The film With God On Our Side is currently being screened across the USA and the UK, criticising the worldview of evangelical Christian Zionism.
Film-maker Porter Speakman Jr is touring with Stephen Sizer, later to be joined by Ben White. Later this month, Speakman and Sizer will show their film in the Scottish and Northern Irish parliaments Holyrood and Stormont.
I have my own criticisms of the Christian anti-Zionist participants in the film, which you can read here.
Via the blogosphere, I had the opportunity to present my concerns to Porter Speakman on his blog.
I initially commented:
Dear Mr Speakman Jr,
It is very interesting how you are providing people with an opportunity to approach the Middle East conflict from a new angle, and as I understand it, your concern is that Christians who hold a very Israel-centric theology may be aggressive or passive-aggressive towards Palestinians. I think it is fair enough to hold this concern and to present it to the public for wider viewing.
However, I think that touring around with Rev Sizer may also lead people to ask critical questions of your project. This is not a bad thing as we should all be progressing towards more well-rounded opinions, particularly on this most tricky question of Palestine-Israel.
When you have a chance, perhaps you could ask Stephen Sizer why he has:
- shared a platform with Holocaust denier Fred Tobin in Indonesia,
- met with Hezbollah clerics in southern Lebanon,
- been on a trip to Iran sponsored by Zahra Mostafavi – whose NEDA Institute contributes to approvingly forwarded emails from Holocaust deniers regarding Jews,
- given an interview to Far Right radio host Mark Dankof (whose colleague is Klu-Klux-Klan-fan Hesham Tillawi),
- defended Helen Thomas (who opines that Jews in Israel should “go back” to Poland),
- supported pickets of Jewish synagogues in Michigan,
- and hosted articles by Far Right writer Israel Shamir on his website
- – all whilst publicly stressing his opposition to anti-Semitism.
To which Speakman responded:
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. I think it’s best you ask Stephen these questions yourself. I spoke with Stephen this morning and he mentioned that he has offered to meet with you in person in the past to address some of your concerns and I think that is always the best way to understand where someone is coming from. I encourage you to contact him directly.
As far as touring with him. It has been a pleasure to get to know him and I think Stephen has some very well rounded opinions on the Israeli / Palestinian conflict and the approach of many Western Christians to this issue.
All the best –
My further response, which may still be stuck in the moderation queue:
Thankyou very much for your speedy and amicable reply.
I’m not sure whether meeting Rev Sizer would necessarily change any of the above facts. Imagine if you took your concerns about John Hagee to those Christians who decided to work with him. We would hope they would deal in a proactive way by actively challenging him on these points.
Such is my hope for Christians who decide to work alongside Rev Sizer despite his having forwarded emailsfrom, given interviews to, approvingly cited and spoken alongside assorted Holocaust deniers and Far Right activists.
I think all Christians really need to take a step back and consider where they are getting their theology from, and if our theology leads them to make questionable political decisions, we should probably reconsider it.
I invite Porter to continue the dialogue either here on Seismic Shock or on his own blog – if and when he has the time.