JERUSALEM (Catholic Online) – Christian Zionism is a false and extreme theological and political philosophy that is has become a corrupting influence in the politics of Israel and the United States, said a Catholic patriarch and three other religious leaders here, urging Christians churches to break their silence.
The statement, "The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism," released by Aug. 22, was signed by Catholic Latin-rite Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem and other leaders of Christian churches in Jerusalem, Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East and Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.
“Christian Zionism is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel,” the religious leaders said.
Christian Zionism, the statement said, is an ideology that views the gospel through the prism of “empire, colonialism and militarism identifies,” emphasizing in its extreme form “apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ's love and justice today.”
”We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation,” the four leaders said.
The Holy Land leaders condemned the influence that Christian Zionism is having in American and Israeli policies concerning the Palestinian Territories.
The leaders “reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral preemptive borders and domination over Palestine.”
Christian Zionism, they said, “facilitate and support” policies that “advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ.”
They added that such policies undermine the security of the “Middle East and the rest of the world.”
“We call upon all people to reject the narrow world view of Christian Zionism and other ideologies that privilege one people at the expense of others,” Patriarch Sabbath and the three religious leaders said, warning “that Christian Zionism and its alliances are justifying colonization, apartheid and empire-building.”
The Holy Land leaders urged the world’s Christian churches to pray for the Palestinian and Israeli people, both “victims of occupation and militarism” where Palestine’s “impoverished ghettos surrounded by exclusive Israeli settlements.”
“Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon,” the heads of Jerusalem faith communities called “upon everyone to liberate themselves from the ideologies of militarism and occupation. Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!”
They said that the establishment of “illegal” settlements and the construction of a wall in the “confiscated” Palestinian Territories “undermine the viability of a Palestinian state as well as peace and security in the entire region.”
Christian churches that have remained silent must “break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land,” the four said.
They committed themselves to non-violent resistance to end the Israeli occupation, affirmed that Israelis and Palestinians can live together in “peace, justice and security,” and rejected “all attempts to subvert and fragment” the oneness and unity of Muslim and Christian Palestinians.
“All people are created in the image of God,” they said, and “called to honor the dignity of every human being and to respect their inalienable rights.”
“God demands that justice be done,” the four religious leaders said. “No enduring peace, security or reconciliation is possible without the foundation of justice. The demands of justice will not disappear. The struggle for justice must be pursued diligently and persistently but without violence.”
“This is where we take our stand,” they said. “We stand for justice. We can do no other.” “Justice alone guarantees a peace that will lead to reconciliation with a life of security and prosperity for all the peoples of our land,” the Christian leaders stated. “By standing on the side of justice, we open ourselves to the work of peace – and working for peace makes us children of God.”
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.