• May 14, 2005
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    Israel offers land for evangelical Christian center
Israel offers land for evangelical Christian center
Evangelical groups haven't responded to the offer, and there is no timetable for moving ahead with plans for the property. Plans for the land would have to meet with the government's approval, The Gazette reported.

U.S. State Department officials said they hadn't heard about the offer. A message left Wednesday at the Consulate General of Israel's office in San Francisco was not immediately returned.

The land is next to the Sea of Galilee and near the Bay of Parables and the hilltop where Jesus was believed to have delivered the Sermon on the Mount.

Haggard called the land "priceless."

"None of that land is for sale," said Haggard, also president of the National Association of Evangelicals. "You could never buy it."

The surrounding land is a popular tourist destination for some evangelical Christians. Much of the ministry of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity, was carried out there. According to the Ministry of Tourism, tourists brought $1.4 billion into the Israeli economy last year.

Ted Haggard is one of the most influential Evangelicals in America, according to Time Magazine's article:
"At a meeting with President Bush in November 2003, after nearly an hour of jovial Oval Office chat, the Rev. Ted Haggard, 48, got serious. He argued against Bush-imposed steel tariffs on the grounds that free markets foster economic growth, which helps the poor. A month later, the White House dropped the tariffs. Haggard wasn't alone in faulting the policy, and he doesn't claim to be the impetus, but as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, he gets listened to. He represents 30 million conservative Christians spread over 45,000 churches from 52 diverse denominations. Every Monday he participates in the West Wing conference call with evangelical leaders. The group continues to prod the President to campaign aggressively for a federal marriage amendment. "We wanted him to use the force of his office to actively lobby the Congress and Senate, which he did not adequately do," says Haggard. He is also working to broaden his group's agenda. A document issued last fall offered a theological justification for civic activism by U.S. Evangelicals, calling on them to protect the environment, promote global religious and political freedom and human rights, safeguard "wholesome family life," care for the poor and oppose racism. Says Haggard: "With the growth of Evangelicalism worldwide, we have to be involved in political and social action to impact the culture worldwide."

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