Eye on the Middle East Jan/Feb 2008

A man identifying himself as a “missionary in Jerusalem” wrote a scathing response to an op-ed piece I wrote recently for The Jerusalem Post. The writer castigated me for my apparent lack of love for people of all feather, be they Jewish, Christian, or Muslim. He was particularly rankled over my lack of compassion for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current anti-Semitic heir to the late and unlamented Adolf Hitler.

As a Christian, I was admonished to love all people and to reflect the attitude of Jesus who made a practice of hanging out with Pharisees and prostitutes—those whom His contemporaries considered the lowlifes of society.

In my defense, I will not for a moment align Ahmadinejad with the poor, downtrodden prostitutes of Christ’s day or even with the misinformed Pharisees. Rather, I’d compare him to Herod the Great—the fanatical, obsequious impersonator of the true King of the Jews—who slaughtered the infants of Bethlehem in the hope of slaying the infant Jesus whom Herod believed to be a threat to his coveted position.

There is a world of difference between being a judgmental person and being a person of rational judgment. The Holy Scriptures admonish all of us to exhibit wisdom and biblical discernment. Unfortunately, contemporary secularists—both religious and irreligious—deem all criticism inappropriate, politically incorrect, and socially out of bounds. In other words, don’t criticize another’s religion, cult, heresy, apostasy, opinion, values, lifestyle, or whatever because you will be labeled judgmental and abrasively incorrect.

But think for a moment. When British Lord Neville Chamberlain came back to his country in 1938 waving a certificate of promise for “peace in our time” (which Adolf Hitler fully intended to violate), should Christians have embraced it charitably as a random act of Nazi kindness? Or should we have resisted it with every fiber of our beings as a deplorable atrocity in the making? Of course, we did not resist; and history has recorded the shame of our inconstancy.

Let us not deceive ourselves. Our enemies are determined to set a course of destruction or subservience for Israel and the West. If you are willing to accept this from the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his militant Islamist compatriots, so be it. Pray for them, and lay down the red carpet when they enter your sphere. But remember this: you will be among the first to go to the chopping block for your “infidel” faith.

Yes, we pray. And we hope our enemies will come to the light. But, at the same time, when they have openly declared that they plan to unleash another Holocaust on our only friends in the Middle East, we cannot be so naïve as to think they will not do it.

We made that mistake once. And any afternoon, a walk through the Yad Vashem memorial to the Holocaust in Jerusalem should jar us to reality. Hitler slaughtered 50 million Europeans, including 6 million innocent Jewish men, women, and children. As a Christian, I would invite my well-intentioned but vastly misguided friends in the faith to take a walk down the Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles and spend a little time at the memorials to Oskar Schindler and Corrie ten Boom.

I think, at least I hope, that it will help you come away with a prayer for those who continue to suffer and for our self-avowed enemies as well.

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