Holocaust For Zion : CUFI's Christian Zionism Made Simple
Christian Zionism tells Jews: "The world is very, very hostile to the Jews. Antisemitism is everywhere. We Christian Zionists believe that Jews' proper home is in Israel, which we believe God has given to the Jews for perpetuity. We are 100% behind Israel." That is the message Pastor John Hagee, founder of the new "pro-Israel" lobbying group "Christians United For Israel" ( CUFI ) conveys to Israelis and American Jews. a statement on the home page of CUFI's website reads: "The Bible commands us 6to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), to speak out for Zion's sake (Isaiah 62:1) to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem (Isaiah 62:6) and to bless the Jewish people (Genesis 12:3). These and so many other verses of the Bible have one overriding message - as Christians we have a Biblical obligation to defend Israel and the Jewish people in their time of need.".
That is the sort of language Pastor John Hagee chooses to present as the public face of "Christians United For Israel". In spontaneous, perhaps somewhat less guarded moments, a different aspect of John Hagee emerges:
Russia with Arab allies will plot and plan Israel's destruction. That's happening right now. It has been happening for 10 years. Iran's nuclear weapons have been produced with Russian scientists. The Islamic Arabs are using the Roadmap to Peace to get all of the land of Israel they can get. And when Israel finally says, `Enough!' you're going to see the beginning of the implementation of Ezekial's war in 38:39. The critical point is the church is raptured before this war begins. I am telling you that makes this message one of the most thrilling prophetic messages you've ever heard in your life. You could get raptured out of this building before I get through finished preaching. We are that close to the coming of the Son of Man. - Pastor John Hagee, from a September 18, 2006 interview in WHYY's "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross
What John Hagee leaves out of his "thrilling" apocalyptic narrative, above ( also depicted in the lefthand image, almost as a poster advertising an especially thrilling and action packed war movie. The image is from the September-October 2006 edition of the church magazine put out by John Hagee Ministries ) is that he believes, subsequent to the "Rapture", that most Jews in Israel, who by definition are not a part of the ones who will get "raptured" to Heaven, will die in the conflict Hagee appears to be industriously lobbying to provoke. In his latest book at least, does not specify what percentage of world Jewry would be killed in the apocalyptic global conflict he has described as "thrilling", but he gives a general sense. In "Jerusalem Countdown", Pastor Hagee writes, in reference to passages from the Bibles Book Of Isaiah 10:22, 22:
"Who is this remnant [those who will survive] ?
Many Christian Premillenial Dispensationalists -- the theological persuasion Pastor John Hagee belongs to -- believe that the majority of the Jews currently living in Israel will be killed in the period of warfare that follows the "Rapture," when "believing" Christians ( fundamentalist Christians, that is ) are bodily transported up to safety in heaven. The standard interpretation is that 2/3 or more of Israeli Jews will be slaughtered during this period but that a righteous "remnant", who have realized the error of their ways and converted to Christianity, will survive what Christian Zionists often call the "final Holocaust" or the "second Holocaust." Writings and statements made by CUFI board members Jerry Falwell and George Morrison sum up such views:
Millions of Jews will be slaughtered at this time but a remnant will escape and God will supernaturally hide them for Himself for the last three and a half years of the Tribulation, some feel in the rose-red city of Petra. I don't know how, but God will keep them because the Jews and the Chosen People of God." ( CUFI Executive Board Member Jerry Falwell, in a December 2, 1984 sermon)
When talking to many Jews and Israelis, Hagee seems stress the need to protect Israel and promises his group's unwavering support for what Hagee calls God's historic covenant with Jews to whom, Hagee believes, God gave the historical lands of Israel for perpetuity.
When talking to the Christian Zionists of CUFI, however, Hagee speaks of other matters : the need for an apocalyptic war in the Mideast that will trigger the "Rapture" of fundamentalist Christians into Heaven but also kill, Hagee believes, most Jews now living. That "necessary" war ( necessary to trigger the "Rapture": of Christians, that is ) may even lead, Hagee speculates in "Jerusalem Countdown", to massive nuclear strikes that will destroy America's East and West coasts and kill hundreds of millions and which would amount to, Hagee feels, divine punishment visited, via ICBM, on liberal Americans for insufficient support for the sort of far right, even fringe, Israeli politics Hagee promotes.
