Young evangelicals waver in support for Israel

evangelicals
US evangelical Christians march in the Sukkot holiday parade in Jerusalem on Octc20, 2016. (photo: Abir Sultan / EPA)

Generational split reflects concern over Palestinians, spurring outreach by some churches and groups.

By Ian Lovett | The Wall Street Journal | Jun 3, 2018


“The New Testament, I think, would be in favor of human rights.”
— Jackie Westeren, a rising senior at the evangelical Wheaton College


Growing up in evangelical Christian churches, Caleb Fitzpatrick learned quickly to be a steadfast supporter of Israel. From a young age, Mr. Fitzpatrick said, he was taught that Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, “was a hero” and that “Christians are supposed to back Israel on everything.”

But the Tampa, FL, native, who just finished his junior year at Liberty University, an evangelical school, has become critical of Israel for what he says is its mistreatment of Palestinians.

“Human rights is a core issue to me,” Mr. Fitzpatrick, 21, said. “It’s less important to me who has dominion over the northern part of historical Israel.”

A generational divide is opening up among evangelical Christians in the US over an issue that had long been an article of faith: unwavering support for the state of Israel. The shift is part of a wider split within the evangelical movement, as younger evangelicals are also more likely to support same-sex marriage, tougher environmental laws and other positions their parents spent a lifetime opposing.

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