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11 March 2010

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J

Mr. Hagee, ah yes, he is one of those [propagandists] who are 'subsidized' [to include furnished small private jets] by the Israeli government.

Clifford Kiracofe

Chapter 11 of my book "Dark Crusade" is entitled "Christian Zionism and the Nest War." It focuses on Hagee and his call for war against Iran as part of the biblical apocalytic plan of the Dispensationalist cult.

For Hagee's own words on the matter one can consult his book "Jerusalem Countdown." I did.

Israeli policymakers and strategists are very well aware of the phenomenon of Christian Zionism and also have decades of experience exploiting it to their ends. This is nothing new and I explain it in my book.

As I noted in another thread, Lord Palmerston in 1839-1840 began to use Christian Zionism to his foreign policy ends in the Middle East: creation of a Zionist entity in the Holy Land, and support of the creaky Ottoman Empire.

In the US, during the Harrison Administration Christian Zionists first lobbied the White House in behalf of the creation of a Zionist entity in the Holy Land. This was organized by on William E. Blackstone, a Christian Zionist businessman operating out of Chicago.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Eugene_Blackstone

For the notorious "Blackstone Memorial" to Congress and the White House in 1891 see Wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackstone_Memorial

Let's not fall into political naivete and kid ourselves. The Jewish element of the overall Zionist Movement in the United States and their counterparts in modern day Israel know this past history inside out and exploit it. Bibi Netanyahu is a master in this regard.

Charles I

John Hagee as Moses, Ahmadinejad as Hitler. Somebody's God help us, mine don't care about us at all!

Agreed Aipac et al are a lot more important in the greater scheme of things.

Still, with Joe Lieberman anointing Hagee as an "Ish Elokim, a man of God and those words really fit him...like Moses he's become a leader of a mighty multitude, even greater than the multitude that Moses led from Egypt to the promised land",
I fear this multitude has differentiated less overt access to levers of power than organized lobbies amenable to reporting and exposure to the few of us interested.

I refer your readers to Jeff Sharlett's The Family The Secret Fundamentalism At The Heart Of American Power, Harper Collins 2008. The title says it all. Their faith carries them straight to the reign of Jesus Christ on Earth, via hell, on the broad, well endowed, well connected shoulders of this multitude.


For those interested, there is a link at the bottom of the CUFI article on the PBS Bill Moyers page that goes to a book excerpt reviewing Israeli policy and diplomacy regarding US Christian Fundamentalists in the early 80's in some detail:

"On the Road to Armageddon
How evangelicals became Israel's best friend."

Timothy P. Weber

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/End-Times/On-The-Road-To-Armageddon.aspx


I must plug Clifford Kiracoffe's book Dark Crusade here too as a very lucid and readable account o the origins of the current U.S. manifestation.

Jonathan Cook's book Blood and Religion the Unmasking of the Jewish and Democrtatic State (Pluto Books 2006) touches upon, inter alia, Christian Fundamentalist support for continuous Israeli expansion into and assimilation of East Jerusalem, surely one of today's most explosive colonial provocations.

I'm grateful for the suggestion that exaggerated weighting of the most ferevent supporters' input is distorting Israel's imaginings as to the true level of support. I sure like to have my prejudices reinforced. Given the structures delineated to date while I'm sure that is the case, the toleration for cognitive dissonance amongst the initiates and their champions is surely increased with each demonstration of Israeli unchecked defiant provocation.

Who or what is gonna take the piss outta that?

walrus

Col. Lang,

Could an "existential threat" to America come from Hagee and Glen Becks' movements?

Would these folk likely take to the streets should any President threaten to change American policy towards Israel?

curious

I still get a chuckle with this old news. It turns out israel spends a lot of money enticing crazies and freaks.

Jesus Disneyland woooo ...
Rapture couldn't come soon enough, I say.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3198541,00.html

Israel won't do business with Pat Robertson after the U.S. Christian Evangelist said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's massive stroke was divine punishment for Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, an official said Wednesday, placing a USD 50 million deal with the Christian leader in doubt.

Robertson, a Christian broadcaster, is leading a group of evangelicals who have collected money to build a Christian Heritage Center in Israel's northern Galilee region, where tradition says Jesus lived and taught.

