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by Paul Charles Merkley


For Jimmy Carter, as for all thoughtful Christians, Israel's existence — a state living among other states in the world — is a theological issue. The short version for expressing this matter is to say that some Christians regard the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 as the fulfillment of promises made by God in ancient times to the People of God, Israel. Other Christians regard this notion as a fantasy or some other technique of distraction from secular understanding of how history works. Upon the boundary line separating these two ranks stands the matter of how one understands the authority of Scripture.

As an evangelical Christian, Jimmy Carter knows that most fellow-evangelicals regard the coming-into-existence of Israel in a moment of time as a proof of the validity of the Word of God, an exceptional proof that God is the Lord of History. Christian Zionists believe that a Christian's attitudes towards the adventures which Israel has undergone since 1948 should be governed by the spirit of Genesis 12:1-3:

The LORD had said to Abram [whose name God later changed to "Abraham"]: "Get out of your country, from your kindred, and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

Christian Zionists have always been the most consistent supporters of Israel's cause — more consistently pro-Israel, in fact, than the generality of those who identify themselves to the U.S. Bureau of Census as Jews. Christian Zionism reflects a basically pro-Israel disposition rooted in America's Puritan beginnings, still recognizable today in the general public's belief that the well-being of America requires her leaders to display a preference for Israel's cause in all the challenges that she faces.

During the Presidential campaign of 1976, Jimmy Carter told the B'nai Brith, "I have an absolute, total commitment as a human being, as an American, as a religious person to Israel ... Israel is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy."[1] [Paul C. Merkley, American Presidents, Religion and Israel (Westport: Praeger, 2004.)] By 1985, however, Jimmy Carter was no longer pretending to hold this succinctly-expressed Christian Zionist view. In his book, The Blood of Abraham, Carter explained how his theology had been enlarged since the days of his Presidency by greater familiarity with Islam and other religious streams, and how this in turn now caused him to reconsider the narrow premises of his earlier Christian Zionism. Re-reading the History of the Holy Land Carter was, he says, now struck for the first time by the parity between the Israeli and "Palestinian" historical claims:

For Jews [emphasis added], Israel has been the fulfillment of biblical prophecy and the culmination of a dream to establish and live under a government of their own choice. The Palestinians, like the Jews, claim to be driven by religious conviction based on the promises of God, and they consider themselves to have comprised the admixture of all peoples including the ancient Hebrews who dwelt in Palestine, their homeland, since earliest biblical times."[2] [Jimmy Carter, The Blood of Abraham (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1985), 140-141. Hereinafter cited as BA.]

If the Jews claim that they descend from the people of Israel whom the Bible and the other ancient sources describe as being in possession of the land in ancient times, then the non-Jews of Palestine today must be the descendants of all those others who ever lived there — all those there before the Israelis and since — that is, "all peoples including the ancient Hebrews who dwelt in Palestine, their homeland, since earliest biblical times" — that is, the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, the Philistines — and the ancient Hebrews! And they must have continued to be present ever since! Thus, the Arabs of Palestine are in fact the "Palestinians," one of that worldwide company of First Nations, aboriginal peoples whose history is marked by victimization at the hands of a succession of imperialists.

For twenty years and more since the Blood of Abraham, Carter has promulgated this "Palestinian" counter-historical narrative — how the Canaanites became the Arabs. In doing so, he enjoys the company of a broad cohort of anti-Zionist Christian theologians, of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and of the World Council of Churches (WCC) — a telling illustration of the low estate of historical thinking in Church circles. To enter into argument with this counter-history is a hopeless task, as it stands entirely on re-iterated fantasy. Something like it is necessary, however, if there is to be parity between the Jewish and the Palestinian title to the Holy Land. And it is this consideration that commends it to Jimmy Carter, a man whose historical learning is as shallow as his scientific and technological knowledge is broad.

For theological justification of this theory of history, Carter reviews the "promises of God" made to the "seed of Abraham." Paraphrasing Genesis 17:20-21, Carter writes: "He [God] would establish a covenant with Isaac and that Ishmael would beget twelve princes and also a great nation."[3] [BA, 143.] A significant abuse of the text is involved here. The words are: "my covenant I will establish in Isaac" (not yet born.) By turning "My covenant" into "a covenant," and elsewhere by substituting the vaguer term "promise" and "promises", Carter obscures the technical, traditional meaning of the expression, "My covenant."Everything that is said in the Old Testament about the future of the Arabs (descendants of Ishmael) as well as everything that is said about the future of the Israelis (descendants of Isaac and Jacob) Carter equalizes as "promises" — promises to the seed of Isaac, promises to the seed of Ishmael, promises to the Jews, promises to the Palestinians, promises to the Christians.

