God’s Country: Christian Zionism in America
By Samuel Goldman
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018, 248 pp.
As the American Jewish community grows increasingly divided over U.S. policy toward Israel, much of the academic and policy focus has shifted to the far larger number of American Christians who want the United States to pursue pro-Israel policies in the Middle East. This study of the history of pro- and anti-Israel ideas among American Christians from the Colonial period to the present day challenges the stereotypes that often distort discussions of Christian Zionism and offers useful observations about one of the most important political forces in American life. It is not, Goldman points out, only fundamentalist and dispensationalist Christians who support Israel. Nor is Christian support for Israel solely the product of a set of beliefs about Israel’s role in the approach of Armageddon. Pro-Zionist positions are widely shared across different strains of American Christianity. Mormons, who most fundamentalists and dispensationalists dismiss as misguided heretics, are among Israel’s staunchest backers. And many of Israel’s most prominent Christian supporters, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, were neither fundamentalist nor conservative.