Last week, more than 3,000 Christians representing all 50 states gathered in Washington for a truly historic event. Without the traditional rally on the Capitol steps or demonstrations that bring Washington traffic to a halt, Christians United for Israel held a banquet saluting the State of Israel and meeting with members of Congress to urge greater support for the Jewish state. Christians United for Israel, or CUFI, is not a lobbying group; we are a national Christian organization that urges stronger US support for Israel, especially in light of growing international tensions. Delegates came to Washington at their own expense to exercise their right to meet with members of Congress. Since its founding in February, CUFI has attracted members at an amazing rate. I believe that is because we perceive Israel to be facing threats of historic proportions. From Hamas and Hizbullah at its doorstep to the nuclear threat by Iran's president to wipe Israel off the map, Israel confronts graver dangers than at any time since it was founded in May 1948. IT IS MY view that Christians have a biblical responsibility to support Israel in the face of this aggression, and CUFI is the organization that will allow us to express that support with one strong voice. Specifically, we will be asking Congress to:
allow Israel to continue its anti-terrorism operations in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere as long as it deems them necessary. We believe Israel has as much right to pursue and destroy terrorists in Gaza or Lebanon as the United States does in Afghanistan and Iraq;
avoid putting pressure on Israel to restrain its response against Hamas and Hizbullah;
pass the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, which prohibits US aid to Hamas until it renounces terrorism and recognizes Israel;
renew the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, which would deny Iran the funds it needs to pursue nuclear weapons;
tell the Bush administration to pressure Iran to stop stalling and accept international incentives for suspending its work on uranium enrichment.
DO WE AGREE with every bit of US policy toward Israel? No, we don't. But we do support the right of a free and democratic State of Israel to make its own decisions about security and borders without pressure from the United States or anyone else.
I cannot speak for others; I can only accept the biblical view that God will bless those who bless the Jewish people.
With that mandate, Christians cannot remain silent while Israel and its people are threatened.
We came to Washington in that spirit.
The writer is the founder and senior pastor at the Cornerstone Church of San Antonio, president of John Hagee Ministries and founder and national chairman of Christians United For Israel (www.cufi.org).