It is significant that Carter attributes his reformed perspective on these matters to Anwar Sadat: "In my discussions of these religious conflicts with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, he mentioned frequently, and almost casually, the brotherhood of Arab and Jews and how they were both the sons of Abraham. His references to the patriarch caused me to reexamine the ancient biblical story of Abraham and his early descendants, looking at their adventures for the first time from a Jewish, a Christian, and an Arab point of view simultaneously [emphasis added.] "In light of this, we should give some thought to Sadat's standard of Biblical exegesis, which can be illustrated by the following: "The assassination of Arab brethren like Goliath, by Jewish sheep-herders like David, is the sort of shameful ignominy that we must yet set aright in the domain of the occupied Palestinian homeland."[4] [Merkley, 143.]

Christians are closely interested in the covenant that God later makes with King David and his "house" (2 Samuel 7.) Conservative theologians understand this to be an eternal promise, in the light of which Christians should understand that the God of Israel has always reigned in Zion, and that the Jews, after their centuries of scattering will be reunited in Zion, and governed eventually by David's heir, or David redivivus — that is, Messiah. Christians believe they have met this Messiah already in the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth. Jimmy Carter affirms his belief that "God promised David that because of his faithfulness, his kingdom would be established forever;"but he does not speak at all of the promise to restore the Jews to Zion. Instead, he draws from the subsequent history of Jewish disobedience and of their scattering the anti-Zionist conclusion which is technically called, "supersessionism," or "replacement theology" (that the Church has inherited all the promises which God made to the Jews.) But then Carter goes beyond classic "supersessionism" in order to write the Muslims into the inheritance:

Jews consider the covenants made by God with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses to apply exclusively to them. Moslems also consider some of this history profoundly significant and derive from it the justification for their assured place in the eyes of God, as later revealed to Mohammed. It is also of crucial importance to Christians in all lands, who know Jesus, the descendant of King David as the fulfillment of God's early promises of a permanent blessing and an unending kingdom among all the nations of the earth. For Christians and Moslems, therefore, the promises of God are not just for the people of Moses. Christians believe that Abraham was blessed by God because of his faith, not because of his race, and that he is the father of all who share his faith in God.[5] [BA, 143-144.]


IN SEPTEMBER, 2006, CARTER'S CUSTOMARY PUBLISHER, Simon and Schuster, announced that on October 14 they would be releasing a new book by Jimmy Carter, with the title: Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid[6] [Jimmy Carter, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid: New York, Simon & Schuster, 2006. Hereinafter cited as PPNA] Well before the book was released and while reviewers were reading the pre-publication text, the message of the book was clearly signaled by the title — a summation of the banner under which Israel's enemies worldwide have gathered since Israel was denounced in August, 2001, at the UN Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held at Durban, South Africa, for "systematic perpetration of racist crimes including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing."

In the last weeks of summer, 2006, Carter was telling interviewers to expect that a storm of outrage would descend upon him because of his book. Two powerful forces in America, he said in those pre-publication days, were dedicated to preventing "open debate about Israel and the occupied territories": one is "the American Israel Political Action Committee" — this should be American Israel Public Affairs Committee — and the other is "conservative Christians in America." The latter force, he said, bases its activities upon "an extreme and ridiculous reading of Scripture that says the Holy Land must be prepared for the Second Coming — when all non-believers, including certainly the Jews in Israel, would convert or perish." In view of the power wielded by these two agencies, it would be "political suicide" for any member of Congress to endorse the views in Carter's forthcoming book.[7] [David Postman, "Jimmy Carter says Christians, pro-Israel lobby, stifle Middle East debate here," Seattle Times, December 13, 2006.]

