Blessings are conditional. However we think of them, and wherever we think they originate, blessings are gifts – special graces – which we can accept and discard. That is in our gift. We have the right of refusal. Blessed with love, we cannot take our lovers and loved ones for granted. We cannot take without giving in return. The gift of love is not a certificate of ownership. Likewise, the blessing and gift of life is conditional. Its continuation and renewal always and everywhere depend on our generous acceptance of the gift and our loving care for the blessing.
Theirs is the faith, when it is set out in plain words, of the zealot and the fanatic. By no means do I intend to suggest that they are zealots, fanatics, or indeed bad people. All that I will say is that their ideas – or some of their ideas – are fanatical and dangerous in the extreme, and in this assessment there is no exaggeration.
According to the Pew Research Centre some 52.8 million US white Evangelical Christians identify themselves as Christian Zionists, the most politically influential voter bloc in the United States.
True, modern political Zionism, rather than being a Jewish nationalist aspiration, was first the product of English and American Protestantism. English Puritans, from the earliest colonisation of North America, conceptualised their new home as a new Israel, a ‘City on a hill;’ a New Jerusalem.
If questioning Zionism is a dangerous task then challenging Christian Zionism, the largest, best funded, and most religio-politically fundamentalist branch of Zionism, is infinitely more perilous. It is all the more dangerous because its influence – advocating the agency of God in Israel’s present history – reaches deep within the Church and to every level of US and British government.
Each year the thought leaders of this Christian Zionist movement issue updated religious rulings on who the ‘coming antichrist’ might be, and these constantly changing lists have an uncanny relationship with Israel’s enemies and US foreign policy.