“A Night to Honor Israel” at Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona, may have been our best Project Strait Gate Vigil ever. Many of the now almost 65 efforts stand out in particular ways ... this one was special because it was the easiest vigil we ever did. People came to help without the customary arm twisting and cajoling. Most came because of the frustrations they felt in their own churches, several from out of town. Watch some of it on You Tube, and then come back and read about where we plan to go from here.
We conducted our first vigil on November 10, 2002. Eleven conservatively dressed protesters stood silently along the busy boulevard in front of the fashionable First Southern Baptist Church of Scottsdale, Arizona on a bright Sunday morning. They were demonstrating opposition to the Southern Baptist Convention's policy of supporting wars in the Middle East, and specifically the occupation of Palestine and warmaker-promoted destruction of Iraq. (1)
The following week the team met at Calvary Community Church where we experienced our first hostility. The church defiantly unfurled the Israeli flag at the top of the Church's flag pole (no American flag was in sight). Church paid security guards used large vehicles to force our volunteers off of what they falsely claimed to be church property into the a dangerously busy street. This was our first warning that Christian Zionism is militant, and that if we challenge Israel's place at the top of the church flagpoles across America, we would need police protection.
A few weeks later we were back at Calvary, this time armed with engineering drawings of the rights of way; this time we stood on the disputed public land with a police escort.
On October 18th WHTT'S Project Strait Gate held vigil for the sixth time at a Christians United For Israel (CUFI) Night To Honor (worship) Israel, this time in front of the Phoenix Symphony Hall. Participants from We Hold These Truths, members of several other organzations, and friends confronted those in attendance with Biblical challenges about their beliefs.
Interviews in front of the hall bore out our understanding that most Christian Zionists believe these bizarre biblical untruths:
· the modern State of Israel is a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy;
· war is a necessary part of their religion leading to a second conflict in Israel between Jesus himself and the Jewish Pharisee of today;
· “born again Christians” are excused from responsibilty for bloodshed resulting from the support of Israel and the US government warring in the Middle East;
· it is a sin for “Christians” to fail to support Israel in every way possible; and
· all land in the Middle East was given to Israel by God.
John Hagee has said all this in his books, and attendees at the conference confirmed it. (Note YouTube)
The blessing of wealth is a sign of God's favor according to a tenet taught by “Judeo–Christian” leaders (many do not call themselves Zionists); the accumulation of wealth plays a big part in their belief system. Lack of wealth is often looked upon as a sign of lack of faith. By far, the most important tenet of all the cults that can collectively be called Judeo-Chsitians, is that salvation leading to eternal life is easy with few string attached, and no real life changes are required. You can say in the same breath that you are a born again Christian and that you favor war, and no one will question you. It is okay to proclaim that abortion is a crime against God, and in the same sentence proclaim your support for Israel, and say it did no wrong in killing 330 children last December in Gaza.
Christian Zionism will die when it is recognized for what it is
We sense a powerful undertow pulling in our direction at this our 6th intervention at Hagee's event. But that tide against the bigotry of Christian Zionism has yet to reach the mainstream media, which was present at Symphony Hall, but wrote not one word nor aired one photo of it for the public to see. ABC affiliate Channel 15 TV interviewed several of our people including this writer. 'The reporter told us he had to hurry to have his story ready for the 5:00 PM news. But our message to the press is: "Christians are worshiping Israel instead of Jesus; they have blood on their hands; The killing will stop when churches stop supporting war." Our message did not make the 5:00 PM news nor the 10:00 PM news, nor any news at all.
We know why our vigils do not get past news editors. It’s because we are too good at what we do, leaving little or nothing negative to portray. It is hard for pro-Zionist mainline ABC to cover our vigil without revealing the forbidden messages on the large signs and touching posters of murdered children that we hold in our hands as we silently remind parishioners of what they’re really doing.
A reporter named Levine from a local free press, The New Times, conducted a lengthy interview of this writer that we recorded, but he left and did not write a word about the Night to Honor Israel event. On our recording, you can see his attempt to get an admission from this writer that the Palestinians are responsible for their own annihilation. Six years earlier the same paper did a feature story on Project Strait Gate entitled “Peace-monger,” in which Tony Ortega wrote:
Chuck Carlson and his disciples are taking it to the streets, demanding that pro-life churches practice what they preach and condemn war in Iraq. "Chuck Carlson stands in front of Calvary Community Church holding the sort of sign you'd expect to see at confrontations outside abortion clinics: "PRO-LIFE," the placard reads in bold red and blue letters on a white background.
No follower of the Prince of Peace, he says, should support a preemptive strike against another nation, even one as troublesome as Saddam Hussein's Iraq. To Carlson, himself a conservative Christian, it's simply inconsistent to be pro-life and not be anti-war."
Project Strait Gate is grateful to reporter Ortega for reporting it right in 2003, just weeks before the terrible Enduring Freedom operation destroyed the people and culture of Iraq. Ortega told me several years later he was surprised when his story won an Arizona Press Club award for best religious story of the 2003. He did not consider it religious.
