A History of Christian Zionism, Part 1

In a famous 2006 essay in the London Review of Books, foreign policy scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt charged that an "Israel Lobby," presumably dominated by American Jews, was skewing American foreign policy "far from what the national interest would suggest." Later that same year, Walter Russell Mead of the Council on Foreign Relations counter-charged in Foreign Affairs that American support for Israeli expansionism should not be blamed on Jews but rather "the dynamics of U.S. religion," especially the Christian Zionism of evangelicals. Shortly after this widely-read exchange, James Skillen argued that what makes Christian Zionism so attractive to so many is its "civil-religious faith that God has chosen America to be the kind of new Israel that helps shepherd the survival of the Jewish state so that Christ's return will come about as prophesied." Therefore Christian Zionism, he concluded, "is a specific kind of political theology arising from within the American civil religion."

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