Israel was to provide the land and infrastructure for the project, saying it would bring millions of tourism dollars into the country. But the project now is in doubt in light of Robertson's comments, said Ido Hartuv, spokesman for Tourism Minister Avraham Hirschson.

Adam L Silverman

Revered Hagee's, and others who fall within the borders of what is referred to as Christian Zionism, are essentially in a relationship with Israel that is somewhere between symbiotic and parasitic. While, as Professor Kiracofe has both referenced and documented, this is not a particularly new phenomenon, what is going on today is a new version. Its roots lie not in the reemergence of American Evangelicals (using this to encompass evangelicals, charismatics, and fundamentalist Christians), but rather in their massive shift rightward in the late 1970s. It is important to remember that when American Evangelicals politically went to sleep between WWI and WWII they had been a force on the American left; Reverend Bryant's movement for instance. That's not to say they were all on the political left, a great deal of extreme, nativist rightist behavior was fueled by certain strains of Evangelicalism, and mainline Protestantism, as well.

Several things have changed this time around. First among them is the social, political, and economic lurch to the right of the political spectrum by many of the movements biggest leaders and institutions. Accompanying these changes was the adoption of different understandings of the end times, as best evidenced by the redevelopment of the rapture concept and premillennial tribulation (the saved, ie the born again, are bodily assumed into heaven, followed by the advent and accession of the anti-Christ and the great fight between good an evil that ultimately results in the 1,000 year reign of Christ on Earth). As the normal interpretation for these events to occur requires that the Jews return to their ancestral homeland (the ingathering of the Jews), it is not particularly surprising to see this new version of Christian Zionism develop. Moreover, while Christians, of all types, attempting to parse scripture to make sense of End Time prophesy is nothing new, it is possible to track very negative variants to times of great social change or stress and the versions that Christian Zionists generally push forward are of this variety.

The big missing piece in all this, one that you will almost never find any Christian Zionist explicate before a Jewish or Israeli audience, or find Jews who think this type of support is wonderful say, is that this dogmatic interpretation of the Christian end times does NOT end well for the Jews at all. In fact the Jews are basically disposable props in the whole production. When the Rapture occurs, just prior to the anti-Christ's ascension to power, the "good" Jews will become born again, convert to Christianity, and be saved! The remainder of the Jews, in other words the Jews who are Jews, will be destroyed, along with Israel, in the end time battles that precede the millennial reign of Christ on Earth. When I've explained this to some Jews they are truly shocked, largely because they don't know very much about Evangelical Christianity (or any type of Christianity), which shouldn't be surprising as most people know very little about their own faiths, let alone other people's. Other Jews know full well and you get the wink and the nod that indicates that they're just playing the silly Christians as patsies for support. My take on the Netanyahu types is that they're the latter, the Lieberman types are the former (they're none too bright!).

The real problem, however, is that for the actual end times to happen, for this war between good and evil that will bring Christ back to Earth, you have to have actual wars and conflict. Any perusal of a Christian bookstore or the Christian/religion section of a regular bookstore, will find numerous books written on these topics. A lot are fictional novels, like the Left Behind Series. Others are treatises that attempt to rigorously explain what is happening, but there is no doubt that American Evangelicalism is awash in End Times prophesies and concepts. Moreover, searches of google, lexus-nexus or just youtube will provide numerous broadcasts on Christian TV and Radio networks, as well as sermons that deal with the End Time prophesies playing out in real time. Just watch Reverend Robertson's broadcasts or Reverend Hagee's or listen to Dr. Dobson's for a week and I guarantee you'll hear something to this effect. Essentially, Christian Zionism boils down to a desire to see violence, war, death, and destruction come as soon as possible so that the saved can be SAVED and the Second Coming will happen. Given what we know about attempts to capture various levels of government in the US (if you haven't already, you should check out the TX school board standard's fight that is going on right now) to promote specific religious agendas, as well as the prominence of "faith", or rather certain types of it, in American politics, then one should be concerned about the tail wagging the dog here. I'm sure that the Israeli leadership is smart enough to know that Reverend Hagee and others who share his beliefs really don't care about the long term health of Israel or the Jews, but think they can manipulate this phenomenon to their own advantage. The problem will be if that has to be put to the test, because the one thing that every single one of these Rapture novels have in common over the past 20 years of their emergence into the Christian literature scene is that the anti-Christ is from Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, or is just some nebulous Muslim from the Middle East or Central Asia. Saddam Hussein fit that bill in many people's End Time's fantasies. Now its Ahmedinijad. In a few years it could be a Saudi prince or a Pakistani president! The names always change, and the prophesied dates of when things will actually happen get missed and reset (this has been going on in the US since Reverend Miller predicted the first Rapture back in the 1830s in the burned over district of upstate NY), but for over 20 years the villain is a Muslim leader, Israel is essential as it gathers the Jews in one place for them to be destroyed in the final battle, and then Christ returns for a glorious 1,000 year Jew and Muslim (and presumably Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Atheist, Agnostic, and anyone I left out) free reign of peace and prosperity.

