ABD’de Hıristiyan Siyonizmi: Kökeni, İnanç Esasları ve Günümüz Amerikan Siyasetine EtkisiHafize Şule Albayrak
Bu makale, din siyaset ilişkilerini sosyolojik çerçevede inceleme girişimi olarak Amerika Birleşik Devletleri’nde siyasetteki etkisi artan Hıristiyan siyonizmini konu edinmektedir. Çalışmamızda cevap aradığımız temel sorular, “ABD’de evanjelik Protestanlar arasında yer alan Hıristiyan Siyonistler kimlerdir?”, “Tarihi köken ve kaynakları nelerdir?”, “Hem dini hem siyasi bir oluşum olan Hıristiyan siyonizminin inanç esasları, siyasi yönelimleri ve Amerikan siyasetine etkileri nelerdir?” olarak sıralanabilir. Bu çerçevede makale tasviri bir çalışma olarak Türk akademisinde konuyla ilgili literatür boşluğunu gidermeyi amaçlamaktadır. Bu amaçla, çalışmamızda öncelikle Hıristiyan siyonizminin 19. yüzyılda İngiltere’deki oluşum sürecine ve ABD’de yayılışına işaret edilecek; ardından temel teolojik ilkeleri ve bu ilkelerde önemli bir yer bulan Yahudilerin ve İsrail devletinin konumuna ışık tutulacaktır. Son olarak Hıristiyan Siyonizmi doktrininin Amerikan siyasetindeki etkisine dikkat çekilecektir.
Christian Zionism in the US: Its Roots, Founding Principles and Its Influence in American PoliticsHafize Şule Albayrak
This article looks at Christian Zionism in the US from a sociological perspective. For this aim, I will examine the questions of “who are the Christian Zionists?”, “what constitutes the roots and fundamental doctrines of Christian Zionism?” and “how do Christian Zionists view world politics?” In this descriptive work, which aims to elaborate on an under-investigated research topic in Turkish academia, first I will provide a background into its history, dating back to 19th century Britain. Secondly, I will discuss the fundamental theological principles of Christian Zionism and the role played by Jews and Israel in this belief system. Lastly, the increasing influence of Christian Zionists over American politics will be discussed.
Christian Zionist ideas have been embraced by many presidents in American politics, but the power of Christian Zionism in American politics became clear after Donald Trump was elected in November 2016. He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which had been a long-term ambition of the American Christian Zionists and Jewish Zionists. In this study, Christian Zionists and their theo-political approach will be discussed. In addition, the active participation in politics among evangelical Protestants with an emphasis on their prioritising of Jews and Israeli policies in American politics will be examined. This topic, which can be linked not only to the field of sociology of religion but also to all fields of social sciences, is important for understanding the debates and social poles in American society, as well as for making sense of the determinants of US policy, especially toward the Middle East. The reason behind the US-based Israeli policies in the Middle East has a theological and ideological justification.
In this descriptive work, I will seek answers to the questions of “who are the Christian Zionists?”, “what constitutes the roots and fundamental doctrines of Christian Zionism?” and “how do Christian Zionists view world politics?” In this context, I will draw attention to the fact that Zionism is not only a concept related to Judaism and that there have been many non-Jewish Christian Zionists in the past and many who are still actively present in the American administration. My work sets out the conceptual framework of Christian Zionism as a theo-political ideology and sheds light on the historical background of the subject; It also aims to clarify how the ideology in question has gained power and become an effective discourse within American Protestantism. In this context, the study will trace the imperialist policies of the British Empire on Ottoman lands in the first half of the 19th century when Christian Zionism first emerged; then, the main elements of the Christian Zionists’ ideological and theological approaches to social and political processes, the extent of how Jews benefitted will be discussed, and their effects on American politics will also be pointed out.
Christian Zionism has, in general, evolved from evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. This approach adopts the reading of The Bible with a literal, premillennial approach and takes Biblical eschatology crucial. In order to understand the Christian Zionists’ support for Israel and their insistence on directing American policies, it is necessary to consider the pre-millennial dispensationalism that centered on Jews and the doctrines of the End Times. Pre-Millennial dispensationalism is the fundamental doctrine of Christian Zionists. In addition, Christian fundamentalists are based on the literal (literalism) reading of the scripture. While giving Jews a central place in the doctrine of the End Times, they have a very negative attitude towards Muslims.
In general terms, the term “Christian Zionist” is given to a constituent of the most influential apocalyptic beliefs of today’s American society, which emerged in Britain in the 19th century, later coming to the US in the middle of the same century. Christian Zionism, which proposes rather radical ideas, is widespread among American Protestants. According to the results of a 2013 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 82% of the white evangelical Protestants in the United States believe that Israel was given to the Jews by God; whereas this rate is only 40% among Jews. In general, 44% of Americans believe that God gave Israel to the Jews. When the period and the environment in which Christian Zionism emerged are evaluated, it is possible to see that the ideologies that were formed on the basis of the activities of British imperialism in the Middle East were transformed into religious discourse. Christian Zionism, which formed an important ideological basis for British imperialism in the first period of its emergence, provides an ideological basis for American imperialism today. It is also an important part of the Israeli lobby in the US.
The enduring teachings of the Christian Zionists, who have gained more influence in recent American politics compared to previous periods, have reached the point of power to be able to affect US foreign policy. Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his declarations that Golan Heights belong to Israel are closely related to the theological teachings of Christian Zionism. The fact that a group with a radical theo-political ideology in the US is so effective in politics and state administration raises questions about American secularism. The important question of whether there is a reversal from American secularism –given the current developments in spite of the Constitution of America, where religion and state affairs are clearly separated- should be focused on in the coming years.