(NCC News) Most Christians support Israel AND Palestine,
oppose Iran war: NCC leaders
New York City, July 16, 2007-As Pastor John Hagee prepares for his annual
Christians United for Israel (CUFI) gathering this week in Washington, D.C.,
two leaders of the National Council of Churches USA (NCC) are reminding observers
that most Christians do not share CUFI's stated goals.
"John Hagee's message differs greatly with what theologians have taught for
centuries," said Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, NCC's Associated General Secretary
for International Affairs and Peace.
"The Christian Gospel is clear that salvation came through the crucifixion
and resurrection of Jesus Christ," said Dr. Kireopoulos. "To supplement this
message is to pervert the Gospel Hagee claims to preach."
Pastor Hagee's efforts are the latest in a century old apocalyptic movement
that began in earnest in the 19th century. Sometimes called Christian Zionism
because of its uncritical support for the State of Israel, it is based on
a literal reading of Biblical apocalyptic texts.
CUFI's position of uncritical support for Israel separates it from the Anglican,
Catholic, Orthodox, and traditional Protestant Churches, all of whom support
Israel while at the same time advocate for a Palestinian state, Kireopoulos
The NCC advocates for a two-state solution, with a secure Israel alongside
a viable Palestinian state. The NCC position, approved by the NCC's 35 member
denominations, is based on the Christian imperative to seek justice for all
people. The NCC has stated the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories
is unsupportable. This position is shared by Churches worldwide, and is counter
to the position espoused by CUFI.
"Only a just solution will bring peace to the Middle East," said Kireopoulos.
"CUFI stands apart from the historic Churches still present in the Holy Land.
All of these Churches serve Palestinian Christians, who are adversely affected
by the policies supported by Hagee and CUFI. As a result of these policies,
Christian communities in the Holy Land are diminishing and are threatened
"CUFI's ongoing vilification of Islam is also unacceptable," said the Rev.
Dr. Shanta Premawardhana, NCC's Associate General Secretary for Interfaith
"The NCC continues to urge Christians to build relationships with Muslim
people, the vast majority of whom are peace-loving, law-abiding people,"
Hagee's group has also advocated going to war with Iran.
"Such a war is totally unacceptable," said Premawardhana. "The NCC believes
that high level dialogues with Iran and other Middle Eastern partners is
the proper method of dealing with Iran."
The National Council of Churches USA is the ecumenical voice of 35 of America's
Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and traditional
peace churches. These NCC denominations have 45 million faithful members
in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.
NCC News contact: Dan Webster, 212.870.2252, NCCnews@ncccusa.org
Latest NCC News at www.councilofchurches.org