The primary target of the argument of PPNA is not the state of Israel but Christian Zionists. For the former, Carter sees no hope of reformation; the latter, however, he intends to convert. Few Jewish commentators have grasped this essential point. One who has is Jeffrey Goldberg. In his review of Carter's Palestine: Peace or Apartheid? in the Washington Post, December 20, 2006, Goldberg writes: "Carter seems to mean for this book to convince American evangelicals to reconsider their support for Israel. Evangelical Christians have become bedrock supporters of Israel lately, and Carter marshals many arguments, most of them specious, to scare them out of their position. Hence ... [he repeats] the accusations [from the Palestinian side] unsupported by actual evidence, that Israel persecutes its Christian citizens."

Reference to Christian Zionists, Goldberg and other interviewers have discovered, always causes Carter to go ballistic. Carter speaks of Christian Zionist zeal as a species of madness that blunts normal human feeling. "I noticed," Carter told David Postman, "that when Ariel Sharon was stricken — he's still unconscious — Pat Robertson announced this is a punishment of God because Sharon had advocated withdrawing from Gaza, which only comprises 1 percent of the Holy Land." This remark follows a provocative question from the Jewish interviewer on that occasion — whether "a lot of their position [that is, the position of Christian Zionists] is premised on 'we want to save Israel,' but not necessarily save the Jews in the Second Coming. Isn't that right?" Carter's reply is shocking: "Their purpose [that is, the purpose of Christian Zionists] is to wipe out all non-Jews out of the Holy Land so Christ can return and then in the ultimate commitment, is that all Jews would either be burned in fire or converted to Christianity. That's the ultimate. It's an extreme, and I think, ridiculous interpretation of the scriptures."

Remarks along this line directed against any other identifiable constituency of people than Evangelical Christians would be immediately pounced upon by the anti-defamation branch of some major community and brought before a human rights tribunal and severe penalties would follow. Is this not "the purpose" for which Milosovic and Karadzik were hauled into the custody of the International Court of Justice — "the intent to "wipe out" (in this case) "all non-Jews" — that is, the Palestinian Arabs? But this defamatory rhetoric is entirely consonant with the rhetoric of anti-Christian Zionism consistently employed by the World Council of Churches.

THE WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES PLAYED A LEADING ROLE IN PROMOTION and adoption of the Durban Declaration of 2001, the source of the mottos with which respectable people in our part of the world shape their campaigns to deprive Israel of her right-to-life. Recent WCC statements blame Israel exclusively for "the isolation of Gaza and the collective punishment of its 1.5 million residents." Israel is guilty, they say, of "gross and flagrant violation of international law and breach of the fourth Geneva Convention ... in declaring Gaza an enemy entity and inflicting unconscionable collective punishment of 1.5 million people." A statement of December 16, 2007, notes that "80% of the people live in poverty and 1.1 million survive on food hand-outs. This is an intentional and utterly illegal 'starvation diet' designed to punish pressure [sic] the population [and] supposed to end rocket activity for which they [Gazans] are not responsible and cannot control."[8] [The most recent statements of WCC on this and other matters can be found at its website,]

Carter's judgments on Israel, expressed in his book and in countless public statements since, echoes the language of WCC documents. In April of this year (2008), when he embraced Hamas' leaders in Damascus, Carter was tracing the pioneer efforts of WCC and certain of its constituent denominations. In October of 2004 a delegation of senior American Presbyterian leaders met with the leaders of Hezbollah in Lebanon and cheerfully told the audience of al-Manour, the television network of Hezbollah, that "relations and conversations with Islamic leaders are a lot easier than dealings and dialogue with Jewish leaders.... We treasure the precious words of Hizb'Allah and your expression of goodwill towards the American people."[9] [ICEJ News Service (, October 25, 2004.]

Early in 1988, the WCC adopted and distributed throughout the Western world its anathema against the "heresy" of imagining that the State of Israel is a fulfillment of Jewish Scripture: "We CONDEMN also the misuse of the bible and the abuse of religious sentiments in an attempt to sacralize the creation of a state and legitimate the policies of a government." Later, the General Secretary of the MECC, Gabriel Habib, sent a letter to Christian churches and organizations throughout the world "warning of the danger of this Christian Zionism, and emphasizing that it must be opposed as a corruption of Christianity and a false claimant to speak in its name."[10] [The documents MECC/1994/VI/GA/GA6 can be found in Middle East Council of Churches, The MECC: An Introduction to the Middle East Council of Churches. (Limassol, Cyprus: MECC, 1988], page 3.]

