"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

End Times and Christian Zionism

End Times and Christian Zionism
The Religious Right has abandoned its traditional anti-Semitism. Many noted that beginning in the late 1970s, the State of Israel had done a great deal to court the Christian Right. About half of American Christians at that time believed that the battle of Armageddon was in the not too distant future and that the establishment of a greater Israel was a precondition for this event. In 1978, the Begin government even made a private jet available to Jerry Falwell so that he could spread his political message.

Many conservative Christians adhere to a dispensational worldview that promises an early end to the world, rewards for the saved, and terrible suffering and punishment for others. Nineteenth Century preachers who strung together in unique manner Biblical passages to support their particular view of the future crafted this view. It included the view that the Jews must recover Israel before the end times can commence. The second coming of Christ will not occur at that time. They teach that Jews will reconquer all of the Holy Land and all non-Jews will leave. Then the anti-Christ will conquer the area, prior to the triumph of the returning Messiah in the Battle of Armageddon. Before the battle, believers will be lifted without clothing in rapture to sit next to God the Father and watch as others suffer It is possible that the foreign policy of the Christian Right for the Middle East is guided by a desire to hasten the End Times. The Evangelicals rarely tell their Jewish political allies that most Jews must become Christians before the battle and that those who do not will burn to death.

Kevin Phillips has estimated that 55% of the Republican base believes in the nearness of the rapture and Armageddon. Given this belief, they are unlikely to be concerned by reckless policies that hasten massive disorder in the Middle East. Similarly, they are unlikely to worry about the consequences of unwise environmental policy or the results of huge deficits and excessive spending. “Because when Christ comes back, they are going into a whole new ball game.”

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Timothy LaHaye’s Left-Behind series of twelve books on these events sold millions of copies and were on the best seller list. These volumes laid out the dispensationalist view of end times and reinforce the promise that Christ will take believers off the earth in rapture before the final struggle between good and evil. Many Evangelicals are also Christian Zionists because a healthy state of Israel is necessary for the unfolding of End Times. Some of them have founded the International Christian Embassy-Jerusalem to spread their views in 1980. Most evangelical Christians are dispensationalists who believe that Israel must reconstruct a state before end times can begin. For that reason, they become Christian Zionists. Some call them the “Armageddon lobby,” because they promote a foreign policy that includes the complete Israeli annexation of the West Bank, designed to touch off the final battle between good and evil. Before the Messiah returns, an extremely charismatic anti-Christ must emerge who will challenge the Jewish state. In this time of tribulations, 144,000 Jews will become evangelical Christians and will eventually be raptured along with the rest of God’s elite.

When Congressman Jim Moran resisted the invasion of Iraq and complained of excessive Israeli influence on US policy, the outcry from the Evangelicals was important in forcing him to resign as regional Democratic whip. In the same year, 2003, President Bush complained about Israeli assassinations of Palestinian leaders, but he was forced by the Christian Zionists to reverse his position.

Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, established in 1977, and other Christian Right organizations contribute to ICEJ. The Christian Right believes that there should not be a Palestinian State because that would interfere with the Second Coming, a position that made them allies of the most militant elements in Israel .John Hagee, pastor of the San Antonio Church of the Cornerstone, is a major Christian Zionist leader and hosts an annual event honoring Israel. In 2006, he called for the bombing of Iranian nuclear facilities by the US or Israel. An observer at his annual event honoring Israel said:” I’ve never been in any place that called itself a Christian setting where there was such hatred.” Christian Zionists profess love for Jews and occasionally hatred for Muslims, but a recently released tape of a conversation between Richard M. Nixon and Reverend Billy Graham suggests that some suspicion of Jews remains. Graham complained to Nixon about Jewish control of the media and said, “ This stronghold has to be broken or this country’s going down the drain.” He added that if Nixon won a second term, “then we might be able to do something” about it.

Robertson retained influence until the turn of the century, when some of his comments struck many as being somewhat over the top. Nevertheless, he still was able to influence millions. Along the way, he entered some very questionable business relationships. He was involved in the African diamond trade, and was a business partner of brutal Liberian dictator Charles Taylor. The charismatic broadcaster has set aside a $2 billion endowment to carry his ministry when it passes to his son Gordon. Robertson operates a large university and law school, which has placed 150 law graduates in the administration of George W. Bush. The school’s name, Regent University, reflects his theocratic philosophy in that “a regent is one who governs in the absence of sovereign “ Robertson’s father was Senator Absalom Willis Robertson, mentor of Senator Prescott Bush. Rev erend Robertson considers himself primarily a businessman rather than a televangelist, and the policies he advocates never conflict with the economic interests of his class.

In 2002, Christian Zionists thought Saddam Hussein clearly posed a major threat to Israel, and his alleged weapons of mass destruction could someday be deployed against the Jewish state. George W. Bush’s plan to invade Iraq appealed to conservative Christians who were firm supporters of Israel because they thought that the world’s last war would begin in the Holy Land. That terrible war, they were certain, would be preceded by the rapture, in which God would shield them from harm by lifting them out of this earth. Reverend Jerry Falwell appeared on “Sixty Minutes” to say that he was sure “Muhammad was a terrorist.” On October 11, the Christian Coalition held Christian Solidarity with Israel on the Washington Mall. Featured participants were Donna Rich Hughes (once Gary Hart’s illicit girlfriend, Falwell, Tom DeLay, Pat Robertson, Oliver North, and Jesse Helms. The event’s planners planned to pray for success against abortion, pornography, drugs, and “other manifestations of moral decline.”

Sherman has written African American Baseball: A brief History, which can be acquired from LuLu Publishing on line.http://www.lulu.com/browse/search.php?search_forum

No comments:

Blog Archive

About Me

Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!