Christ at the Checkpoint: Distorting the Biblical and Political Narrative
JERUSALEM, Israel -- The fourth biennial Christ at the Checkpoint Conference in Bethlehem wrapped up Thursday.
Day one of the four-day conference kicked off with a speech by Hanna Amira, chairman of the Palestinian Authority's Higher Committee for Christian Affairs.
In an utter distortion of the facts, Amira told the mostly evangelical Christian audience, numbering about 300, "The Israeli government is giving the green light to the army and to the settlers to continue the acts of killing and attacking the Palestinian people, in particular, the children and the young – and women."
Munther Isaac, an ordained minister of the evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, translated Amira's address.
Isaac, who serves as conference administrator, is also academic dean of the Bethlehem Bible College, a center for the teaching of Palestinian Liberation Theology.
In this context, organizers say the purpose of the conference is "to challenge evangelicals to take responsibility to help resolve the conflicts in Israel/Palestine by engaging with the teaching of Jesus on the Kingdom of God."
it's a decidedly skewed perspective, not only biblically, but also in its presentation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Like other replacement theologies, Palestinian Liberation Theology teaches that God severed His covenant with Israel and the Jewish people, replacing them, in this case, with "Palestinians." According to this theology, Jesus was not a Jew, but a Palestinian.
In an op-ed posted earlier this week, Middle East expert Caroline Glick writes how that would play out today, pointing out the theology "is encapsulated in the very name 'Christ at the Checkpoint.'"
"Today a Jewish Jesus would be prohibited from entering Bethlehem. Jews are barred from entering Palestinian population centers because Palestinians have a habit of murdering them," Glick wrote.
"On the other hand, a Palestinian Jesus can be in Bethlehem. But to leave he has to go through an Israeli checkpoint (to ensure that he isn't a terrorist, to be sure, but whatever)," she explains. "So the image evoked by the name "Christ at the Checkpoint" ignores the reality of Palestinian terrorism. And it leaves us with an image of the repression of a Palestinian Jesus at the hands of the Jews."
In almost the same way Palestinian Liberation Theology distorts the biblical narrative, the Palestinian Authority does likewise when it comes to Israel.
P.A. Chairman Mahmoud Abbas almost always refers to Palestinian Arab terrorists as shahids (martyrs).
During his two-day visit to Israel this week, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who was in close proximity to Tuesday night's stabbing attack that killed American Taylor Force called out the Palestinian Authority for failing to condemn terrorism.
"Let me say in no uncertain terms, the United States of America condemns these acts and condemns the failure to condemn these acts," Biden told reporters in a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"This cannot be viewed by civilized leaders as an appropriate way in which to behave," Biden said. "It is just not tolerable that in the 21st century, they're targeting innocent civilians, mothers, pregnant women, teenagers, grandfathers [and] American citizens."