walrus

By coincidence I've just found Glen Becks latest pronunciamento on th ecoming battle between good and evil:

" BECK: [A] global economic holocaust is coming. I don’t know when it’s coming, but it is coming. And I was in this meeting and I pulled one of the guys out, he’s a vice president of Fox. And I said, “When I first started working with you — let’s have a frank conversation here — you thought I was nuts.” And he smiled and he said, “No, I would say I just thought you were on the cutting edge.” And I said, “okay, alright, sure.” I said, “Now?” He said, “Glenn, everything you’re talking about is coming. Everything you’re talking about — everything you’ve been talking about for the last year and a half. It’s all here now. And what you’re saying is coming, I don’t see any other way.” [...]

Now the question is, where do we go from here? … And he said to me, he said, “Glenn, the answer is, you’ve been saying it for a while,” he said, “but we have to convince the audience that this is really truly true. You are the key. You must be able to reach to your friends and your neighbors, you must, must, must, bring one person to the table.”"

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/03/11/fox-exec-beck-key/#comments

Clifford Kiracofe

Charles I,
thanks for the kind words.

I can recommend a recent book by a British writer:
Victoria Clark, Allies for Armageddon. The Rise of Christian Zionism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007).

Also, all the books by the late Grace Halsell are excellent. For example, her "Prophecy and Politics. Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War (Westport, Conn: Hill, 1986).

I met Grace in the early 1980s and she was a great inspiration.


Walrus,
IMO, yes as constituting a threat to our Constitutional order, internal security, and foreign policy.

Some of their elements seek to supplant our present Constitutional order with the direct rule of members of their cult under the doctrine of "dominionism." See, for example Wiki entry for "Dominionism" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominionism

All

My sense is that the Israeli assessment of the Christian Zionist influence in the United States is accurate. The voting patterns in Congress and the White House foreign policy indicate the effectiveness of the overall Zionist Lobby both Jewish and Christian.

As I pointed out, the international Zionist movement has been lobbying the White House and Congress DIRECTLY SINCE 1891...so let's be clear on this point. SINCE 1891 to repeat.

For a serious and penetrating analysis Administration by Administration see the excellent book by my friend Kathleen Christison, Perceptions of Palestine. Their influence on US Foreign Policy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000). This is an essential book.

euclidcreek

"Liberal Protestant churches pose growing threat to Israel" headlined an article in the Jerusalem Post 2/21/10. Some theologians "are seeking to destroy Israel from above.." said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Weisenthal Center in Los Angeles. Newseek in 2007 named Rabbi Cooper as one of the most influential Rabbis in the US.

BillWade, Nh

I think it's been bandied about that Presiden Obama is the anti-Christ, Muslim name and all. A Jewish friend of mine in St Pete had converted to some sort of Christian faith, I thought that was kinda weird but people convert to other religions all the time. He always had Paul Harvey on the radio, never heard any holy-roller stuff but I never spent anytime with him in the evening. I get a lot of good news articles from the RaptureReady web site but don't look at the other stuff. Why do some people need an agenda for us religiously - never makes sense to me.

Clifford Kiracofe

1. As for Hillary,

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be the keynote speaker at this month's annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, The Cable has confirmed.

