Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Support for Israel is weakening among evangelical Christians
While hard numbers are not available, evangelical leaders on both sides of the divide on Israel agree that members of the millennial generation do not share their parents’ passion for the Jewish state; many are seeking some form of even-handedness when approaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “What is happening is that the hard line of Christian Zionists was not successfully passed forward to the next generation, because it was based on theological themes that are now being questioned by younger evangelicals,” said David Gushee, professor of Christian ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University in Atlanta. The grip of Christian Zionists over young evangelicals has been loosening for several years, according to observers within the community. But recently, the leading evangelical pro-Israel organization, Christians United for Israel, has set off alarm bells in articles and interviews decrying the inroads made by pro-Palestinian activists into the evangelical community. In June 2011, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey among evangelical leaders convened in Cape Town, South Africa, for the third Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization. The findings indicated lower support for Israel than previously believed. A majority of American evangelical leaders (49%) expressed neutrality when asked if they sympathize more with Israelis or with Palestinians. Thirty percent expressed support for Israelis, 13% for the Palestinians.