Why are American Evangelists supporting Israel? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

Why are American Evangelists supporting Israel?

We had previously written that the Zionist wing of Evangelist Christians gained serious influence over the U.S. administration with the election of Donald Trump as president. Trump was supported by both Evangelists and the pro-Benjamin Netanyahu businessmen in the Israeli lobby. The U.S. Vice President Mike Pence being a passionate Evangelist played a significant role in this support. Trump's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is also among the names that stand out with their Evangelist identities. DeVos was a businesswoman who owned a chain of colleges that applied the Evangelist education model. In the voting held at the senate for DeVos, who is the sister of Erik Prince, the founder of the well-known private security company Blackwater, two Republicans had voted "no." In the 100-member senate, DeVos received 50 "yes" and 50 "no" votes. Under such circumstances, the U.S. vice president can change the balance. Vice presidents are also the president of the senate. Vice presidents do not generally vote in secretary appointments, but in the DeVos case, Pence digressed from this practice. Thus, DeVos was able to become secretary with her fellow sectarian Pence's tie vote.

Of course, Evangelists are the most important part of the support network formed to free U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is being judged in our country and currently under house arrest. As the midterm elections in the U.S. will be held in November, Trump and the Republicans do not want to lose the support of the Evangelist voters. Even though the Evangelists vote for the Republican Party, this support needs to strengthen since the November elections are extremely critical.

Evangelists represent a wing of Protestant Christianity, which is at the center of the American identity. According to Professor Elizabeth Oldmixon of political science at the University of North Texas and who has studies on religion and politics relations, Evangelists became associated with the Republican Party in the last few decades. Christian Zionists make up one-third of the 50-million Evangelists. They regard supporting Israel as a "sacred duty." Thus, they played an active role in Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. According to Professor Oldmixon's work, Christian Zionists believe that "Great Israel" was bestowed upon the Jews by God. Based on this belief, the Messiah is going to descend to the earth and a millennium-long golden age is going to start. Those who obey the messiah are going to go to heaven. If they do not obey the messiah, Jews will also go to hell. Of course, Israel does not care about this imaginary side of the belief. It is the Evangelist support in the U.S. that concerns Israel.

The foundation of Israel in 1948 led to a great wave of excitement among the Evangelists in the U.S. because the assembly of Jews in Israel is a precondition in the pro-messiah-Armageddon belief for them that opens the doors to the golden age. The support given to Israel represents a very important role for the Christian Zionists that are a subset of Evangelists. Christian Zionists are advocators of the "Great Israel," including the West Bank and Jerusalem. Hence, they are fierce supporters of the illegal Jewish settlements. Thus, the Christian Zionists and the "religious Zionists" in Israel clash. Israel benefits from this conflict. Christian Zionist organizations hold trips to Israel for the youth. And Israel encourages the trips.

I provided this context to reveal what is behind the scenes in the uproar that started around the Brunson issue and the alliance established between Israel and the American Christian Zionists. Of course the Evangelical identity that has become associated with the Republican Party reflects on the U.S. congress. I must also state that this reflection has an effective role in the U.S. insistently continuing its Middle East policies in the context of Israel's interests.


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