Does Israel Have to Be a Convent?

by Michael Potemra

Anti-Iraq War blogger Mark Shea is trying to drive a wedge between U.S. evangelicals and Israel, by posting a video on his website that he hopes will shock us into realizing that Israel is just another “secular nation-state.” The video contains a TV commercial for Israel tourism in which a couple of guys on a beach see a beautiful woman in a bikini, and one of them says, “Holy Mother of God.” The end caption says, “ISRAEL No wonder they call it The Holy Land.”

Now, to the untrained eye this looks like what we in the business call a “joke”—and a rather cute one at that; one to which only the proverbial maiden aunt would object (and hey, she has a right to–this is America). Not to Mark Shea, though: He realizes that this is really a “Golden Calf appeal to Money Sex and Power” that is “perfectly representative of typically debased postmodern secular culture.” Now, I think Israel is both a secular national state and a nation of descendants of God’s Chosen People—and this gives me two reasons to back Israel. As an Evangelical, I have emotional and religious reasons to support the Jewish believers who live in Israel; as a believer in secular freedom—America, too, is a secular (i.e., non-confessional) state, and long may it remain so—I support the people of Israel, believers and non-believers alike, who are just trying to live normal lives in the face of enemies who want to (first) put their women in burkas and (second) exterminate them. I can’t, of course speak for all evangelicals; but from what I know, many of us have a sense of humor and will not let the Sex Police of the Blogosphere turn us against a brave ally fighting a just war.