The Future of Christian Zionism
“Will America be a pro-Israel country in another generation? If CUFI continues its campus growth, the answer will be positive.
Acknowledging that much of the activity on college campuses is aggressively anti Israel, Christians United for Israel have been active in support of positive positions on Israel. Leading that effort, as “a fighter for the future,” is David Walker. Walker heads a “dynamic and passionate network of pro Israel student advocates – the next generation of pro Israel supporters.” Says Walker, “we are in a fight, and student s are in the front line….We are not afraid of a fight. You can’t have victory if you don’t have battles. We will overcome!”
With only about two years of campus activity to date, CUFI has established 75 chapters with 50 additional ones “in development” and 350 campus liaisons already in place. More than 500 student delegates attended the recent Summit in Washington D.C.
Calling themselves “the Joshua Generation,” the students are determined to foster pro Israel awareness in the campus community. Delegates are using facebook (CUFI has over half million likes) to spread the message that “support of Israel is inherent in the Christian faith.”
Outreach has become a strong component of CUFI activity. According to Executive Director David Brog, there is also an active Hispanic outreach program. “In the evangelical Spanish world, there is a great love for Israel,” he says.
In the African American community, Pastor Mike Stevens has undertaken the challenges of eradicating the hostility towards Jews and Israel through explanation of the shared experiences and “parallel pain” endured by both the Jewish and Black communities. “Both people were dislocated from their lands. Stevens says there is also a “Parallel of Promise” – a need to tell the story. There is not a great degree of resistance; rather it is an issue of ignorance. He is involved in educating the “Joshua Generation” of the African American community about the Jews, Rabbis and lay people, who stood by their sides, arm in arm during the Civil Rights Movement’s most volatile times.
Star Franklin is the volunteer Head of the Congregational Representatives Programs. “Israel,” she says, “is the roots. It is supporting us – we are not supporting it.” Community outreach is considered an integral responsibility by CUFI leaders. Individual churches establish community liaisons establishing activism on a church by church basis. All state, regional and local directors are volunteers.
A new issue confronting the organization in 2011 is the “Tea Party.” This group has taken a position of wanting to curtail American involvement in the world. CUFI does not support this doctrine, especially as it affects the American Israeli relationship. Christians United For Israel takes clear positions: Israel is not the problem; putting pressure on Israel is not the solution; Israel is not the bar to peace. Further, being pro- Israel is not being anti Palestinian.
CUFI acknowledges that there is significant debate In the Jewish community about accepting Christian help. Pastor Victor Sirsky says “Christians are apologizing for anti-Semitic acts. Christians have done terrible things, but the Christians standing for Israel today have nothing in common with anti-Semitic actions of the past.” Says the Pastor, “It may take more than five years to change the history of the past two thousand.”
Putting the Judeo back into the Christian faith, he says, “is essential. Christianity stands on the foundation of Judaism.”
Turning to the activity to the Hispanic community, the largest minority in America, CUFI leaders characterize the membership of the Hispanic leadership conference – representing 36,600 churches – as “an army of Latinos coming together with the Jews to stand for Israel.”
Were a single category be selected to define the primary work of CUFI, it would be education – teaching Christians that Israel is not just a Jewish issue. Ultimately the most important issue is the position of the United States, “a pretty pro Israel county,” says David Brog. “The real battle is to fight the generational battle.”