Thursday, July 27, 2006

Christian Fundamentalists, Bush and the Support of Israel.

It is well know that American Christian Fundamentalists and a great part of evangelicals have been among the most ardent supporters of U.S. policies for Israel. This is not some conspiracy theory, it is a fact and the situation today offers a good illustration of this
Here's what Wall Street Journal posted today (via Kevin Drum) :

Last week, as Israel's armed forces pounded Lebanon and worries of a wider conflagration mounted, Mr. Hagee presided over what he called a "miracle of God": a gathering of 3,500 evangelical Christians packed into a Washington hotel to cheer Israel and its current military campaign.

....President Bush sent a message to the gathering praising Mr. Hagee and his supporters for "spreading the hope of God's love and the universal gift of freedom." The Israeli prime minister also sent words of thanks. Israel's ambassador, its former military chief and a host of U.S. political heavyweights, mostly Republican, attended.

Mr Hagee's views are in line with the Dispensation Premillennialist theology about the end of times which claims that the Jews are a distinct people, irrevocably entitled to the promises of God and that they will undergo trials (Great Tribulation) until they finally recognize Jesus as their promised Messiah.
That's the interesting part - they really don't care about the Jews. They only support Israel because they think that those trials are part of God's plan:
When addressing Jewish audiences, Mr. Hagee generally avoids talking about Armageddon. But his books, whose titles include "Beginning of the End" and "From Daniel to Doomsday," are filled with death and mayhem. "The battlefield will cover the nation of Israel!" he writes in "Jerusalem Countdown," his recent work, describing a "sea of human blood drained from the veins of those who have followed Satan."
They also interpret biblical prophecies and believe that Antichrist will appear to the world as a peacemaker which means they reject the idea of a lasting peace in the Middle-East.
The scary part is that they have had some great influence in the Republican party in the last few decades, and the worst is probably that the president of the U.S. sent a message to the gathering praising Mr. Hagee and his supporters for "spreading the hope of God's love and the universal gift of freedom."
This should scandalize people and make them demand for the president to get his act together!

PS: Watching FoxNews so onesided in their coverage of the Middle-East crisi is sickening. Thank God for NBCNews which has done some remarkable job and for the BBC which is probably the best tv news provider.


At 19:12, Blogger DMcKeon said...

This is a very well informed post. You’ve basically hit the nail on the head in explaining why American Evangelicals support Israel. Most commentators who discuss Evangelical support of Israel almost completely overlook the fact that the support is almost entirely based on Dispensationalist theology. It's vital. You can’t understand the degree of support without understanding its underpinning in Dispensationalist theology. Kudos!

I'm personally “Reformed” in part because I have a major problem with the way Dispensationalists view the end times and Israel in particular. I’m not alone. There are very many American Evangelicals who do not support Israel carte-blanche in the same why. I should note that I personally DO support Israel but it’s rooted more in my political views and in the geo-politics of the Middle East rather than in my Christian faith.

At 22:56, Blogger Elvez73 said...

That is disturbing, I wonder if Bush is a true believer in all of that fundamentalist Armageddon crap, or if he merely panders to them for political advantage. Either way this is scary stuff. A chief executive who publically says he is god's chosen instrument is unprecedented and very frightening for those of us of a more moderate theological leaning.

At 17:23, Blogger Joker & Thief said...

Yes it is extremely disturbing. Either Bush's staff doesn't know who they were dealing with or Bush just agrees with those fundamentalist positions.
I also agree that Dispensationalist theology is an essential element to understand the Evangelical support of Israel. However, I think most people who support Israel because of what they hear their preacher say on Sunday have absolutely no clue of the dangerous side of such a theology. In fact, very often, the scary side of that theology is often played down so that people don't run away.
I agree though that many American Evangelicals do not support giving Israel carte-blanche.I think the only healthy way to look at the problem in the Middle East is precisely to look at it from geo-political perspective and certainly not from a dubious interpretation of prophecies. So even though I may disagree with your views, at least we can discuss the situation like two reasonable beings.


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