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Latest webinar focuses on nationalism and Christian Zionism

Registration open for May 23 panel discussion

by Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service

Photo by Latrach Med Jamil via Unsplash

LOUISVILLE — Following up on their well-attended April webinar that examined the effects of the settler-colonial experience on Palestinians, the PC(USA)’s Christian Zionism working group, which includes PC(USA) national staff, congregation members and grassroots Presbyterians connected to the Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN), will present its second in a series of webinars titled “Nationalism and Christian Zionism.” The Zoom-based webinar is scheduled for Thursday, May 23, at noon Eastern Time; participants can register here. Webinar participation is limited to 500.

According to the webinar description, we live in a time of heightened nationalism that goes beyond North American white Christian nationalism to include Europe and Asia. In order to roll back the racism that accompanies supremacy ideology, it’s imperative to understand our nation’s white supremacy and its enabling of racism both in the U.S. and abroad. This webinar will address pertinent questions, among them:

  • How has our historical investment in ideas of manifest destiny and “the white man’s burden” led us to today’s Christian nationalism?
  • How are these connected to the current high rates of overt hate speech and xenophobia?
  • How have our roots in creating “a new Jerusalem” or a “new city on a hill” led to the rise of Christian Zionism, an ideology with an upside-down Christology in which Jesus is put below the rebuilding of a third temple for Judaism?

Speakers will include the Rev. Jermaine Ross-Allam, director of the PC(USA)’s Center for the Repair of Historic Harms; the Rev. Addie Domske, Steering Committee member of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network; and Jonathan Kuttab, international human rights attorney and executive director of Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA). As in the first webinar, it will be moderated by the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Holder Rich, Presbyterian pastor and theologian whose research includes the spread of Christian Zionism in Africa.

“Our Palestinian partners are calling us to challenge a theology that reinforces and supports occupation, annexation and apartheid,” said Luciano Kovacs, area coordinator, Middle East and Europe, for the PC(USA)’s World Mission ministry. “This webinar continues that challenge by analyzing the connections between Christian Zionism and Christian nationalism and the racist underpinning of both. As a Matthew 25 church that engages in confronting racial injustice, militarism and all forms of bigotry, we need to delve deep into how we challenge theological and political systems that oppress people in the U.S. and across the world.”

Real-time Spanish interpretation is available for this event. Participants who register will receive a confirmation email upon completion and a recording of the webinar once it becomes available.

A landing page listing numerous multimedia resources, including recordings of all the Christian Zionism-focused webinars, can be found here. The entire “Confronting Christian Zionism” series is co-sponsored by World Mission’s Middle East and Europe office, the Office of Public Witness, the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and members of the IPMN.

For more information about Christian Zionism, including FAQs on its biblical, theological and political implications, click here.

The 216th General Assembly (2004) approved the “active opposition” by the PC(USA) “to Christian Zionism and the development of a plan to communicate the theological and political ramifications it engenders within our denomination, in the mass media, and among U.S. government officials.” The overture directed the Stated Clerk to inform government officials that Christian Zionism did not represent the majority of American Christians and the faith of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). An updated and expanded overture is coming forth during the 226th General Assembly (2024).

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