Several dozen evangelical leaders have released a letter to President Bush in an effort to distinguish themselves from ardent pro-Israel evangelicals and to urge evenhandedness between Israel and the Palestinians.
The letter's authors got the idea while visiting the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, where, according to the New York Times, they "met Muslim and American diplomats who were shocked to discover the existence of American evangelicals who favored a Palestinian state." The organizers plan to translate their letter into Arabic and distribute it internationally.The letter repeated a common media-grabbing formula for liberal evangelicals. Demand action on climate change, denounce U.S. policies on "torture," or insist on a less pro-Israel stance. The ostensibly surprising revelation that not all evangelicals are reflexively Republican is an almost guaranteed headline maker.
The signers insist that they share the evangelical perspective that God will bless all who bless the descendants of Abraham, a common biblical theme among pro-Israel evangelicals. But they assert that both Israel and the Palestinians have ''legitimate rights stretching back for millennia to the lands of Israel/Palestine,'' and that a Palestinian state must include the "the vast majority of the West Bank.''
Ron Sider insisted that he and his fellow letter signers want "security" for Israel. But it's difficult to know what he, as a professed pacifist, means by security. Many of the signers are skeptical about the U.S. war against terrorism and place greater hope in international mediation than do typical evangelicals. The letters signers assume that Middle East peace depends on pressuring Israel into more accommodations. Most evangelicals are more skeptical.
In Evangelicals for Hezbollahstan the letter was described thus.
Evangelicals have long been a mainstay of U.S. support for Israel. But the Evangelical Left is trying to push Evangelicals into a more neutral position towards Israel.
Organizers of the Evangelical statement have couched their initiative in language of support for the Annapolis peace process. The prominent Religious Left endorsers, such as Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and ESA’s Ron Sider, are better known for harsh condemnation of U.S. policies. But their stance is politically shrewd, as they posture as reasonable-minded Evangelicals in contrast to stereotypes about Evangelical Zionist zealots.
Meanwhile right now Dr. Shaun Casey will be running the faith forums for Obama, a role formerly filled by Father Michael Pfleger until he had to be bounced for his own radical views. Shaun Casey represents a more moderate face for the left wing People of Faith approach Obama is pushing.
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s Campaign for Change will host its “Faith, Family & Values” tour in communities in the Shenandoah Valley and southwestern Virginia on Monday and Tuesday. The tour will focus on how Obama’s faith has informed his judgment and shaped his perspective on the most urgent problems facing the nation.
Dr. Shaun Casey, Obama’s evangelical outreach coordinator, will lead the forums and talk about Obama’s faith how it has shaped his plans to strengthen Virginia families.
Ron Sider, the initiator of the letter, meanwhile has already met with Obama at Obama's own initiative.
That should tell you what kind of evangelicals Obama has surrounded himself with and their views on Israel.
Shaun Casey might be better known to you from his "Jesus was an illegal immigrant" quote and like half the Obama gang is naturally linked up with George Soros.