Thursday, May 17, 2018

Christian Zionism this week in Jerusalem

This report from The Real News features Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen talk about Christian Zionism and Israel with particular reference to the US delegation to the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem this week. Trump’s Jerusalem Move Caters to Religious Extremists 05/16/2018

Max Blumenthal has taken some criticism for his position on "Russiagate" lately. I mention that only to say that some of the criticism I've seen seems aimed at wholly discrediting him as a reporter and analyst, a goal I certainly don't share. His commentary here on Christian Zionism is well-informed. His book Republican Gomorrah (2009) is a well-researched and insightful look at the Christian Right in the US.

In that book, he wrote about John Hagee, one of the two pastors Trump sent to Jerusalem for the Embassy opening:
Hagee is a Christian Zionist who preaches that the prophecies of the Book of Revelation will unfold as soon as the Jewish diaspora resettles in “Biblical Israel,” meaning all of Israel and the West Bank. A natural ally of Israel’s rightist Likud Party and the messianic Jewish settlers colonizing the West Bank, Hagee leveraged his millions to unite dozens of conservative mega-church congregations and some of the Christian Right’s most prominent figures— including the Reverend Jerry Falwell, Gary Bauer, and Rod Parsley, a Pentecostal preacher with considerable sway in his home state of Ohio— under the banner of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest nationwide evangelical political organization dedicated to supporting Israel, or at least its most right-wing elements. Hagee said he would like to see CUFI become “the Christian version of AIPAC,” referring to the vaunted pro-Israel group rated second only to the National Rifle Association as the most effective lobby in Washington. The preacher tapped Republican Senator Arlen Specter’s former chief of staff, David Brog, as his Capitol Hill lobbyist and then proceeded to make inroads in influence.

Despite his pretensions to philosemitism, Hagee’s interest in Israel was motivated exclusively by his belief in End Times theology, a doctrine that celebrates natural disaster, war, and global pandemics as harbingers of Christ’s imminent return. According to Hagee’s reading of the Book of Revelation, the lodestar of End Times theology, when Jesus returns to Jerusalem, the Jews must convert to evangelical Christianity or suffer eternal torment in “an everlasting lake of fire.” And liberals had better seek cover as well. “As soon as Jesus sits on his throne he’s gonna rule the world with a rod of iron,” the portly Hagee boomed in a December 2007 jeremiad. “That means he’s gonna make the ACLU do what he wants them to. That means you’re not gonna have to ask if you can pray in public school. We will live by the law of God and no other law.”

No comments: