By Tom Holmes
I stumbled onto something interesting when doing research for an article about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Most Jews seem to be united in support of Israel, but there are also millions of Christians who take Israel's side as well. And most of the pro-Israel folks seem to be conservative evangelicals. For example, Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park--15,000 members!--has on its stage in the worship area an American flag and an Israeli flag. You have to look twice to make sure you are not looking at a bima in one of our synagogues.
Also, another evangelical mega-church pastor, John Hagee, has put together a group called Christians United for Israel which claims millions of members.
In contrast, most liberal churches I've contacted seem to side more with the Palestinians. Julie Harley, the lead pastor of First United in Oak Park, says that the majority of members in her congregation think Israel is the bad guy because they continue to construct settlements in the occupied territories and have built the wall.
Likewise Good Shepherd's pastor, Kathy Nolte, said most of her members also seem to side with the Palestinians. When I looked at the ELCA website, it mentioned Israel's illegal building of settlements east of the "green line" but didn't say a thing about rockets being fired from Gaza into civilian settlements in Israel.
I'm not sure what to make of this. Any thoughts?