THE SEX OF THE ANGELS

by Dr Walid Phares

To the Jewish intellectuals who are discussing "Christian love" to Jews, or "Jewish options" with Christians, please accept the following remarks.

1) As an individual who belongs to a Middle East Christian ethnicity may I suggest also that Lebanese Christians, Assyrians, Copts, and South Sudanese have had sour experiences with Western Christians because of "theological" considerations. Evangelical Christian leaders in America constantly question the "Christianity" of the Maronites, and other indigenous Christians in the Middle East! They do not mobilize their enormous potentials when Copts, or Lebanese Christians are slaughtered.

Ironically, many among the Mideast Christians accuse the Evangelicals of being more sensitive to Israel than to their Christian brothers and sisters!

At a time when the Catholics of Lebanon were massacred by thousands by the Islamist forces, the Vatican did not react with its impressive weight. The Pope visited Khartoum when the southern Christians where massacred for being Christians, and he will be visiting Lebanon where the Christians are suffering from Syrian occupation..

The Catholic and Protestant worlds stood by the Moslems of Bosnia against the Orthodox. Many Orthodox criticized the liberal Jews in the US of "being behind the defeat of the Serbs." The Catholics and the Protestants are killing each others in Northern Ireland, and they are in great competition all over the world.

Christians do not form a monolithic group. Jews should not perceive the "Christian world" as a unified, fundamentally dangerous universe. They form blocs of nations, led by political interests. Similarly to other "civilizations," nothing more nothing less. They can be alienated, and they can be befriended. Israel, for example has done a great job in securing the gigantic Evangelical community of the United States, as an ally, despite the theological dispute about the Messiah!

2) There are Christians and Christians, with different priorities. Those Christians who have the luxury to "evangelize," and who enjoy the peaceful life of western democracy in Washington, Bonn, and Geneva, can afford to spend their money and energies on reaching their theological goals.

Preaching for one's religion is, and should be a matter of freedoms: A free ride among religious people. Yes, Evangelical Christians have an ultimate objective of converting -not only the Jews- but all mankind. It is not new to anyone. I'm surprised that people may still doubt it. But at the same time they are the most committed organized communities in the world vis a vis the state of Israel.

What Evangelical Christians can do for the defense of Israel, no one (on Earth) can do. It's a package deal -as Americans would say- Israelis knows perfectly what are the norms of the game here. There is nothing hidden. Israel is welcoming the Evangelical support of this worldwide force and is at the same time aware of the theological considerations. It is an earthly, very political decision. Take it or leave it would say the realist politicians of the 20th century world. But there are other Christians who seek alliance with Israel, not because of "conversion" design but because of history and common destiny. The only Christians in the world -not too many- who shed their blood with the Israelis, are the Maronites and other Christians in Lebanon. The latter do not have missionaries, nor do they condition their support to any evangelical design. It's a question of life or death to both minorities. It preceded the theological question to the era of Kings Hiram and Solomon!

Not that theology is absent. But in the case of Middle East Christians, the sentiment of Judeo-Christian brotherhood comes first as a result of common history. And of course you have the anti-Semitic Christians, and their new extensions the Arabist Christians. These factions -not rare at all- are the enemies of Israel, the Jews, and the Jewish-Christian alliance. The Christian-Christian dispute over Israel is raging within the Christian world. In my estimate, the pro-Israel camp is making serious progress. It is up to the Jewish community and Israel to make sure this camp.."wins."

3) For blasting all Christian groups, at all times is not the best thing to do, at a time when the principal adversary of Israel, i.e. the Islamist camp, is mobilizing its forces worldwide. It's a question of choices again.

Yes throughout history, the Jews suffered from Christian oppression. So did the Christians and Jews at the hands of Moslems. The Jews made sensible progress inside the Christian world, as I have mentioned earlier. Not all questions are solved. The Vatican has its considerations; the Evangelicals have theirs, and the Jews will have to maneuver in a very difficult context. It's a matter of earthly choices, one would call political. The moral revolution within mankind will take some time to win. Meanwhile intellectuals must address the imminent issues: The survival of the state of Israel; the protection of Human rights and minorities in the Middle East; the support to democratization, etc. While addressing these issues, many unsolved issues will "re-surface." Perhaps even these issues will be encouraged by the strategic opponents of Israel -today's Jihad forces- to gain strength.

Any one in charge of the international planning of the radical Islamist forces, will certainly recommend to excavate all theological quarrels between Jews, and their most formidable allies of today, the Christian Evangelicals.

It reminds me of the disputes inside the walls of Constantinople when the city was surrounded by the Ottomans. As described by many beautiful accounts, the scene was picturesque. Outside the gates, thousands of Mujahideens were shouting Allahu Akbar, death to the infidels. Inside the city, emotions were at their peak. At the core of the dome of the Basileus, arguments exploded, not about the defense of the city, but about the sex of the angels! More energies were spent by the various sects of Christianity on this theological war, then on defending the city. Syria and Mesopotamia had fell because of the Christological debates..Outside the gates, the Sultan is smiling. He knew he had just won the war.


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