The media cannot cover our events without airing our message; Christian Zionism is about War, and Israel is at the center of it. Mainstream media never airs this message unless they can dilute or misinterpret it. Project Strait Gate allows a minimum of dilution or distortion, thus our standoff with the mainline media. Our mission is to those who are present and who can hear.
This vigil was the easiest we have ever done because new, bright and dedicated people showed up... people who are ready and able to promote our message. Julie, who is a member of a humanitarian organization and has personally seen Gaza for herself, has only begun to see the churches’ bloody hands in the annihilation of the Gazan children and mothers she has come to love. She joined us in order to act on what she had seen and understood.
Rudy from Houston came the farthest. Coming here from Mexico, now an American citizen and layman Pentecostal preacher, he is devastated by his church's failure to defend the innocent being killed in other lands with American bombs. Rudy drove to Phoenix for training, hoping to start a Houston unit of Project Strait Gate. Taking part in the vigil, he preached to the Hagee-ites as they passed. We were proud to have him, and you will meet him on our You Tube video of this event.
The leaders of two local Muslim groups, CARAMA and Al-Mahdi Foundation, joined us, and each brought young students along. Most evangelicals have never met a Muslim, and most passed by with averted eyes, into the Hagee event to hear talk of exterminating Muslims. Hani spoke quietly to those who passed, but few attendees of Night to Honor (Worship) Israel stopped to talk to him, much less attempt to convert them to Christianity, as evangelicals usually do. Maybe Hagee-ites realize they cannot both convert and kill Muslims!
I overheard one protester quietly ask a passing participant who paused, "how do you feel about Israel killing innocent people in Gaza?" "They did not kill enough of them," the man tossed back as he proceeded to the door of Night To (worship) Israel.
Jamal, the pastor of a Southern Arabic Baptist Church, was there for the first time to say he is one Baptist who understands that pro-life means protecting the lives of walking and talking children in far away places. Born in the West Bank, Jamal had worked in the Gaza Hospital years ago, and knew that Israel was systemically killing Gazans 20 years ago to encourage them to leave. He preached to those passing, and you will hear him on our You Tube video of the event.
Individuals from other organizations were there individually: a catholic school teacher, a Presbyterian educator, a Code Pink lady on her way to Gaza, and even a Jewish man who stopped for a while and held one of our signs opposing Israel.
And thanks to the faithful few who always attend and have supported us, too, when it was not so easy or enjoyable. Several of the nine men and women who posed for a photo of our first vigil on November 11, 2002, were there. Stalwarts from a time when we alone thought it was a good idea, and when the job was tough. (3)
Hagee's crowd was thinner than previous visits, but he is scheduling multiple meetings across the country. We passed out literature to about 25% of the estimated thousand or so who attended, less than half the crowd of two years ago. We reminded those attending of Hagee’s calls for a preemptive strike on the Muslims of Iran, just as he demanded bombing Iraq twice, Lebanon twice, and Afghanistan and Palestine every day.
How are we doing, Mom? I think she would ask, "when do we win?" To answer that question we reread some lines we wrote in March 2003, before George Bush won reelection for his disastrous second term, and long before the Obama machine promised better but succumbed to Neo-conservative compromise, and when we said it best:
The Great Turning is taking place as we watch. Americans are not only turning away from war, but they will soon turn from those who make war. And they are beginning to look for those whom they should blame. This turning about is at first ponderous, like that of an ocean-going liner. But once started, it will be unstoppable. Gathering momentum, it will crash through anything in its path, even icebergs of ignorance. The strange and diverse anti-war movement is only a symptom of the awakening of a much greater slumbering mass of human energy soon to be brought to bear.
We Hold These Truths started Operation Strait Gate in order to expose the false doctoring[Margaret 1] in the churches and Christian institutions that have fallen for what Ariel Sharon calls "Christian-Zionism." We will continue to expose the bloody hands of evangelical churches' leaders and their terrible part in enabling the imprisonment and destruction of the Iraqi people and the Palestinian people. No alternative could be worse than a continuation of the indifference to death that tolerant immorality caused by the war plans aimed at the entire Muslim world and supported by the evangelical churches. No matter what hardship it may bring to us temporarily, The Turning allows us to consider a return to Godly reality. Let us rejoice. There is new hope that a collection of new allies will join in The Great Turning. C.E. Carlson Mar 18, 2003.
Project Strait Gate's next vigil will take place at Phoenix Marriott Mesa 200 N Centennial Way, Mesa, AZ 85201, on December 10, 2009. You are invited to come to Phoenix, but you may also organize your own vigil and help multiply your efforts. We can provide the know-how and all the materials you need; you can start with two or more live bodies.
View vigil at Night To Honor Israel please visit our new You Tube site to see the 2 part video at:
Our first event ... First Southern Baptist Church (11/10/02)
Israeli Flag over Calvary Chapel: http://whtt.org/straitgate/index.php?id=49
Tony Ortega of New Time Magazine, Peace-monger, February 13, 2003
The Great Turning, Ending Our Age of Serial Wars, by C.E. Carlson, Mar 18, 2003, .org/index.php?news=2&id=136
For information about how you can start a team Vigil for Peace With Justice, go to Project Strait Gate or call our office. http://whtt.org/straitgate/index.php?id=14&news=1