people on earth. Dr. Land was right, "The Bible Belt is Israel's safety belt." Evangelical Christians are the best friends Israel has.
In spite of this fact, many Jews continue to hold such strong prejudices against us that they have a knee-jerk reaction every time we are mentioned! I think they do this because they confuse evangelicals with the medieval Catholics who persecuted them so terribly. But there is no reason for an educated Jew to hold onto the prejudices of the past.
I have in my hand a newspaper column by Richard Cohen titled, "Stopping Science in Its Tracks" (Washington Post, June 3, 2002). It is an all too typical tirade against evangelicals for rejecting human cloning, particularly focusing on a bill sponsored by Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas). Cohen says:
Brownback and his supporters are entitled to their beliefs. But they are primarily religious ones - a determination that life begins when they say it does.
Can't Cohen see that his own beliefs are also "primarily religious ones"? His views on when life begins are based every bit as much on his secularist religious opinions.
Then Cohen says:
This bill is nothing less than an attempt to impose a religious doctrine on the rest of us.
Can't Cohen see that this is exactly the way evangelicals view the abortion laws that have been shoved down our throats for the last quarter of a century? Cohen and his supporters have imposed their secularist religious doctrines on us, and they expect us to meekly submit without the slightest challenge to the Abortion Holocaust - which has now claimed 40 million lives, the extermination of nearly seven times as many human beings as Hitler massacred! Yet they cry "religious doctrine," and slander us every time we stand up for the dignity of human life!
Jews like Cohen need to give a little more thought before they attack evangelicals. It's time for Cohen and those who think like him to see that we are the best friends they have! If there were no evangelicals in America the state of Israel would not exist.
Is it wise to attack us when your ancestral homeland is surrounded by terrorists? Is it wise to alienate the largest block of people in America who steadfastly back the Jewish state?
It should be understood by Mr. Cohen, and those who think like him, that evangelicals support Israel for precisely the same reason that we support unborn children - because we believe "religious doctrines" taught in the Bible.
Aren't there enough real enemies out there? Cohen - wake up and stop attacking your friends!
For further comments on this subject, see Why President Nixon Was Wrong About Israel. Click on here, or go to www.rlhymersjr.com, "2001-2 Sermon Manuscripts" for 2-17-2002.