Saturday, January 10, 2009

Imagine

Modern day America.

A world body has decided that the lands belonging to the United States of America should be returned to Native Americans. American citizens are neither consulted, nor considered. The world at large has decided, following an outcry over the treatment of Native Americans, that they should be restored to their rightful homelands.

With the help of the world, Native Americans take over the former United States. It is a violent takeover. Where once peace reigned, violence now dominates. Americans are forced from their homes, often leaving behind all that they own. The borders with Canada and Mexico are swamped as they search for a place to live, free from the violence. There they find only squalid camps set up hastily. Basic necessities are lacking.

Decades later, the situation has not improved. While some refugees have managed to establish themselves in new locations, many still long for home. Many still live in poverty and squalor. Many still resent having lost all they worked for their entire lives. Many still consider themselves "Americans," even though that word now lacks any real meaning to the world.

These fight back. They want to reclaim all that is theirs - their land, their property, their very identity. Picture the movie "Red Dawn," where a group of high schoolers become heroes after fighting a resistance against Russian invaders. Do they employ radical, violent means? Yes, but it's seen as heroic in the movie. These people are fighting for America.

Now, imagine that, still decades on, an effort to make peace is made. The Native Americans agree to restore some land to the Americans. The world is happy - peace is on the way and Americans should be grateful to have some of their land back. After all, compromise is the best way to deal with this problem. Hope rises.

The land given to the Americans consists of desert and swampland. There is no fertile ground. It is the worst possible land in the country, but still, they now have a place to call America. It is split into different sections, divided only by the fertile land in between. Oh, did I mention it is surrounded and controlled by the Native Americans? They decide on what gets in and out. They control the movements of the citizens in this new America.

The resistance continues in the face of this insulting offer. The Native Americans crack down hard - stopping the flow of basic human necessities. Americans are not allowed to leave their own territories for work, even though there is no need for work in the small enclave they have been given. Poverty levels are above 80%. Unemployment is rampant.

In response to the continued resistance, which includes attacks on Native American cities, the world body condemns Americans branding them as terrorists. Many believe that they are, at heart, a violent people who will never be satisfied. Most "civilized" countries stand firmly by the Native American government, feeling sympathy that they are on the receiving end of the constant resistance movement.

Finally, the Native Americans have had enough. Following attacks on their country by ineffective and outdated weapons that have left 8 people dead, they fire back. Using ultimately superior weapons, they attack the enclave of America. Hundreds upon hundreds die, including innocent women and children. Many thousands more are injured and left homeless. Food is scarce. Electricity, heat and cooking fuel is non-existent.

And yet the world stands idly by.

* * * * * *

Think this could never happen? It is happening as we speak. Only the names have been changed.

I thought about titling this post "The One Where Lori Loses Half Her Readers." I know that many evangelical Christians stand wholeheartedly with Israel, based on an interpretation of the Bible that I believe is flawed. We are the new Israel, the recipients of God's covenant promises. The land called Israel today is not what God is referring to. He's not interested in the political boundaries, He's interested in the hearts of those who love and serve Him. We as Christians are called to love ALL men.


The government of Israel is just that - a government. It is a secular system which does not seek God or His will. Unwavering support based on a flawed belief is what has made America the target of Islamic attacks. Our refusal to see both sides of the argument and to side with Israel in every instance has instilled hatred for us. Trust me, Israel is not the kindly benefactor of the Palestinians that has been horribly mistreated. Violence abounds on both sides with a gross inequality in the number of deaths and suffering.


I pray that people will open their eyes to the suffering of the Palestinian people. Understand the situation from their perspective. They had lived at peace in their land for centuries prior to 1948, when their land was suddenly ripped out from under them. Do a little research and don't just accept the media and the government's point of view.


Edited to add: My husband would like me to correct myself that all was not happiness and roses in Palestine prior to 1948. They had lived under the rule of many other empires - the Ottoman's, the British, etc. By the very nature of where they live, their land has always been contested and fought over. However, things have escalated to new heights since modern-day secular Israel was established in 1948. The purpose of this post is not to endorse actions taken by Palestinians, but to encourage people to see the other side of the story.

6 comments:

Tara N. said...

I am going to de-lurk to say 1) you are very brave to post this, and 2) I agree 100%!!! I do believe the way the majority of Christians view the state of Israel is a result of flawed theology. I am amazed at how deep and widespread this theology is, too. It is a tragic situation for both sides - but neither side can claim innocence.

Misty said...

lori, you most certianly won't lose my readership!! i do not agree w/ you that we are the new israel and that it is literal land/geography, but i agree with you so much about the need for compassion and an understanding of both sides. i believe we as christians are called to be thinkers and not just blindly agree w/ whatever you hear, either way. we are also called to love and be the body, and that would include the palestinians, but what that looks like is hard for me to say. the previous commenter is right, it's tragic either way...

ValleyGirl said...

I'm not intelligent enough about this subject to have strong feelings or beliefs about Christians and Israel either way ~ but you're right: we need to not just blindly accept what we hear from our governments and media. There are both perpetrators AND innocents on BOTH sides.

This was a great read, Lori. People who know what they're talking about, are passionate about their beliefs, and who are obviously smarter than I am are ALWAYS of interest to me!

Anya said...

Lori - you can be sure that most of the non-American world completely agrees with you. We are constantly amazed at how biased 'your' media is. Our hearts break for the Palestinians too, as they did for the Lebanese just a year or two ago. But that's not to say we're anti-Israel. We just appreciate that there's more to the story than first meets the eye. Now we'll just wait for your opinion on Iraq (cheeky nudge)... xoxo

Laura said...

Lori - preach it, preach it, preach it. I'm with a 100%. Having actually traveled in the West Bank, having not seen that Israel is simply a Disneyland of OT theology, I became deeply convinced that something was really, really wrong with the occupation and how we viewed it in the US, particularly among evangelicals.

Preach it. Preach it. Preach it. Not only for the Palestinians' sake, but for Israel's. God has called them to something much higher that the reality on the ground.

stacey said...

i am going to have to re-read this to digest it! then i will be back for comment! i am slow sometimes on historical affairs! :)

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