Clinton will speak on the morning of Monday, March 22, the second day of a conference that will bring together a star-studded roster of American, British, and Israeli leaders in downtown Washington, D.C. Monday is shaping up to be the biggest day of the three-day event, with opposition leader Tzipi Livni giving the next major speech after Clinton and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak Monday night.

A host of U.S. lawmakers will also convene on the conference Monday, including U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., as well as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-MD, and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-VA.

Retiring Indiana Senator Evan Bayh will speak to the group Sunday, March 21, as will Israel's Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren and the head of Google Israel Meir Brand. An interesting roundtable that day will feature the Foreign Policy Initiative's Bob Kagan, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Robert Satloff, and former Bush administration spokesman/soon-to-be Senate candidate Dan Senor.

Tuesday morning, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will address the conference, just before the thousands of participants flood the halls of Capitol Hill, making their annual pilgrimage to lobby for strengthened sanctions against Iran and in support of robust foreign aid. The plan is to emphasize the group's support for proximity talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, "provided they lead to direct negotiations," our insider said.

One conference speaker who isn't as famous but should make for a lively discussion is Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, who has disputed that Israel committed any war crimes during 2008 and 2009 operations in Gaza.

"I don't think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza," Kemp told the BBC in this video." http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/

2. Is Kemp is a Christian Zionist from the UK side of the pond? Which of course raises the broader question of how penetrated the UK and US and Canadian military forces are by Christian Zionists at the officer level.

3. Vast numbers of Congressmen and Senators will be dutifully present at the AIPAC conference as usual.

Keep an eye on Congress just before and after the AIPAC meeting to see what resolutions, legislation, speeches and etc. are made in the pro-Israel mode. Normally a high level of enthusiasm coupled with hysteria emanates from the delusional (and bought) "legislators". No doubt many fulminations and support for war against Iran...preparing the political and propaganda ground for an Israeli strike? An Israeli-American strike?

4. To monitor Hagee, just go to his website for CUFI ("Christians United for Israel"):
http://www.cufi.org/site/PageServer

5. As I indicated earlier, Christian Zionism through Darby came to the US (and Canada) during the period 1859-1872. The movement was in the forefront of the "conservative" attack on the Liberal Social Gospel movement of the latter 19th century.

By World War I, the Fundamentalists formed a very tightly organized bloc. It is a myth that they went to sleep after the Scopes Trial. They merely went more underground but also rapidly moved forward developing a nationwide complex of organizations including seminaries, colleges, bible schools, radio programs, and the like. The Fundamentalists were on the extreme Right of the spectrum and formed an important base for "anti-Communist" crusades in the post WWII/Cold War Era.

I would also point out that the movement was sophisticated in separating into a hard right militant bloc under Carl McIntire's leadership and a "respectable Evangelical" bloc under Billy Graham. Same basic theology and objectives with different public styles and public relations projection. I go through all this in my book.

6. I would point out that Herzl was educated as to the actual map of the Holy Land and what the Zionists should go for by the British Chaplain of the British Embassy at Vienna. The Chaplain, of course, was a Christian Zionist under official sanction it would appear.

Chicagoan

Israelis and their American supporters presume too much when they start in on the purportedly anti-Semitic nature of liberal Protestant churches. 36 million Americans belong to mainline denominations, around three times as many people as there are Jews in the world. So far as a vocal minority is able to influence American policy on the Middle East largely because no one else much cares about it, the likes of Rabbi Cooper would be wise to do what they can to keep it that way rather than insulting a large group of people who if they weren't indifferent to this issue could easily assume influence of their own.

Paul Escobar


Thank you for that incredible post Dr. Silverman.

Even though it's only a summary, the depth & implications of your piece are staggering.

I had no idea...

Matthew

After getting his face slapped, VP Biden still said "America had no better friend than Israel." It's one thing for Mr. Biden to lack self-respect, it's another for him to imply America has none. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8563569.stm

Patrick Lang

Chicagoan

You mentioned that you are LDS. Comparative religion is one of my interests. Do you consider the LDS church to be Christian? I ask that because it seems to me that the LDS theology is neither monotheistic. nor trinitarian. pl

Chicagoan

Col.,

I phrased that badly and just meant that as Beck is a Mormon he should be especially sensitive to questions of pluralism. I'm an Episcopalian and don't consider Mormons Christians.