In recent years, this interpretation of Christian Zionism has taken hold beyond WCC institutional bodies, It is now increasingly expressed in books and tracts written by some evangelical authors and lecturers. In the "kits" which the WCC sends out to prepare participants for its pro-Palestine educational conferences we find the works of academics Gary Burge, Donald Wagner, Stephen Sizer[11] [Gary Burge, Who Are God's People in the Middle East? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993; Donald Wagner, Anxious for Armageddon (Scottfield PA: Herald Press, 1994); Stephen Sizer, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? (Leicester, U.K.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2004)] and offprints of lectures and press releases of evangelists John W. Stott and Tony Campola. In these sources we find anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and especially anti-Christian Zionist denunciations every bit as venomous as those in the WCC's own documents: ("Christian Scripture tells us that the Jews of Jesus' time appealed to their Scriptures to justify their privileged position as God's people to reject what God was saying to them through Jesus ... [but] God's displeasure will be stirred and his judgment will be swift"(Burge); "Israel today is a sinful nation...Many Christians are suffering under this occupation. Israel may be seeking physical and military security through nationalism, but she is not seeking the heart of the Lord" (Stott); Christian Zionists "have surrendered the central doctrines of Christianity for a nationalist political ideology — Zionism — whose very morality is inconsistent with biblical teachings...It should be declared a heretical cult" (Wagner); "Too many Christians have become 'evangelical Zionists' who favor ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Middle East"(Campolo.)

It is from these sources that Jimmy Carter has drawn his scurrilous defamations of his fellow-evangelicals.

JIMMY CARTER'S EMANCIPATION FROM THE CHRISTIAN ZIONISM that he had expressed in 1976 coincided with his estrangement from the constituency of Evangelical voters who had supported him in 1976. When Carter made his appearance so unexpectedly on the national scene in 1975-1976, he was type-cast as a walking, breathing Born-Again evangelical. The newsweeklies and the journals of commentary immediately hired on anthropologists to explain the species, previously thought extinct, to their readers. Carter could not have gone on from that beginning to success in the Presidential campaign had he not overcome the stigma which the mainstream media intended to follow from that designation. Indeed, Carter succeeded to the point that the same journalistic voices would afterwards admire how cunningly Carter had parlayed his evangelical Christian faith into an asset: it was just what had been needed to restore trust in politics after the regimes of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

In 1980, however, the vast majority of evangelical voters went across the street to join the Reagan Revolution. This defection was both unfair and uncalled-for, Carter believes. Reagan's faith was doubtlessly honestly held; but his scatter-gun employment of Scripture revealed a chaotic theology. By rushing to the side of Ronald Reagan, Evangelicals had proved themselves flighty, intellectually shallow — in short, the intellectual and spiritual inferiors of a man who quoted Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich and Soren Kierkegaard.

Carter had been betrayed, more specifically, by the Southern Baptist Church, which most Americans had come to think of as Jimmy Carter's church. In his book, Our Endangered Values (2005), Carter recalls his resentment at being told to his face by leaders of his own Southern Baptist Convention, in the last year of his Presidency, that the reason for his failures as President was that he had not stood against the tide of opinion which sought to entrench homosexual life in law with the privileges of marriage, and that he overlooked the qualifications of evangelical Christians for positions of leadership in his Administration. In short, he had gone over to "secular humanism."[12] [Jimmy Carter, Our Endangered Values (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005), 32-33. Hereinafter cited as OEV.]

Jimmy Carter presents the story of his falling-out with the SBC as a struggle between forces of light and forces of darkness. Sometime after his return to Plains, Carter discovered that his own local congregation had divided over the challenge of racial fraternity, and so he was compelled in conscience to leave it and help in forming another Church, the Marantha church. During the 1990s, the leadership of the Southern Baptist church moved distinctly to the right, both in terms of theology and in terms of attitudes towards public policies. The denomination's "Faith and Message Statement," adopted at the convention of 2000, upholds (as Carter interprets it) domination by all-male pastors, encroachment on the autonomy of local churches, and other elements of the new fundamentalism and the exclusion of traditional Baptists from its ranks. Carter was certain that he saw in these new developments the eventual erasure of the line of separation between Church and state — "the melding of religion and politics." Accordingly, "after much prayer and soul-searching, Rosalynn and I decided to sever our personal relationships with the Southern Baptist Convention, while retaining our time-honored Baptist customs and beliefs within our local church. "[13] [OEV, 32-35 and 39.] In short, we did not leave them; they left us.

In an op-ed written for the New York Times in 2003, describes a link between the repressive social attitudes of the SBC and its record of support for President George Bush's war in Iraq which, he says, violates the Christian "just war doctrine". Carter writes: "There is an almost universal conviction of religious leaders, with the notable exception of the Southern Baptist convention, who are greatly influenced by their commitment to Israel based on eschatological, or final days, theology."[14] [Cited in Steven F. Hayward, The Real Jimmy Carter (Washington: Regnery, 2004) 42-43.]

Not everyone agrees that the central issue leading to the split within the Plains Baptist church was racial attitude. And many Southern Baptists with a record of family-belonging as long as Carter's own feel that Carter has distorted the meaning of the church's recent history. The Baptist churches are still among the most equalitarian, anti-hierarchical and democratic in the Church; and so there can be no doubt that this shift — if Carter is indeed analyzing it accurately — reflects lay opinion. In his account of his [parting from the SBC, Carter, displays a controlling spirit and a tendency to dogmatism which was not evident in his earlier incarnation as the voice of evangelicalism in 1976. He has assumed the mantel of a prophet.

On January 9, 2007, President Carter shared a news conference with President Clinton at the Carter Center in Atlanta to announce that they had become partners in a campaign to re-align the attitudes on public issues of all Baptists in the United States. (Carter was born into a church of the SBC and Bill Clinton gravitated into the SBC as a young man despite having been raised in a religiously-indifferent family and married to a Methodist.) The two ex-Presidents called for distribution within all the Baptist bodies a call to attend the "Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant" — which did in fact take place January 30-February 1, 2008. Out of this exercise is meant to come a community of Baptists more "inclusive"in their thinking — having (among other matters) a kinder, gentler attitude towards homosexuals, and a less judgmental attitude towards the practice of abortion.

However sincere the theological and moral motivation may be, there is a blatant partisan intention in this effort that has not escaped commentators. The advertised goals set for this group are described in terms of key concepts and key words that appear in the Democratic Party platform and in its general all-purpose policy statements issued to candidates. The campaign is clearly intended to move more Baptists into the Democratic Party and more Democrats into the Baptist camp.

There is a vital link between Carter's two major current projects: his campaign of defamation against Israel and his campaign to re-align American Protestantism politically. The Palestine book is intended to undermine the moral advantage of Israel with American voters and to compel her to concede more and more to her adversaries. The Baptist project is intended to move large numbers of conservative Christian voters out of the Republican camp where attitudes are generally pro-Israel and into the Democratic where they are mixed — thus weakening the strategic strength of the Conservative pro-Israel block.


Jimmy Carter has put the key to his self-understanding as a banner into the title of his Presidential memoirs — Keeping Faith.[15] [Jimmy Carter, Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President (New York: Bantam, 1982.)] Carter does not reject popular approval, nor does he object to having the approval of governments, of the United Nations, nor of the Nobel Prize committee. But as a man of faith he cannot be content with the approval of mankind-in-general, no matter how impressive the credentials of the persons or the organizations that consider themselves to be embodiments of that approval. What he has always craved above all else is the unanimously-expressed approval of people of faith — and first and foremost, that of people of Christian faith.

Jimmy Carter has every right in the world to be baffled by the judgment of the leaders of the SBC that he has gone over to "secular humanism." Despite finding himself so clearly at odds with ascendant opinion in the Southern Baptist community in which he was reared and which he had served conscientiously through his adult years, Carter remains convinced that he, no less than they, can claim to have kept the faith in which he was raised. "This inclination to 'cling to unchanging principles,'" he says, "is an understandable and benign aspect of religion, and a general attitude that I have shared during most of my life."[16] [OEV, 33.] In my view, Carter is not as cognizant as he ought to be of the extent of the change that has taken place in his published views. Still, Carter has every right to insist (as he does) that his particular commitment on every particular issue of public life follows from the fundamental commitments as a Christian.

