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The John Hagee-Rabbi Franklin Sound and Light Traveling Road Show

October 16, 2011

Protesting Faith Bible Chapel's support for Ariel, one of the larger West Bank settlements

Why the protest?

1. To protest the presence of Pastor John Hagee at the Faith Bible Chapel. Hagee’s Christians United For Israel are calling for the U.S. and/or Israel to bomb Iran. Hagee supports Israeli West Bank settlements and is opposed to a negotiated settlement that would include a viable Palestinian state. Homophobic, to boot

2. To protest that a prominent Denver rabbi, Rabbi Franklin who has a reputation for having supported the anti-apartheid movement in S. Africa when he worked there, would legitimize Hagee by appearing at the Faith Bible Chapel in concert with him

3. To support the current U.N, initiative that would grant Palestinian statehood; to support an end to the Israeli Occupation of the 1967 Territories and an international setttlement based upon U.N. resolutions.

4. In the Quaker tradition `to show witness’ against what is a political travesty – the alliance of mainstream Jewish organizations, in Colorado – the Allied Jewish Federation – with an organization as rightwing and politically reactionary as Christians United For Israel.

_____________________________

No the picket wasn’t very big – maybe 25-30 in all at its high point; it had the support/sponsorship of three organizations:

Project Straight Gate – headed up by Charles Carlson who spearheaded the effort.

Friends of Sabeel – Colorado – made up of mostly liberal Christians (mostly, but not exclusively Protestants), many of whose members here in Colorado have lived in the West Bank or Israel

Front Range Jewish Voice for Peace – our fledging Colorado chapter endorsed the event and participated.

______________________________

So our picket was small – but pretty much everyone who entered the Faith Bible Chapel this evening – except for some of the dignitaries who snuck in through a back entrance to avoid us, including U.S. Congressman Ed Perlmutter – saw our signs and banners. And I would hope that at the least it made the throngs of those rushing into the Faith Bible Chapel to hear John Hagee and Rabbi Franklin think about `what it’s all about’.

Overall the responses were not particularly friendly, although we were prepared for that. Most of those with whom we spoke were hiding behind their bibles. They could quote the Old Testament, but had hardly read newspapers. Indeed the level of ignorance revealed was so impressive that I hardly knew how to respond to much of it. Did I have a personal relationship with Christ someone asked me. `No, only with Nancy’ I responded.

Several people asked me if I were Christian, as if that would determine whether or not they would even engage in conversation. Alot of nasty comments, curses and let us say unfriendly gestures. Still we talked to a fair number of people who were curious as to why we were there, and what it was exactly that we were protesting.

It is good for the soul – a kind of reality check – to picket at the Faith Bible Chapel. I think that in the future, whenever I begin to have a little hope that humanity is `turning towards the morning’ as Gordon Bok, Ann Mayo Muir and Ed Trickett put it, I return to the Faith Bible Chapel to be reminded just how dumbed down and inhumane is modern humanity.

It was not an easy place to be.

Although it was not at all dangerous in the sense that we were physically threatened (or we threatened them), it was difficult – a kind of culture shock actually – to respond politely and rationally to many of those who engaged us, pickled as they were in their particularly narrow brand of Christianity. The place had the appearance of a beehive of little brainwashed ants. When some one tells me to `read Genesis 16 (or was it 17) in order to understand the current Middle East crisis or excuse Israeli practices against the Palestinians it is hard to overcome the urge to respond, let’s say, `unkindly’. I was amazed watching Charles Carlson, from Project Straight Gate. He handled these folks like a pro, quietly, efficiently, countering all their quotations from scripture (a talent at which I am somewhat lacking).

A number of racist comments about Moslems came our way.

  • There was one woman who made particularly vile comments about Moslems from her car window.  The bumber sticker on her car truck had a pro-vegetarian message. Reminded me of an animal rights type from Boulder who felt a great deal of compassion for dogs, but very little for Palestinians.
  • Another meshugeneh, on the verge of apoplexy,  imagining that he had to power to do so actually cursed us and our children. If I remember correctly he said that our children would turn to worms. I could have easily told him to #$@!, but since I was on `sacred grounds’ (actually – no – on city property)  and this was a Christian event, I was trying muster up a bit of Christian charity and so I just smiled.
  • There were a fair number of Jewish people in attendance. It was not their facial features which gave them away but their yalmulkas. (or the fact that several of them identified themselves to us as being Jewish). Inside, besides Rabbi Franklin were Denver developer Larry Mizel and Doug Seserman representing the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado. Most of our Jewish brethren were not happy to see our new Front Range Jewish Voice For Peace banner which read `Not In Our Name’ (see photo above). With one lady, an esteemed member of Denver’s Orthodox Jewish Community I could not help but to engage in `lively exchange’. She was visibly upset that some of us protesting Israeli policies are Jewish.

But many more people – both Jewish and Christian – were glad we were there and they told us so in emails, phone calls and the like. Two Jewish women contacted me `I can’t make today’s protest due to a sinus infection…but I am with you in spirit. ‘ Another, who works for a conservative Jewish organization wrote `I wish I could be with you today. I hope you give them hell.’

And indeed; we tried our best.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2011 7:37 am

    Reading about this from Bethlehem on the last day of Sukkot – where the occupation is making life untenable for the people we are meeting. Thanks for your presence. Cheers! and shame on Rep. Perlmutter.
    —-jan

  2. October 18, 2011 12:33 am

    I love your blog, you should add an RSS feed feature so I can get automatic notifications of new blogs. If you set one up please email me! i will bookmark you for now. Again Excellent Blog!

  3. Alan Cheney, Denver permalink
    November 7, 2011 11:09 pm

    Just so that no one gets the impression that all evangelical Christians are of this cult, please know that there are other organizations such as Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding (EMEU) http://www.emeu.net/ . And of course there are evangelical churches in the West Bank and Gaza who certainly don’t endorse this Christian Zionist nonsense. You might want to see a free pdf book written by a Palestinian Christian Baptist pastor at http://www.alexawad.org/download/VICTIMSE.PDF

    Thanks, Rob, for being there and for informing us on your blog.

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Trackbacks

  1. Protesting John Hagee and Rabbi Franklin's Appearance at Faith … | pastorleaders.com
  2. To: Rabbi Moshe Levin, Congregation Ner Tamid – A Vigil for Peace, with Justice for Palestine | We Hold These Truths
  3. San Francisco Vigil for Peace with Justice for Palestinians | We Hold These Truths
  4. Jewish Voice for Peace – “Jew Washing” the anti-Israel movement
  5. Megyn Kelly | Jewish Voice for Peace – “Jew Washing” the anti-Israel movement

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