An open letter to Chuck Colson
Are you evil or just stupid?
I’m not trying to be disrespectful here. I really want an answer. Are you a charlatan, one who uses Christianity for your own nefarious purposes, or are you just woefully ignorant of reality?
In a recent Breakpoint Commentary, you said some horrible things about the people living in the Gaza Strip (“Israel and Gaza,” 10 June 2010). Now, of course, lots of people say horrible things about the people of Gaza. Today, forty years after Dr. King’s tragic death, Americans seem to be as racist as ever.
But as a Christian you ought to know better. As a Christian, you claim to follow a man who told us that we have an obligation to love one another, to help the least among us. And yet you have the audacity to defend Israel’s blockade of Gaza, repeating that old lie that that the blockade’s goal is “to stop weapons from getting to Hamas,” that Israel is simply defending its own citizens.
Well answer me a question then. If Israel’s goal is to prevent arms from reaching Hamas, then why did it spend two years preventing clothes and food from entering Gaza? Why for a time did it not allow pasta to enter? Why has it prevented toys and hearing-aids from entering? If Israel’s goal is preventing arms from reaching Hamas, then why won’t it allow building materials to enter Gaza? Why won’t it allow medical equipment to enter? Why won’t it allow the parts necessary for Palestinians to maintain the Strip’s water and sanitation facilities? (“The Gaza Flotilla Massacre, cont’d,” 2 June 2010)
Just this past week, the International Red Cross declared that “[t]he whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law” (“Gaza closure: not another year!” ICRC, 14 June 2010). Even the Israeli government has admitted that, far from being about security, the blockade is an act of “economic warfare” against Hamas (Sheera Frenkel, “Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn't about security,” McClatchy, 9 June 2010).
And before you defend this “economic warfare,” keep in mind that the average person in Gaza is only seventeen years old. Forty-four percent of the population is under fourteen years of age (“Gaza Strip,” CIA World Factbook). So most of those suffering in Gaza are children who never even had the opportunity to vote for Hamas.
“Christians,” you say, “have an obligation to all persecuted people, but especially the Jews.” Now this is probably the most ridiculous, racist thing I’ve heard all week, and, trust me, I’ve heard a lot of ridiculous and racist things this week. Where exactly did Jesus, or Paul for that matter, say anything that would lead you to this conclusion?
As support for your racism, you cite Genesis 12.3: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse.” But as you must know, Yahweh spoke those words to Abraham. Not to Abraham’s descendants, not to the modern nation-state of Israel, not to Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet, but to Abraham.
Now I don’t go to church. I’m not even sure I’m still a believer. But I do know that if there’s a god, and if this god is good, then he wouldn’t just look the other way when a nation, even a self-described Jewish nation, ravaged hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children. No, I think this sort of thing would really piss God off. And I think it’d also piss God off to see pathetic little men, men who claim to speak for him, defending such atrocities.
But maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe you’re not this evil. Maybe you’re just stupid. Tell me you’re just stupid.
Don Emmerich Jr.
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