The major internal conflict for the strangest
alliance in history is about what will happen to Jews who don't convert to evangelical
Christianity. The Armageddonites,
those 30 million Americans who happily see Mideast chaos as hastening their
one-way trip to paradise, are being increasingly questioned about the fate of
Jews whom they urge to help fulfill the prophecies.
Once their death wish agenda is realized, the end-of-the-worlders believe that
Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims (of course), other Christians (apparently including
Catholics and Orthodox), and all the rest of humanity will be killed. But the
born-again will be "raptured" to Heaven. (See "The
Brutal Christ of the Armageddonites.")
Now some enterprising Texans have "resolved" the big question. The
Jews God kills will go to a parallel heaven, "their" kind of heaven, to enjoy
eternity alongside the good Christians. The Jewish heaven will presumably be
what "they" would like, perhaps different from the evangelical heaven, where
there will be "no booze, no bars, and no need to mow the grass on one's lawn,"
according to a popular Gaither Singers song. (The fact that the Jewish faith
has no afterlife at all similar to the Christian one is irrelevant, nor do the
faithful Texans probably even know it.) It is called the "dual
covenant theory" – the belief that Jews and Christians have separate deals
with God. However, Muslims, Hindus, and others have no deal.
Street Journal piece described the dual covenant theory in an article
about a Christian Zionist meeting in Washington two weeks ago. In particular
it reported on Rev. John Hagee, who founded Christians United for Israel and
organized the event. Now, Jerry Falwell and other evangelicals who once opposed
the thesis have joined the Hagee group board of directors. They urge no peace
concessions by Israel and, now, war with Iran.
The 3,500 delegates held a major rally in Washington attended by, among others,
Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), Senators Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) and Rick Santorum
(R-Penn.), Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman, Israel's ambassador
to the U.S., and other leading Zionists. As the Journal reports, "They
see, and even sometimes seem to embrace, the notion of a global conflict between
Islam and the Judeo-Christian West, just as do many zealous Muslims." (Protesters
outside the meeting were led by Carol Moore, who long ago first brought media
attention to the Waco and Weaver travesties.)
Interestingly, polls indicate that most Americans are nowhere near as
pro-Israel as their elected representatives. Recent
show strong majorities of Americans do not want the U.S. to intervene on Israel's
behalf in its current military campaign.
There are many other strange facets to the Zionist-Evangelical alliance:
God needs Jews to gather in Israel for the fulfillment of His plans. To
further this, the Christian Zionists collect money (from churchgoers and on
TV programs) to pay for primarily Russian Jews to emigrate to Israel, because
God can't end the world until most Jews have returned to the holy land. However,
American Jews apparently can stay in America without hindering His agenda.
The great advantage of being "raptured" is that there is no Judgment Day.
Everybody who is "born again" automatically goes to Heaven, their sins all
forgiven, and no good works are necessary. But it must happen soon. If John
Hagee, Jerry Falwell, or Pat Robertson should die before Armageddon happens,
then God will handle their souls the ordinary way.
God loves the Jews, according to fundamentalist theology, but not if they
work for peace. Pat Robertson explained that murdered Israeli leader Yitzhak
Rabin was killed because he got in the way of God's plans for continued war.
Robertson also blamed Ariel Sharon's recent
stroke on his withdrawal from Gaza. Similarly, according to the Wall
Street Journal, Hagee said that "calls for Israel to show restraint violate
'God's foreign policy statement' toward Jews." In May, 2003 Hagee and other
evangelical leaders sent a letter to President Bush applauding the invasion
of Iraq but complaining about the Israel-Palestine peace plan. They said it
would be "morally reprehensible" for the U.S. to be "evenhanded."
Hardly any leader of the Christian Right publicly opposes the torture of
prisoners of war (with the notable exception of Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship).
Perhaps predictably, many fundamentalists are passionate supporters of John
Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, noted for symbolizing all
that the rest of the world dislikes about America. Just war, rule of law,
the Geneva Convention, charity to one's enemies – such concepts are all anathema
to these Christians who long for the end of the world.
Millions of Arab Christians are certainly not loved by the God of the Armageddonites.
In fact, Arab Christians don't seem to exist. Pat Robertson's 700 Club,
for instance, refused
to show a segment about Christian Arabs. Jerry Falwell's tours of Israel
purposely avoided them, according
to Grace Halsell, who traveled with Falwell's group and wrote a book about
it. Robert Novak has written about the plight
of Christians under Israeli rule and how almost no representative in Congress
dares to speak up for them, except for Henry Hyde, who is retiring. The self-proclaimed
"Christian" columnists and commentators on Fox News and the Washington
Times op-ed page remain silent.
The White House has
explained the nuances of God's plans to Armageddonites before. Last year,
it sponsored a meeting with leading fundamentalist preachers to explain that
Gaza was not part of the historical Judea
and Samaria. Therefore, its spokesman argued, Israel's withdrawal of settlements
would not interfere with God's plan to end the world.
It is a bit weird that we begin the 21st century
with American foreign policy being made by religious fundamentalists who mirror
some of their Muslim brethren in their hatred. And now they want to attack Iran,
whatever the consequences for the world's oil supplies through the Straits of
Hormuz. Never mind all the wisdom and experience, books and lectures of America's
foreign policy establishment: State Department and CIA experts overseas, analysts
at think tanks, the most brilliant thinkers in the nation might as well be whistling
in the dark. George Bush has been asked if he believes that we are in the "end
times." He refused to answer. He has said that God tells him what policies to
pursue, presumably those now inflaming the Muslim world. Catholics and most
other Christians, incidentally, do not believe the Armageddonites' scenario.
Others believe God's prophecies already occurred in Biblical times.
And the preachers? Just in case the world does not end soon, Rev.Hagee has
set aside several million dollars in trusts, money earned from his prophecies
and preaching. The San
Antonio Express News reported on the IRS filings of his Global
Evangelism Television network. After their report, Hagee re-registered the fundraising
network as a church, which does not need to show its IRS filings.