Oh. My. Gosh.
I don’t know where to begin with this week’s Chick tract. I thought that last week’s tract intended for distribution at a funeral was bad, but I’ve apparently only touched the tip of the iceberg.
This week’s tract is called Somebody Angry? and it argues that the United States is subject to natural disasters that have claimed thousands of lives and done billions of dollars of property damage all because we as a country are not staunch enough supporters of Israel holding on to its land.
Let’s let that sink in a little bit more.
Chick is actually saying that because America is not a strong enough supporter of Israel that we are suffering natural disasters like Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, along with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
My mind is boggled.
I mean, really, I’m not sure how to respond to something like that. I could make an argument about how that kind of thinking betrays an absolute ignorance in relation to America’s foreign policy (this coming from someone who considers himself woefully ignorant on that subject), climate science, and, perhaps most shocking, God’s character.
Really, I’m sitting here trying to think of what I could say in response to this, but it’s just so absurd. While modern-day Israel is predominantly Jewish, it’s not a country that’s ruled exclusively by adherents of Judaism. To equate the State of Israel with the Old Testament’s nation of Israel is just wrongheaded and assumes too much about the demographic make up of Israeli citizens. To suggest that meteorological phenomena are a kind of punishment for failure to adhere to a certain political agenda is nonsensical. To claim that God would punish people with storms, floods, and terrorist attacks because of efforts to end violence that’s been endemic to a region of the globe for the better part of a century is to ignore the character of God as revealed on the cross.
Chick’s talking about trading human lives for the maintenance of land, and not just the lives of the people he’s claiming are being punished for their lack of support in Israel holding its lands, but also the people in Israel and Palestine who are directly affected by the fights over those lands.
That is not a just, or even sane, statement to make.
Of course, Chick bases these assumptions on a skewed reading of Zechariah:
On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. (Zechariah 12:3)
Zechariah, for anyone who’s curious, is one of the twelve minor prophets included at the end of the Old Testament. He wrote his book after the start of the Babylonian Exile and likely had in mind a purpose of helping to comfort those citizens of Israel and Judah who were longing for relief from foreign oppressors (kind of like the purpose that the writer of Judges had in mind). Talking about Jerusalem as a rock that will injure everyone who tries to mess with it is a call forward to the time when the Israelites would be free again. It’s not a call to reclaim all of the lands that were promised to Abraham in Genesis or a warning to other nations that they shouldn’t mess with Jerusalem (I doubt that Zechariah would have had citizens of other nations in mind when he was writing).
As for the climate science, all I can think of is a recent video that made the rounds about a plan to help remind people what kind of political agendas actually do encourage the kinds of natural disasters that this tract talks about. Here’s the video, for your pleasure:
Climate change is a serious problem, and it’s irresponsible to suggest that these disasters are directly caused by not having a political ideology that favors a specific foreign relations agenda.
I know, I shouldn’t be surprised by these things in Chick tracts anymore, but really, this is just over the top. Maybe next week I’ll find a nice, sensible tract with moderate political views coupled with an open, loving presentation of the gospel that doesn’t rely on fear tactics.
I shouldn’t be so optimistic.