Much has been written over the last few days about Ted Cruz’s appearance at the first summit of a new organization, “In Defense of Christians.” The organization is working to form an alliance of leaders to preserve and protect some of the world’s oldest Christian groups. What may be most curious about this organization is how they are now covering up exactly who makes up their board.
The incident in the news that brought this group front and center occurred as the result of Cruz walking away from the podium after stating that those who will not stand with our ally, Israel, will not have his support. You can view more here. His attempt to suggest that all religious bigotry (including anti-semitism) was a problem did not seem welcome to some in this audience. Watching his preliminary words before he left the stage helps put it in context.
Among the many opinions out there, Mark Tooley and his commenters appear to be aware of the political and nationalist aspect of being a Mideast Christian, which helps clarify the reaction to Cruz from some of the audience:
It’s no secret that many Mideast Christians generally aren’t big fans of Israel. I learned this firsthand during the 2006 Israel war on Hezbollah, when my discussion at church with a Lebanese Christian nearly escalated to a shouting match.Mideast Christians, in other words, are not necessarily planning to ever be on board with Israel and may very well continue to align with terrorist groups and leaders as they see fit.
Sometimes American Christians romanticize overseas persecuted Christians into disembodied noble souls unaffected by terrestrial concerns. But they, like everybody else, have histories, loyalties, resentments, grievances, and political calculations. Generally, most Mideast Christians cannot further imperil themselves by ever seeming politically to sympathize with Israel or the West. But their notions are not just for appearances. Many Mideast Christians are Arab nationalists. And whether for survival or genuine sympathy, some church leaders over the years have aligned with repressive regimes, like Assad’s and Saddam’s.
Read the rest HERE.