The Apocalypse Explains the Middle East: Movie Edition

There’s a new addition to the “post-rapture apocalyptic thriller” genre of Christian films, with a cinematic outing for Pastor John Hagee’s book Jerusalem Countdown:

The film is being made by 10 West Studios of Manistee, MI, in association with Christian film-makers Pure Flix Entertainment. Michigan Movie Magazine has some background:

10 West’s managing partners Matt Tailford and Harold Cronk both originated in the Midwest, and began their film careers in Hollywood. They moved back when the state’s film friendly legislation was enacted.

…Cronk said, “Pure Flix liked what they were getting for their dollar. They liked the services, locations and facilities that we could provide, making their lower budget films look like much, much more.” Consequently after What If, Pure Flix brought two more films to Manistee, John the Revelator and Jerusalem Countdown.

…Michael Scott partner and producer with Pure Flix gave a synopsis of Jerusalem Countdown. “It’s an action, adventure, political thriller. Two FBI agents learn about a plot where someone is trying to bring seven nuclear bombs in to destroy the USA, and we are using Manistee Michigan to double for Baltimore, Chicago, and Virginia. It’s a race against the clock to stop these bombs from coming in.”

Cronk is the film’s director; no script-writer is given, and it is difficult to judge to what extent the film will reflect Hagee’s “New World Order” conspiracy theories and his enthusiasm for war against Iran. I blogged on the book back in February 2006, following a report in Christian Retailer:

Texas pastor and author John Hagee has sounded the alarm in his new book on the gathering war against Israel, which he says will have worldwide ramifications.

With an initial printing of 250,000 for its Jan. 17 release, Jerusalem Countdown provides detailed information that Hagee has received from top Israeli government officials concerning a nuclear showdown between Iran and Israel.

…The world is “standing on the brink of a nuclear Armageddon,” Hagee wrote. “We are on a countdown to crisis. The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty…That war will affect every nation on earth, including America, and will affect every person on planet earth.”

The following July, Benny Elon MK boasted that comments by John McCain and Newt Gingrich warning that the war in Lebanon would lead to World War III had “originated with American evangelist John Hagee”. Of course, McCain’s uncomfortable pandering to Hagee ended tears in 2008, after Bruce Wilson dug out an audio sermon in which Hagee had opined that Hitler had been a hunter sent by God to persuade the Jews to move to Israel. McCain repudiated Hagee, although other conservatives rallied to his defence. Gingrich has continued with work with Hagee; Sarah Posner recently noted:

With events unfolding in the Middle East, Newt Gingrich’s planned visit to John Hagee’s San Antonio church offers a window into how Republican candidates re-tool apocalyptic theology as foreign policy, for mass consumption. The pair have long been fellow travelers; despite Hagee’s history of anti-Catholic statements and Gingrich’s recent conversion to Catholicism, they have both orbited the same nexus of neoconservative foreign policy and apocalyptic biblical prophecy for quite some time. Examples: same claims about new “Holocausts;” same claims about cosmic, civilizational wars.

Most recently, there’s been a remarkable synergy between both mens’ comments about the revolutions unfolding in the Middle East. For example, on February 7, 2011, at the height of the Egyptian uprising, Hagee wrote in his weekly update, “The American media, with the exception of FOX News, is presenting the Muslim Brotherhood as moderate and lovers of democracy. This is utter nonsense. This is the hysterical jabber of our State Department that once again has fumbled the ball in the Middle East.” He then predicted that a Muslim Brotherhood figure would emerge as leader of Egypt, and “will appear initially as a moderate and within a few weeks embrace Sharia which is the Islamic law that now governs Iran.” (Meanwhile here, Haroon Moghul had already explained — with facts! — why Egypt is not Iran.)

This apocalyptic take on the Middle East is complemented by Rumors of War II, a new documentary billed as “Presented by Glenn Beck”. Media Matters reports on the preview, which features

…a variety of talking heads saying things like, “It’s coming — Israel knows it, we know it”; proclamations that “all three major monotheistic religions believe increasingly that the signs of the last days are in motion and that we’re getting close to a very cataclysmic moment, or series of moments”; and onscreen text subtly hinting at “UNTHINKABLE EVENTS PREDICTED IN THE BIBLE”:

…You may recognize some of the talking heads that popped up in that preview. Wall Street Journal columnist and frequent Fox News guest Stephen Moore appears, and his presence here is somewhat perplexing (though Moore told Media Matters during an interview at CPAC that he was “good friends with Glenn” and that “next to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck is the most important conservative”).

Also offering his expertise was Joel Richardson. Richardson was a guest on Beck’s Fox News program in February, where he claimed, among other things, that Muslims want to receive “the Mark of the Beast.”

I’ve blogged extensively on Richardson, and I’ve had some congenial banter with the man himself. He told me that he regards Beck as “one of the most genuinely prophetic voices to have emerged in this nation in many years”. Hagee shares Richardson’s enthusiasm for Beck; he offered prayers at Beck’s “Divine Destiny” event the night before the “Restoring Honor” rally, and he is a member of Beck’s “Preachers and Pastors” panel (another member is Jim Garlow, who has done the most to spiritually launder Gingrich’s past).

UPDATE: The film comes with an explicitly anti-Muslim tagline: “The Movie Muslims Don’t Want You to See”: