Oklahoma City played host last week to one of the most insidious, anti-Semitic organizations in the world: Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC). This should not go unnoticed. Bigotry, whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head, should be publicly condemned.
CATC bills itself as an organization focused on the rights of Palestinians, but it never condemns those truly responsible for the Palestinian plight—namely, the terrorists and crooks who lead Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Rather, CATC speakers traffic in anti-Semitic blood libels and bigoted conspiracy theories.
For example, attendees at CATC’s event heard from Rev. Stephen Sizer, whose own Church of England banned him from using social media for six months after he advanced what the Church deemed “unquestionably anti-Semitic” material. This is the same reverend who had previously participated in an “anti-Semitic hate-fest” in Iran and backed the conspiracy theory that Israel was somehow behind the 9/11 attacks.
Sizer is not an anomaly at CATC. Event participants also heard from Holy Land Trust executive director Sami Awad, who has admitted to meeting with members of the terrorist organization Hamas and has explicitly stated that non-violent demonstrations against Israel are “not a substitute for the armed struggle.”
The list of appalling statements made by those associated with CATC is far too long for any op-ed. But any one of these ought to be enough to show just what kind of people went to America’s heartland to spread their hate.
Through my work with Christians United for Israel, I’ve met the leaders of Oklahoma’s Christian community. And each one would agree that when a group comes into our home and invokes the name of our Savior in order to advance bigotry, it is incumbent upon us to stand up and make clear that these people do not speak for us or our faith.
Americans have been largely blessed in the past few decades to see the systemic racism and bigotry that once plagued our nation pushed into the shadows. But it has always been there—from the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., to the ongoing anti-Semitism in Davis, Calif., it’s clear that the bigots in our midst, in particular those who provide a fig leaf of faith or politics for their hatred of Jews, feel their moment has arrived.
I appreciate that a key part of what makes our country great is that anyone, with any opinion, has the right to speak their mind free of government interference. But with that right comes a responsibility: Community leaders must ensure that the loudest voice in the room is never the voice of hatred.
Last week, the voice of hatred was heard in Oklahoma. Let us not be silent. Let us condemn it from our pulpits, in our newspapers and in our conversations with friends. Let those who seek to sow the seeds of hatred know that they will find no fertile ground in the Sooner state or anywhere in our country. Christians are tolerant, we love our neighbors, and we are not fooled by those who contort biblical scripture and the lexicon of human rights to demonize the Jewish people or the Jewish state.
No person wrapping themselves in the banner of the cross should go unchallenged as they seek to trample upon the Star of David.
Pastor Lyndon Allen is the Central Region Coordinator for Christians United for Israel.