Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of August 1, 2011
Readers write in with responses to columnist Walter Rodgers's piece, "Israel and Evangelicals: Genesis isn't a policy guide."
God and Middle East land
Kudos to Walter Rodgers for his June 27 commentary, "Israel and Evangelicals: Genesis isn't a policy guide," illustrating the inherent danger of blind-faith religion, based entirely on a literal interpretation of Scripture in which reason is suspended, to a representative form of government that is based on: "Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord" (Isa. 1:18).
With their knowledge and understanding of history, our Founding Fathers saw not only the wisdom but the necessity of keeping church and state forever separated – a need that, unfortunately, becomes more evident each day.
Mr. Rodgers points out that a significant barrier to peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is the narrow and exclusive view of The Almighty (Great Architect, in my theology) expressed by adherents of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I have learned that The Almighty is too big to fit into one religion.
Regarding the contention by the pastor Rodgers quoted that "Allah is a false God," it should be explained to your readers that "Allah" is the word for God used by Christians who speak Arabic. It is, in fact, the word used in Arabic translations of the Bible.
The thoughts Rodgers expressed are long overdue and should be taken up by other voices.
Mixing religion and statecraft may be dangerous but must be part of any Middle East peace plan. Disregarding it would be unwise.
Rodgers bases his argument on questionable grounds. One evangelical pastor's interpretation doesn't represent the majority Christian view. Genesis promised a specific territory to Abraham and his ancestors (the Jewish people), regardless of the exact boundaries.
For Christians, even though the Nativity site may be in dispute, it doesn't negate that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and walked the land of today's Israel; tradition and history have proved this – and so the land is sacred to them.
Middle East peace negotiators can no more ignore these factors than local governments can ignore the fact that plans for a new road would go across an old cemetery or other sacred site.
In this commentary, Rodgers certainly defines the major obstacle to peace in the Middle East – a problem both domestic and foreign.