Ministry Watch: 'In New Letter, US Evangelical Leaders Support Israel’s Right to Self-Defense'

An Israeli mobile artillery unit fires a shell from southern Israel toward the Gaza Strip, in a position near the border, Oct. 11, 2023. 
(AP Photo/Erik Marmor)

 By Bob Smietana

Southern Baptists and other evangelical leaders call on policymakers to protect the lives of innocents and say Hamas is the enemy, not Palestinians.

(RNS) — Addressing policymakers at home and abroad, American evangelical Christian leaders responded Wednesday (Oct. 11) to the attacks on Israel by Hamas by issuing a letter calling for moral clarity, both supporting Israel’s right to defend itself and proclaiming the need to protect the lives of innocent civilians.

“In the wake of the evil and indefensible atrocities now committed against the people of Israel by Hamas, we, the undersigned, unequivocally condemn the violence against the vulnerable, fully support Israel’s right and duty to defend itself against further attack, and urgently call all Christians to pray for the salvation and peace of the people of Israel and Palestine,” the letter reads.

The letter, signed by 60 institutional leaders, will be delivered to the White House, Congress and leaders at the United Nations, said Brent Leatherwood, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which helped organize the letter.

In a phone interview, Leatherwood said the letter was prompted by what he said were responses to attacks on Israel that drew “false equivalence” between the attacks by Hamas, a group identified by the United States as a terrorist group, and the actions of Israel’s military.

“It is time for clear-eyed thinking and moral certainty,” he said.


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