Praying to a different drummer…

Prayer MarchI received a call the other day from a mother who is Jewish and who’s son is attending a local university.  She was dismayed as her son was badgered by university professors and students because he is Jewish.  She was calling me because we were the nearest “synagogue” to the university, and she hoped to find some answers as to why her son was being “persecuted” for being Jewish.

As we talked, it came out that her son is a victim of a growing movement on university campuses that promote the concept of Israel being an apartheid nation, even to the point of hosting an annual Israel Apartheid Week and supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by self-professed Palestinians who are demanding economic sanctions against Israel.

The irony of this movement is that while they continue to demand a two-state solution to the problem of Israeli occupation, they fail to admit that it was the Arab nations’ refusal to allow a two-state solution in the first place when in 1947 the nation of Palestine was created by a U.N. resolution.  We know that history.  And now, having turned Gaza and parts of the West Bank over to the Palestinian National Authority as part of the 1993 Oslo Accords, the two-state solution has simply provided launching areas for terrorist activities, rockets on Tel Aviv, and murderers in Jerusalem.  A nation is no longer allowed to defend itself, and college-students are the main arbiter of international justice.  And part of that justice is the harassment of Jewish students on college campuses.  What a strange world we live in!

This poor mother is confused and distraught, and her son is considering leaving the university.  I shared with her that our congregation is Messianic, and that we believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that Jesus is the only answer to peace.  I also offered to help her son get adjusted and to be a source of moral support for him, if he and she would let me.  She was very eager to have me do that.

The kind of persecution Jewish students undergo on college campuses is slight compared to the tragedy of Christian persecution in Islamic lands.  But the BDS movement and others like it contribute to the tragic events of what we saw in Paris last November, and the radicalization of American college students who join ISIS.  Our branch in Orlando, where the BDS movement is very strong at the University of Central Florida, is hosting our annual Roundtable and Prayer March for Persecuted Christians and Jews in Orlando on April 16 & 17.

The Roundtable is April 16 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 123 E. Livingston Street.  Religious persecution of Christians and Jews has reached epidemic proportions in the Middle East, Africa, North Korea, Iran, Europe and Asia. Our international panel of experts will give you a rare insight into this problem rarely discussed in Central Florida. There will be a robust question and answer session. Invited speakers include: Elisabeth Sabaditsch Wolff (Austria)– Julie Dass (Pakistan) – Shahzad Gill (Pakistan)– Dr. Wasfy Michael – Ashraf Ibrahim (Egypt) – Nicholas Papanicolaou (Order of St. John) – Rabbi Jonathan Hausman – Senator Alan Hays.  Contact: Rev. Bruce Lieske (407-359-0449) or Mr. Alan Kornman (407-702-0494).

Our Prayer March begins at Lake Eola Park on Sunday, April 17 at 3:30 p.m.  The march will end at the Lake Eola band shell at approximately 5:00 p.m. where we will hear from an international group of speakers who know persecution first hand and will tell their stories. We will also be praying for the persecuted and the persecutors. Churches and other concerned organizations are invited to participate as we continue to profess Jesus, the Prince of Peace, as the only solution to the evil that surrounds us.


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