Jimmy Carter passes the Gospel's test of Christian faithfulness. No one can claim that Jimmy Carter is ashamed of the gospel (Luke 9:26); he has not preferred the praise of men to the praise of God (John 12:43.) More than any public figure of our time, he has endured, by and large patiently, abuse and ridicule for his designation of himself as a "Born Again" Christian — a term he still proudly employs. Though he likes to quote Soren Kirkegaard, Carter does not take satisfaction from being at odds with "Christianity," as Kierkegaard did. Carter is absolutely determined to change the moral world around him. And this means that he must change the Church, the body of Christ. To do this, he must be in it and of it.

Precisely because his influence as a senior statements is so great, precisely because his moral force is so solid and so widely-acclaimed, Jimmy Carter's case illustrates with unique force how central is the matter of one's attitude towards Israel to all thinking and acting in world politics. Since 1980, he has conducted his quarrel with Israel with ever-increasing ruthlessness, and he has become so blinded by his rage for vindication and so benumbed by his own virtue precisely because these issues are rooted in theology. Just as he believed it was necessary for him to leave the local Baptist congregation in Plains because of its moral failures (ostensibly in the arena of racial reconciliation); and just as he believed it was necessary for him to leave the SBC and to conduct his campaign to re-align the Baptist communities of America (ostensibly because of the SBC's benighted attitudes on homosexuality and definition of family), so he has found it necessary to align himself with the WCC and the MECC in denunciation of the "heresies" of Christian Zionism.

Carter is at least partly right in accusing the leadership of Southern Baptist Church of tending to require adherence to a specific catalogue of its published positions on public mattes as a litmus test of Christian fidelity. But that is precisely what he does in Our Endangered Values and in many other public declarations. Carter's campaign for re-orientation of the Baptist of America seeks a religious conversion of such scope that it would turn around 180 degrees attitudes of Baptists towards Israel. It would turn them away from their demonic obsession with the cause of the State of Israel and their mindless alliance with right-wing Israeli politics and Jewish fundamentalist Zionism. They would cease seeking the blessing of the heartless illegal possessor of Palestinian lands and seek as one to bless the oppressed, the Palestinian people.

Is it possible that by adding the weight of his own reputation to these anti-Zionist efforts within the evangelical community, Carter could turn the evangelical community around from a pro-Israel to an anti-Israel posture? It seems very unlikely; but Carter is a man of huge ambition and limitless self-confidence. Sales of his book have been brisk. Changing the political direction of a major church body is an awesome task. It cannot be done from the top down — as Carter and Clinton picture themselves doing — but only over long periods of time from the bottom up. In any case, the reputations of Carter and Clinton (for radically different reasons) have sunk pretty low in Conservative Christian circles.

I think, therefore, that this campaign will fail. But in the meantime it seems to be opening up another front of intra-Church conflict which will bring the issue of evangelical support for Israel back to front and center of public interest — with profound implications for Israel.


1. Paul C. Merkley, American Presidents, Religion and Israel (Westport: Praeger, 2004.)

2. Jimmy Carter, The Blood of Abraham (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1985), 140-141. Hereinafter cited as BA.

3. BA, 143.

4. Merkley, 143.

5. BA, 143-144.

6. Jimmy Carter, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006.)

7.David Postman, "Jimmy Carter says Christians, pro-Israel lobby, stifle Middle East debate here," Seattle Times, December 13, 2006.

8.The most recent statements of WCC on this and other matters can be found at its website,

9.ICEJ News Service ( , October 25, 2004.

10.The documents MECC/1994/VI/GA/GA6 can be found in Middle East council of Churches, The MECC: An Introduction to the Middle East Council of Churches. (Limassol, Cyprus: MECC, 1988], page 3.

11. Gary Burge, Who Are God's People in the Middle East? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993; Donald Wagner, Anxious for Armageddon (Scottfield PA: Herald Press, 1994); Stephen Sizer, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? (Leicester, U.K.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2004)

12. Jimmy Carter, Our Endangered Values (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005), 32-33.

13. Ibid, 32-35 and 39.

14. Cited in Steven F. Hayward, The Real Jimmy Carter (Washington: Regnery, 2004), 42-43.]

15. Jimmy Carter, Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President (New York: Bantam, 1982.)

16. Our Endangered Values, 33.

Paul Charles Merkley is Professor Emeritus of History, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, author of the Politics of Christian Zionism (Frank Cass, 1998), Christian Attitudes Towards the State of Israel (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2001) and American Presidents, Religion and Israel (Praeger, 200 4.) Contact him at

This article was submitted January 6, 2009.


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