Letter to Pastor David Friend of Scottsdale First Assembly Dream Center

Dear Pastor Friend:

Project Strait Gate will hold a Vigil for Peace With Justice outside Scottsdale First Assembly Dream Center on the morning of June 24, 2007. You may learn about our some 56 Vigils by touring our Project Strait Gate website. We are not mass demonstrators, but are quiet and respectful and aim our information at your attendees, not at passing traffic. Please feel invited to come out and meet us on the public right-of-ways, or contact me in advance if you have questions or wish to discuss any facet of what we do.

We are choosing Scottsdale First Assembly Dream Center because we already know it is, sadly, violating the clearest standards Jesus set for us when you invited John Hagee into your church, and by allowing Christians United for Israel to use your good name and to take God’s name in vain.

It is documented and without question that Hagee’s CUFI publicly urges more engagements called “wars” that would, if not stopped, produce even more massive death and destruction. John Hagee has openly urged the preemptive bombing of Iran, and he supports Israel’s 59 year-old occupations of Israel’s neighbors, who we call the “Philistines” to respect their tribal history. They are not Palestinians because there is no state by that name; they are homeless people without a country because Israel occupies every foot of their legal homes at its pleasure. Many of them are Christian.

Project Strait Gate’s purpose is to influence Christ-followers to oppose continued slaughter in the Middle East. It is an ongoing continuous assassination campaign that is supported not by Jesus’ words, but by secular conclusions about the need for war. If you or John Hagee have any convincing new answer to Jesus’ many clear statements about loving ones enemies and preserving all life, please enlighten us. Our vigils have reached 56 churches and organizations and I have yet to hear one bit of justification based on Jesus or any of his disciples.

John Hagee does not explain how he handles “BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS,” instead he largely ignores the entire New Testament. Hagee makes only one reference to Jesus’ words in his entire Night To Honor Israel message at Furman University, and that reference took Jesus’ words out of context.

Pastor Art Preisinger, who attended John Hagee’s Night to Honor Israel in San Antonio, put it this way: “There was not a shred, a trace, a scintilla of Christianity in the proceedings. It could well have been sponsored by the PTA or the Rotary Club.” Pastor Preisinger is right, it is non-Christian; he errs in one respect, no secular organization like the Rotary Club could get away with such a racist and violence-promoting public meeting as Pastor Hagee presents.

All of America, save evangelical churchgoers, now opposes our warring in Iraq. Evangelicals like you, (and formerly myself) are the only major group that remains for continued occupation. Only “Christian Zionists” remain in support of occupation of Iraq, which has cost 3527 of our own men, with at least 25,000 wounded and maimed. This says nothing of the virtual destruction of our economy by inflation. Pastor Friend, perhaps you do not identify with Christian Zionism, but you do support John Hagee who does, and Christian Zionism is Judeo-Christianity in overdrive.

Americans have no choice but to hold evangelical, Judeo-Christian pastors and lay leaders responsible for their role as “enablers” of serial killings called “wars.” Christ followers in places like Lebanon and Gaza and Iraq are among the victims. What would Jesus say about our professional military being trained in the ugly art of mass execution and torture? Our churches must share the guilt for abortion and other forms of violent immorality that are related to war right here in our country. To use Israel as an example, it has 59 years of continuous war, and it also has an epidemic of abortions controlled, performed and paid for by the very government that John Hagee supports “without condition.”

Israel boasted, only this week, that it is now the fourth biggest armaments dealer in the world, selling some $5 billion in weapons of mass destruction to others. No wonder it can field tanks against people with small arms, rocks, and home made pipe rockets in Gaza.

It is no longer deniable that leaders of Scottsdale First Assembly Dream Center, and thousands of other Judeo-Christian churches are tacit enablers, if not overt supporters, of war in Iraq and of Israel’s 59-year occupations of Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon by supporting instead of denouncing John Hagee.

The most ungodly damage done by Christian Zionism, which is nothing more than Judeo-Christianity in overdrive, is the damage done to Christianity itself. Those who make war in Jesus’ name are making it a Christ laughing stock, if not an image of contempt worldwide. Many who loved and respected Americans a generation ago now commonly call Christianity the religion of the war-makers and tie our evil acts to political Christianity. They can read the Bible and they know Jesus, the Peacemaker, bombed no one, and did not allow for others to do so in his name. There can be no room for war-makers in His kingdom.

Israel’s burgeoning immorality exceeds our own
Israel’s progressive assassination finally resulted in shooting a 68-year old Palestinian grandmother to death a few weeks ago to prevent her from delivering a human bomb to an Israeli Military post. This woman’s son was previously shot to death; another son crippled and in a wheel chair; the family’s home had already been deliberately destroyed, and finally this grandmother with nothing left to dream of, marched into the face of death.

The following week Israelis in tanks shelled and killed four women, wounding many others. These women were surrounding a Mosque in Jambalaya Camp in Gaza to protect those inside with their own bodies. Can you imagine what tank rounds full of steel darts does to the body of a women or child. These acts are not flukes; the Israelis John Hagee extols routinely shoot children who throw rocks. Over 300 women and children are prisoners held without charge in Israel. Pastor Friend, Israel could not get away with one of these acts without the unequivocal support of churches like yours.

Scripturally there is no more reason to support Israeli Jews than Muslim Arabs. According to a missionary named Paul, “All are one in Christ Jesus and heirs to the promise,” if and when each one believes. Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham, not a political State created by man in 1948.

Quotes from John Hagee about war and the support of Israel:

The enemy is islamo-fascism

No Bible believing Christian can support disengagement. (Referring to Iraq)

You are not going to heaven if you do not like the Jewish people.

The claims [to land] of the Palestinians are a historic fraud…they never owned the land…this makes them gasp for air like catfish out of water.

I would hope the United States would join Israel in a military Pre-emptive strike to take out the nuclear capability of Iran for the salvation of Western civilization.

The blood of the innocent on your hands is not only Philistines children’s blood. All life is sacred and Israelis and Americans are also dying. Since September 2000, about 1021 Israelis have been killed, a small number compared to 4008 Philistines killed by Israelis during the same period; the ratio of children killed is even wider, 118 Israeli to 921 Philistine, about 1 Israeli for every 8 Philistine children. Who would you judge to be the aggressor based on those numbers? Maybe you and I cannot stop the carnage but we do not have to support it. Please know in advance, one sign in front of Scottsdale First Assembly Dream Center will read:

APOSTATE CHURCH Christ Followers Do Not Kill

Pastor Friend, I am sorry to say the sign is appropriate because of your association with John Hagee, if for no other reason. I would welcome dialog with you personally and invite you to call me, as other pastors have done. I would like to know your personal views and if you are in any way rethinking your interpretations of “end times” prophesy and the state of Israel? Many are, including pastors we have reached in our Vigils.

It is not too late to withdraw from Night to Honor Israel. Why not instead have a Night to Plan for Peace. I ask you one question in closing: where in the New Testament is there a word or a line that justifies us to take the life of someone else’s child 10,000 miles from our own comfortable homes?

Toward the Strait Gate,
Charles E. Carlson