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Friday, November 12, 2004 

Yasser Arafat

Ok, so let's get to some real commentary now. The topic of the day -- Yasser Arafat. Everyone is talking about this man in the wake of his death. Who was he? What did he do for the Palestinian people? And in light of the answers to these two questions, why is he being honored by so many, including the French President Jacques Chirac who went to visit the dead leader Thursday morning. To hear the words of Chirac one would think that he was honoring a hero. He said as he arrived, "I have come to bow before president Yasser Arafat and pay him a final homage." He later praised Arafat for being "a man of courage and conviction who for forty years has incarnated the Palestinians' fight for recognition of their national rights," adding later, "To the Palestinian people, at this moment of mourning I want to express the friendship of France and of the French people."

Add to that the words of many others including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter who called Arafat, "the father of the modern Palestinian nationalist movement" and "a powerful human symbol and forceful advocate." He went on to say that "Palestinians united behind him in their pursuit of a homeland." But possible the most shocking comment made by Carter was when he told reporters that Arafat provided "indispensable leadership to a revolutionary movement." Did you catch that? A revolutionary movement. Not a terrorist movement mind you, but a revolutionary one. Didn't America achieve it's independence in a war which bears the same name? This man, Yasser Arafat, was a terrorist and yet he was given the Nobel Peace prize in 1994, and now in 2004 he dies with honors being heaped upon him by a former U.S. President who saw first hand the horrors of the PLO.

Now what does all this have to do with Christ and Culture? Well, when I think about all the things that have been said regarding this terrorist leader of the PLO and place them up against those things said about Christians by those on the left in these last days, it seems quite incredible. Christian leaders are stupid and narrow, but Yasser Arafat is a revolutionary hero. Where is the moral compass of America? Evangelicals in this country are demeaned and criticized for holding to age-old principles to which the Founding Fathers of this country also held, and yet a man who orders and funds suicide bombers in an effort to "drive the Jews into the sea" is held in high esteem and given honor by former U.S. Presidents. How jacked-up is that? Christians in this country have to realize that what we are experiencing is merely the beginning skirmishes of a culture war that is about to explode in this country. We must now, more that ever, heed the words of the apostle Peter and be ready to give an account for the hope that is within us.

On a final note, I hope that my assessment of Yasser Arafat does not trigger anyone to think that I am pro-Israeli and therefore anti-Palestinian. I am neutral. Both groups have perpetrated great atrocities in the name of God and for the sake of their land. For a balanced, Evangelical view of this conflict, see John Piper's article on www.desiringgod.org, entitled, "Do Jews Have a Divine Right in the Promised Land?"

May God Richly Bless You for the Sake of His Glory,
D.R.

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