"Exclusively faulting Israel is neither evangelical nor socially just." -- Mark Tooley, IRD President
Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org
WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Evangelical left activists are preparing to convene a conference on Middle East peace.
"Impact: Holy Land," meeting December 4-6 at the Friends Center in Philadelphia, PA, will include leading evangelicals from the U.S., ostensibly gathering around relationship building and discussion.
Major U.S. speakers at the December 4-6 event include evangelist Tony Campolo (former spiritual counselor to Bill Clinton), Chicago megachurch co-founder Lynne Hybels of Willow Creek Church, and popular religious campus anti-war activist Shane Claiborne of The Simple Way in Philadelphia. Palestinian Melkite Catholic Archbishop Elias Chacour will also speak.
Polling of American evangelicals reveals they are overwhelmingly pro-Israel. Citing not just theological reasons, evangelicals note Israel is a pro-American and liberal democratic government, offering tolerance to religious minorities, including Christians. Meanwhile, most of Israel's neighbors offer far less freedom.
IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
The Institute on Religion & Democracy works to reaffirm the church's biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.
"Exclusively faulting Israel is neither evangelical nor socially just.
"Evangelicals across the political spectrum should agree that Israel has a right to live in safety. Any real peace must include Palestinians and others in the Middle East sincerely accepting and respecting Israel's permanent existence as a homeland for the Jewish people.
"Christians who encourage Palestinian grievance and victim-hood only perpetuate suffering for the people they say they want to help.
"Hopefully this 'Impact: Holy Land' event will not demonize Israel, overtly or subtly, and instead open eyes to the Middle East as it really is."