• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

    Previously at:
    blogs.salon.com/0003494
    barthsnotes.wordpress.com

    Email me
    (Non-commercial only)

  • Archives

  • Twitter

  • Supporting

  • Recent comments

McCain and Gingrich Court Apocalyptic Christian Zionist

Hagee: “the sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened”

There was a time when a man who rails against “international bankers” and the “Illuminati” and who cites the design of the $1 bill as evidence of an occult-Masonic “New World Order” conspiracy would have been seen as something of a crank. But not any more, apparently, if the success of John Hagee is anything to go by. Hagee’s Christian United for Israel, which I previously blogged here, recently held its second annual conference in Washington. The Jerusalem Post reports on some of the speakers:

Earlier in the day, declared Republican candidate John McCain, an Arizona Senator, made a surprise appearance at the conference. He spoke about what he dubbed perhaps the “greatest evil” that the US and Israel have ever faced – radical Islam.

The senator spoke unequivocally about the need to “confront Iran” to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons…McCain called the current conflict a “vast ideological struggle” against “everything we stand for and believe in,” and stressed the need to ensure Israel’s safety as the only democracy in the Middle East, questioning that “if we fail in Israel, where will we succeed?”

Also present:

Potential Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich blasted the Bush administration Tuesday for its policy on the Palestinians before a crowd of Christian supporters of Israel.

“If George W. Bush wanted to send a signal to Hamas tomorrow morning, he could move the embassy to Jerusalem tomorrow…We are in greater danger than you can imagine. We lie to ourselves. We have suffered in the West an enormous defeat in Gaza. We have suffered a significant defeat in South Lebanon, and we lie about it. We don’t have a peace process. We have a surrender process,”

YNet notes Gary Bauer’s contribution:

Gary Bauer, who ran for the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States in 2000, also spoke at the rally, saying, “You are Ahmadinejad, Hamas, and Hizbullah’s worst nightmare, because you support Israel. They are telling you to give back land. We are telling you, don’t give back one inch.”

Bauer’s call – an implicit attack on Israeli moderates – was echoed by Frank Gaffney:

…it is “the height of folly,” he said, for the U.S. to pressure Israel into making painful concessions with its Muslim neighbors. He encouraged his listeners to convey that message to their legislators as strongly as possible.

“We must not encourage, let alone insist upon, Israel’s surrender of still more territory to the Islamofascists [who are] determined to destroy her and us!” he emphasized.

Hagee himself appears to revel in his new-found power and status, exulting that

“the sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened”

The Jewish Week adds:

Pastor John Hagee, the fiery megachurch pastor and CUFI founder, insisted the group was not lobbying against the new administration Mideast initiative.

But he also called efforts to bolster Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “appeasement,” and said his group will support Israeli policy “as long as it does not violate biblical principles.”

Also:

The evening session also included greetings from President Bush and a benediction by Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, a San Antonio Orthodox leader who has been close to Hagee, thanking God for “giving the world community a spiritual leader of the nobility, courage and wisdom of Pastor John Hagee, who personifies God’s living words.”

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, appearing by video, told the group that Christian Zionists laid the foundation for Jewish ones.

Scheinberg had a moment of fame a year ago, when he was quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying that Jerry Falwell had told him that he no longer believed in the need for Jews “to go through Christ or the Cross to get to heaven.” Falwell denied both the story and any knowledge of Scheinberg, and Scheinberg later in turn denied the report. As I blogged at the time, it was a curious and clumsy attempt to force Falwell into denying his belief in Christian exclusivity, for the purposes of oiling the Christian Zionist-Israel alliance.

McCain and Gingrich have been linked to Hagee for some time – a year ago they both appeared on TV to discuss current events as “World War III”; right-wing MK Benny Elon stated that they had got the talking-point from one of Hagee’s books. But just how influential is the pastor? Jeff Sharlet offers some clues in the latest New Statesman, in a review of Nicholas Guyatt’s Have a Nice Doomsday:

Guyatt’s strongest chapters deal with Hagee, who “looks like a tubby Donald Rumsfeld” and “sounds a lot like a macaw”. That’s funny, but Hagee isn’t: US politicians court his approval and the huge amounts of money that his Christians United for Israel can channel their way. In return, they parrot his prophecies, cleansed of the references that would reveal them as such – Hagee’s conviction that the US may have to attack Iran as part of a scheme foretold in the Book of Ezekiel is sanitised as ostensibly sober-minded policy advice based on the needs of the nation rather than the scripture. Hagee, in turn, is invited on to CNN and Fox as a “Middle East expert” to advocate that very policy. Which is all the more disturbing when one considers that apocalypse preachers such as Hagee have a rather ambivalent relationship to America’s welfare. For their predictions to be proven correct, the US will have to suffer a great deal more – a prospect they relish.

And to add an extra dimension to the information loop, Hagee claims that he receives briefings from “top Israeli government officials”, who have told him about “a nuclear showdown between Iran and Israel”.

The unsanitised Hagee, meanwhile, is revealed here – the words are his, although I suspect the images and music were added by someone else:

(Hat tips: Christianity Today Weblog; Max Blumenthal for the Hagee video)

6 Responses

  1. […] at CUFI Posted on July 27, 2007 by Richard Bartholomew Max Blumenthal reports from the recent Christians United for Israel (CUFI) conference: see […]

  2. […] First, from the high-profile 17 July Night to Honor Israel, in Washington D.C. (which I blogged on here): Yerushalayim, in Yerushalayim there is a hill, where Abraham offered Isaac, Moriah, the Temple […]

  3. […] and such. He’s right to feel let down, though – at the CUFI conference in July (blogged here and here), founder Pastor John Hagee revelled as he read out a letter of support from Bush: […]

  4. […] readers of websites like Frontpage. Here’s her most famous rumination, delivered at the 2007 CUFI (Christians United for Israel) conference, hosted by “New World Order” […]

  5. […] is no surprise; as I blogged at the time, McCain took part in Hagee’s virulent Christians United For Israel conference in July, which also […]

  6. […] Hagee has made alliances with a range of conservative figures in both the USA and Israel. Last June I blogged on a CUFI “Night to Honor Israel”; alongside McCain, participants included Newt […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.