Andy Kopsa

Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality

Iowa for Israel?

The FAMiLY Leader is circulating a petition called “Iowa For Israel” to all state legislators to pass a resolution officially recognizing the Nation of Israel.  I can’t possibly rehash the crazy stuff TFL has done over the last few years but I have written about their anti-gay, anti-choice political antics here and here if you have about three hours to spare.

Here’s the set up from Chuck Hurley of The FAMiLY Leader:

Iowa for Israel Proclamation

Last year, President Obama made policy statements calling Israel to dramatically scale back its borders to that of 1967.  These statements were in stark contrast to decades of bi-partisan support for the nation of Israel. Friends of The FAMiLY LEADER are circulating a petition to the Iowa Legislature to pass a proclamation supporting Israel and its right to maintain its current borders. Israel has been a steady friend and ally to the United States for a long time, and it behooves our state and nation to affirm and continue this alliance. To read the petition and for more information, go to http://www.iowaforisrael.com/

Here’s the petition (fancy Bible font and old-timey paper original to document):

Although The FAMiLY Leader is circulating the petition, the author is Pastor Brad Sherman of Purpose Ministries (Solid Rock Church) in Coralville, Iowa.

Mr. Sherman, in addition to being a pastor, is also a board member of Ralph Reed’s Iowa “Faith and Freedom Coalition”.

Sherman along with The FAMiLY Leader (then known as The Iowa Family Policy Center – IFPC) were the creators of another pledge – one against same sex marriage.  In 2010 Sherman along with IFPC crafted an open letter to Iowa pastors to sign demanding Iowans be given the opportunity to vote on the rights of other Iowans to marry.

IFPC/The FAMiLY Leader is no stranger to worthless pledges.  Last year they created the marriage pledge that all but a couple of the GOP presidential hopefuls signed apparently without reading it.  You may remember the pledge came under fire for lauding the benefits of slavery to African American families.  The group, after an immediate and fierce backlash, removed that passage from the pledge.

IFPC/The FAMiLY Leader and its leader Bob Vander Plaats are the leading anti-gay, anti-choice, pick your anti, group in Iowa.  They received $3 million in federal funding for marriage counseling through George W’s faith based funding initiative.  As soon as the IFPC was outed for taking the money, they formally rejected the last year of funding.  But those years of money pouring in helped build the group’s network and infrastructure throughout Iowa.  Their mission:  implementation of a Christian world view.

Ever politically active, IFPC is likely keen to launch this pledge as Iowa runs up to the fall elections.  There handfuls of unsafe democratic seats up for grabs and rallying the right-wing base with anything Israel can only serve them well.  And, of course as part of Ralph Reed’s Iowa contingency, Pastor Sherman is no political slouch when it comes to recognizing the value of a churchy petition to corral the base and funnel them to the voting booth.  His petition in 2010 to end gay-marriage gathered the signatures of over 800 pastors – and Iowa pastors like their pulpit politicking.  So that’s 800 x congregants….carry the one….that’s a lot of right-wingers turning up at the polls if all goes according to plan.

I am no Israel expert but it seems the US already recognized(ish?) Israel:

At midnight on May 14, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel proclaimed a new State of Israel. On that same date, the United States, in the person of President Truman, recognized the provisional Jewish government as de facto authority of the Jewish state (de jure recognition was extended on January 31, 1949). The U.S. delegates to the U.N. and top-ranking State Department officials were angered that Truman released his recognition statement to the press without notifying them first. On May 15, 1948, the first day of Israeli Independence and exactly one year after UNSCOP was established, Arab armies invaded Israel and the first Arab-Israeli war began.

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