By Jim Fletcher
My friend Erick Stakelbeck, a courageous reporter and TV host (CBN’s “Stakelbeck on Terror”) is superb at connecting the dots. He is also fearless, a much-needed trait in today’s harrowing world.
Today he posted an article about the nefarious work of Media Matters, the left-wing watchdog group that targets Christians and Israel. Not surprisingly, Media Matters is close to the White House.
Part of Erick’s research uncovered the following:
“’It is common for news and commentary by the press to present viewpoints that tend to overly promote...a conservative, Christian-influenced ideology,’ the group said in its application for non-profit status with the IRS.”
This is an absurd statement, and a good example of the brazenness of the left to peddle lies. It’s quite obvious to anyone paying even the slightest attention that media don’t “promote” conservative Christian worldview. The opposite is true.
David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, thinks Media Matters’ targeting of Christians is influenced by its anti-Israel bias.
Erick makes an important point about Media Matters’ former senior foreign policy fellow, M.J. Rosenberg:
“Rosenberg routinely uses the label, ‘Israel Firsters,’ implying that American supporters put the interests of Israel above the United States. It's a charge commonly made by Neo-Nazis and anti-Semitic groups.”
It is interesting to note that Media Matters promotes the same kind of rhetoric as that of the American religious left, particularly those who are calling themselves evangelicals. This is an ongoing story that will get much bigger, as more facts come to light regarding the players and agendas involved.
There is plenty of evidence, for example, that Rick Warren has already aligned himself with a whole host of anti-Israel friends, in his purposeful drive toward pluralism. And he’s been at it a long time. Readers will simply have to figure out if supporting Israel is reason enough to oppose what Warren is about.
In 2008, Warren’s Saddleback Community Church hosted presidential candidates Barack Obama and the Republican ringer, John McCain. Warren of course proposed a balanced set of questions, ranging from the environment to poverty—all softball issues in such a forum.
But the group he selected to help him come up with questions for the candidates was most revealing: Faith in Public Life. Self-described as “a strategy center for the faith community advancing faith in the public square as a powerful force for justice, compassion and the common good,” this multidenominational religious group was founded by, among others, Jim Wallis (Sojourners); and Bob Edgar (former head of the National Council of Churches).
Among the board members and advisers for Faith in Public Life: Elizabeth Letzler, member of the PCUSA’s Mission Responsibility Through Investment committee and the Israel-Palestine Network (i.e., an Israel divestment proponent); Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Church and Society—he also sits on the board (with Communist Party USA leader Judith LeBlanc) of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation; and Dr. Nazir Khaja, chairman of Islamic Information Service.
One would have had to have been aware for some time (as I have been) of the anti-Israel views of people like Winkler—a key mover in United Methodist circles—and Wallis, in order to fully understand the implications of Warren working with them.
What we now have, you see, is a man who is perhaps the most identifiable evangelical in the world linking arms with avowed opponents of a sovereign Jewish state to administer its own defense against relentless terrorism.
Fellow “evangelical” Brian McLaren also referenced recently on his blog the efforts of Aaron Niequist to be “Pro Israel and Pro Palestinian.” And who is Niequist?
He is the son-in-law of Bill and Lynne Hybels, founders of the monolithic Willow Creek Church outside Chicago. Willow Creek is a huge association of like-minded churches around the country. At 9,000 member churches—Hybels certainly has the attention of many thousands of evangelical Christians. And he and his wife were mentored by a Palestinian beginning in the 1970’s, so their animus towards Israel is not new.
I’m going to make a bold statement, but one I think is backed with common sense: It is not possible that those 9,000 churches do not share Bill and Lynne Hybels’ attitudes about modern Israel.
In August 2011, Lynne Hybels hosted a “Summit Lunch” entitled, “Leading Toward Peace in Israel and Palestine.” The tip-off of course that this was to be a left-wing gathering comes in the now ubiquitous use of the term “Palestine,” as if they are describing a sovereign nation.
The main presenter was Dr. Gary Burge, a Wheaton College professor and author, whose anti-Israel bias goes way back.
It is almost an afterthought to note that Rick Warren and Bill Hybels are chums. They share the same interests and goals.
In other words, what we now have facing us is a global coalition of anti-Zionists, many of them now operating in the open in evangelical camps. This takes me back to the beginning of this column, to point out that groups like Media Matters are no longer really New York-based groups (and thus far removed in every way from middle America); they are ideological bedfellows of the leading Christian speakers and writers today.
Rick Warren’s associations are the same in many respects as groups like Media Matters.
What I’ve written is the tip of the iceberg in the new war on Israel from the Religious Left in America. Watchmen like Erick Stakelbeck are heavily out-numbered by the above-mentioned individuals and groups, and more, but I still believe that personal courage and a passionate commitment to truth will win the day.
Media Matters' Anti-Christian, Anti-Israel Agenda Exposed • CBN News
'Hotly contested' divestment proposal before Methodists • OneNewsNow
Media Matters Fights War on Christians • Big Hollywood
Divestment Revisionist • The American Spectator (Mark Tooley)
The Liberal Media Pulling Hard for Obama • Rapture Ready (Todd Strandberg)