Adam L Silverman

Here's a link to a good report on the Texas Board of Education's textbook revisions and why it effects everyone in the US:http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2010/1001.blake.html

Patrick Lang

Chicagoan

Interestingly, the Muslims share your opinion. pl

Lysander

Mormons seem to share the Christian Zionists' passion for Israel. They are not large in number, but they are well organized and have plenty of money. Especially the LDS Church as it collects a tithe from most members.

None of that, I hope, will be taken as offense against Mormons. If my impression is wrong, I'd love to be corrected.

Patrick Lang

Lysander

I seem to remember that you are one of the Yurowpeens?

Whoever you are, I would remind you that there are a huge number of Americans for who religion is about salvation rather than politics. pl

Jose

Excellent posts, but this is beyond me.

I will try to pick a book or two to get caught up on the subject matter, but the Spanish Empire also had a politically active religious problem.

Adam L Silverman

More on the Texas Board of Ed stuff:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13texas.html?hp

Jackie

Jose,
Are you referencing the "Spanish Inquisition"? That would be a politically active religious problem.

Sir,
It has been an interesting week to watch the US-Israeli relationship. I hate to tell Joe the Gardener, but when he was talking about our closeness to Israel, he wasn't speaking for me.

Patrick Lang

Jackie
The Inquisition was concerned with heretics, and lapsed converted Jews and Muslims.

How was that political? pl

Clifford Kiracofe

Just so we have some basic ball park data I would recommend perusal of the Pew "US Religious Landscape Study" for rough statistics:
http://religions.pewforum.org/reports

Some specialists estimate that of the "Evangelical" category about 1/3 of today's self-described "Evangelicals" are moderate to liberal while about 2/3 fall into the conservative/Fundamentalist camp.

Thus, if we take the Pew numbers for about 24 percent "Evangelical" about 16 percent would be in the conservative/Fundamentalistcamp.

One significant indicator for the hard-core Christian Zionist Fundamentalists is the adoption of "Dispensationalist"/Armageddonist ideology which I have noted earlier.

Followers of Hagee, the late Jerry Falwell etc. are in this camp.

It is the eschatology which is the main indicator to watch carefully. The Christian Zionists have the Armageddon/"End Times"/Apocalytic ideology. They want to HASTEN the arrival of the (nuclear) Battle of Armageddon so as to be able to hasten the "Rapture" (bodily lifting to Heaven) of their elect number.

According to some of these types, all Jews except 144,000 who will have converted to Christianity will be destroyed. Also, all Christians not belonging to their cult (mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Eastern Rite) will also be destroyed. Only the cult members will be saved and they will bodily ascend as individuals to Heaven.

The issue of the bodily ascension to Heaven is debated among cult members. Some say it will happen BEFORE the Apocalypse while others argue that it will occur at some point DURING the Apocalypse.

In the final End Times scenario which you can read in Hagee's books or in other similar cult material, we find that the alignment of evil forces includes: Russia, China, and the Muslim world ("Medo-Persians" in particular). This alignment is today the same one that the Christian Zionist founders back in the 1830s pointed to. With a little updating, the "Antichrist" character in Hagee etals End Times Scenario today is presently said to be a future Head of the European Union when the scenario enters its final phase. The European Union is associated with an Apocalytic Beast and so on.

All this mumbo jumbo is presented in contemporary Christian Zionist novels such as the Hal Lidsay stuff and the Tim LaHaye stuff. I think somewhere around 60 million Americans have purchased some of these best sellers.

Armageddon cultists also have their own movies to enliven their subculture. Take for example "The Omega Code" available on DVD. (my copy was $3.99) It is a suspense thriller based on Christian Zionist ideology. Check it out...

In the last few decades, "mainline" Protestant churches have been losing members while the Fundamentalists have been picking up members. The Pentecostals and various "Charismatics" are particularly fast growing of late. Hagee is a "Neo-Pentecostal," Sarah Palin is a Pentecostal etc.

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