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I Stand with Pastor John Hagee

Contact: David Birnbaum, Ohr Torah Stone Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding & Cooperation, 212-935-8672

OPINION, June 2 /Christian Newswire/ -- Pastor John Hagee is a towering leader in the Evangelical Church who has dedicated a great part of his enormously successful ministry to reaching out in love and loving-kindness to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. He has admirably defended our right to our historic homeland even when our enemies have attempted to disgorge us from our homes and drive us into the sea; he has praised the Lord for having imbued us, the "post-Holocaust dry bones of Ezekiel," with renewed life and vigor even when our arch-enemy and the arch-enemy of the free world has called us a "stinking corpse." He has organized Christian lobby groups for the only true democracy in the Middle East across the length and breadth of the United States even when a former American President and professors from Harvard and Chicago Universities have denounced our own lobbying efforts as un-American and anti-Democratic.

Pastor Hagee has expressed his profound affection for us even when it has been most unpopular to do so. Can we, the recipients of his heart and goodwill, dare be silent now, when the political frenzy of primary elections hysterically seeks to defame and discredit one of the greatest voices on behalf of Christian-Jewish healing and cooperation? No, for the sake of Jerusalem and for the sake of the God of love and peace we must raise our voices in support of and friendship for the very individual who has never faltered in his support and friendship for us!

Does this mean that I must necessarily agree with all of the theological positions taken by Pastor Hagee? Not at all! True friendship means that I continue to love and even partner with my friend, despite disagreeing with him on even fundamental positions of theology and ideology – as long as his views do not threaten the life or limb of innocent human beings. And in fact in subsequent articles I hope to express my own theological position about God and the existence of evil, Jewish history and the place of Hitler (may his very name be blotted out). But if I can only love those with whom I agree completely, then I cannot even love myself – because I may very well come to disagree tomorrow with whatever I may have thought and said today! As Pastor Hagee himself has remarked, if I am completely in accord with whatever you think and say, then one of us becomes superfluous.

We are living in a world divided between those who believe in a God of love and peace, and those who believe in a Satan of Jihad and suicide bombers. Any attempt to marginalize and slander leaders of the camp of the former will only serve to strengthen the camp of the latter, with the future existence of the free world perilously hanging in the balance. And so I continue to proudly shout from the rooftops that this rabbi in Israel stands firmly alongside -his beloved friend, a true friend of Israel and the free world, Pastor John Hagee.

Shlomo Riskin
Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Israel
Founder: Ohr Torah Stone Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding & Cooperation