Dr. Donald Sweeting, chancellor of Colorado Christian University wrote two articles for Fox News after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel.
The first article, Oct. 12, was titled “Hamas-Israel war reveals the world’s oldest hatred in American higher education.”
It asked, “Why do children, after going to American colleges, turn out to be so hostile to Israel?”
It concluded, “Above all, do not get sucked into the world’s oldest hatred, ‘the hatred that won’t go away.’
Rather, speak out. Condemn this barbaric assault and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Palestine, Gaza and the entire Middle East.”
The second article, Oct. 31, was titled, “Pro-Hamas protests expose the massive failure at the heart of American higher education.”
It noted, “The war against Israel has provided a window into the ugly side of higher education.”
It asked, “How could American university students celebrate, and many presidents equivocate or just stay silent, in response to the brutal Hamas attack? . . . University administrators’ non-judgmentalism and lack of moral clarity in response to this savagery seems not just irresponsible but reprehensible.”
Sweeting attended the opening of the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem last April as one stop on a tour of Israel. As he was having lunch at the Sea of Galilee, a Jewish friend asked him why American students, after going to college, turn out to be hostile to Israel.
He answered, as he wrote Oct. 12:
“Using left-wing anti-colonial language, they teach students that the Israelis are the extremists, and that retaliation against the ‘colonial oppressors’ is entirely justified. . . . The BDS movement has been promoting this for some time.”
Sweeting has served as a pastor in Denver and Illinois, as well as the president of a theological seminary in Florida before coming to CCU, where he oversaw six years of record enrollment.
He was educated at Moody Bible Institute, Lawrence University, Oxford University, Regent College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he earned a PhD.
He is the author of several books.
Question: How does Zionism speak to you as a Christian minister and educator?
Sweeting: “Do Jews have a legitimate claim to a state of their own on the site of ancient Israel? Yes, they do. It’s their ancestral historical homeland. I can trace it back to King David, and further to back to Abraham. Even though modern Israel is a secular state, it is the protector of the world’s Jews today.”
Why is it important to you protect the Jews?
“They are G-d’s chosen people, Who cut his covenant with the Jews.
“There is a special place in history for Jews; they are called to be a light to the gentiles. Christians have a debt to the Jews, its scriptures, its covenant.”
Where did you learn this?
“1. Reading the Bible, which I read through just about every year.
“2. Reading History of the Jews by Paul Johnson, who said: These people are unique; they have a separate identity; they are one of the most hated peoples, and have gathered back in their land — the miracle of the re-gathering of Jews in Israel. You look at that and say: Why did that happen? This is not normal.
“3. Visiting Israel. I have been to all of the biblical sites, all the holy sites, New Testament and Old Testament. I have led tours to them.”
Sweeting also credits his parents. His father was president of the Moody Biblical Institute in Chicago. His father was very pro-Israel, “very grateful for Israel.” After the Nazi march in Skokie in 1977, his father took out a full page advertisement, saying this is not right.
“One day he got a call from Yitzhak Rabin [former IDF chief of staff during the 1967 Six Day War], who said he was going to be in Chicago and wanted to meet him. And he did.”
What prompted to write your two pieces for Fox News?
“First of all, my love for Israel.
“I knew Israel was isolated.
“From my time in Israel, I know it’s surrounded by people who want to destroy it.
“When I went with Larry Mizel to the dedication of Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem last April, we went up to the border of Lebanon, and the IDF gave us a tour of the tunnels dug by Hezbollah. They’re planning to attack, they want to wipe Israel off the map.
“What happened on October 7 was so large in scale that I knew this was not an isolated attack. I believe that Hamas is just living up to what it said in its charter in 1988 when it said it wanted to obliterate Israel, and was looking for the opportune moment.
“So I had to write.
“This was barbaric. It was an atrocity. Worst day for the Jews since the Holocaust. How could I keep quiet about it?
“Others were celebrating it — most university presidents for the first two weeks were dead silent. At the same time, others were putting out statements celebrating that Jewish people were dead.
“This was wrong!
“University leaders must speak out clearly, even if students are advocating another view. University leaders are moral leaders and have a responsibility to speak, especially at a time like this.”
What is the future of higher education in the United States?
“That’s the 100 dollar question.
“I am hoping that this is a wake-up call for American universities and those that support them.
“There is a crisis of confidence in higher education, even before October 7. This added to the crisis of confidence. People are wondering, what’s happened to our universities? Why spend a lot of money to send student to them?”
Is there hope for higher education?
“A qualified yes. Universities need to be reformed. They need to get rid of the ideologically driven studies — the neo-Marxism influencing a whole generation. That will destroy our universities. We need to return to educational sanity, which influences teaching history, teaching ethics and teaching about the Bible, even if you don’t believe in it, because it’s the book that shaped the Western world. It’s our heritage document.
“Knowing the Bible will give a deeper appreciation for Jews and Israel.”
What about the issue of character?
“We’ve completely given up on that, and now it’s showing.”
In a neutral university setting, how can you teach character?
“Go back to our founding fathers. Washington and Adams said that our republic and Constitution won’t work without a basis of morality and religion.
But the Constitution sustained slavery.
“The Constitution was amended. That was a blind spot.
“Secularism is shown to be wanting at times like this because there is no basis for teaching morality, but most of our great universities were founded with a Judeo-Christian foundation.
“If universities are not reformable, then there are alternatives. Defund them, or, let legislatures and donors step in and demand accountability. Legislatures control budgets and can have that influence.
“Florida and its governor work together in ways that I think are good. Not everyone agrees with me. But I think it is good to forbid spending on programs that require political loyalty tests.
“I am a committed person. We love and want to be a blessing to the Jews. In Genesis 12:3, G-d says to Abraham, ‘I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you.’
“We want to be on the side of blessing.”
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