Can Evangelical Christians Oppose Netanyahu?

“We’re just operating in an environment in which younger evangelicals for a number of years now have not really liked the bargain that my generation made with Republican politics,” Todd Deatherage

In 2002 Deatherage joined the Bush State Department under Secretary of State Colin Powell as part of the Office of International Religious Freedom.  In that role he first visited Jerusalem during the second intifada and met Palestinians and Israelis.   “Everyone I met had a story to tell, each with varying degrees of anger, sadness, fear, and resolve.” The 24-foot-high concrete wall through Palestinian neighborhoods showed him the pain of families communities cut apart.  This led Deaterage to question the  apocalyptic view his evangelical community held for the modern nation of Israel. “The problem was the absolute certainty about being able to clearly see God’s will in current events coupled with the fatalism or even enthusiasm about war and violence in the Middle East.  Years later when I revisited the issue I began to wonder what would it look like to take seriously what Jesus said about ‘blessed are the peacemakers.’”

Deatherage goes on  “The religious right and their support for Israel is now “center to what it means to be a member of the Republican Party,” Trump has “given new life to this segment of American Christianity that was really kind of on its heels. They have asked the president for very specific things and he’s been helpful.”

Deatherage  and Telos are making a calculation that a new generation of evangelicals will shift debate around the issue. Deatherage said. “They haven’t all turned into progressives, but they have been trying to find different ways to engage the world that’s connected to their faith.”

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