"In my view, any theology that continues to deny the validity of Judaism and to fantasize about looking forward to the conversion or destruction of the Jews is one that should arouse a great deal of caution among Jews," argues Gershom Gorenberg, Jewish expert on the Christian End-Times beliefs
In a recent Charisma Magazine issue John Hagee, in a piece entitled "The Coming Holy War," wrote : "Israel and America must confront Iran's nuclear ability and willingness to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons."
On July 19, 2006, at a CUFI sponsored Washington DC event called "A Night to Honor Israel," with GOP Party head Ken Mehlman and US GOP Senators Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum, John Cornyn, and Kay Bailey-Hutchinson ( President George W. Bush sent recorded greetings to the event ) , Pastor John Hagee declared:
"The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West... a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation [...] and [the] Second Coming of Christ."
[7-4-2011 - update and correction: the text, above, is a misquote incorrectly attributed to John Hagee--who has publicly declared (CUFI Washington D.C. summit 2007) that "It is time for America to consider a military preemptive strike against Iran to prevent a nuclear holocaust in Israel and a nuclear attack in America" but has not directly stated that this will bring about the end-time scenario Hagee predicts. For an extended discussion of this misquote, see Christians United For Israel Lashes Out (Anatomy of a Misquote) For an extensive collection of sourced John Hagee quotes here at Talk To Action - see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
One key to Pastor John Hagee's outlook is this : it is profoundly legalistic and within its own terms highly consistent. Hagee excels at obfustication but he avoids lying. Take, for example, this promise early last year that Hagee's new lobbying group would not seek to evangelize Jews. Daystar, Hagee broadcasting company, announced in a press release last May :
Dallas, Tx. (MAY 2006) - Daystar Television Network announces its launch into the nation of Israel marking a momentous event in the history of Christianity! Marcus D. Lamb, president of Daystar Television Network, made the surprise announcement on Thursday, March 23rd on a "live" broadcast stating that they had just been granted a contract giving them rights to become the first TV Channel to broadcast 100% Christian programming into every home in Israel. Pastor John Hagee, President of Christians United For Israel, and a guest on the show when the announcement was made, stated: "This is like Christmas day. This is a phenomenal event. This is a massive announcement to the body of Christ."
The station launch provoked considerable controversy within Israel and in the American Jewish Community, which seemed to feel it had been deceived:
In a meeting with Jewish leaders last month, Hagee emphasized that his new lobbying group would not proselytize. But at a broadcast in late March in which Daystar's Israeli initiative was announced, Hagee, whose preaching is a fixture in the network's schedule, enthused, "It's just all I can do to keep from getting up and dancing. It's a joy and it's a dream come true. If we are able to preach the gospel without reservation ... it's a major breakthrough" [ from Jewish Week]
What the Jewish Week journalist who implied Hagee had violated his promise missed was this : Hagee had promised CUFI would not seek to convert Jews. So far, it has not, and Hagee has been true to the letter if not, perhaps, the spirit of his word.
In "Jerusalem Countdown" one can find echoes of many of the themes that been at the core of historical antisemitism. Hagee writes that Jews are "spiritually blind" - echoing the charge Jews are materialistic - and in an a September 18, 2006 WHYY "Fresh Air" interview with Terry Gross, Hagee seemed to blame Jews for the death of Jesus ( note :
Zechariah says in the 14th chapter `and when they, the Jewish people, see him whom they have pierced' -and the word pierced there actually refers to his rib and side-`when they see him whom they have pierced, they will weep as one weeps for his only son for a period of one week.
Blaming Jews for their persecution is in itself a form of antisemitism ; Hagee writes that the antisemitism and persecution Jews have suffered over thousands of years amounts to divine punishment for the Israelites' rebellion against God's will:
"disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, as is antisemitism... Their own rebellion [against God] had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come." ( Jerusalem Countdown, pages 92 and 93, paperback edition ).
Further, The Holocaust also served as a divine mechanism, suggests Hagee in his book, was part of a divine plan to force Jews to move to Israel, where most of them, Hagee thinks, will soon be killed in the apocalyptic war his lobbying group seems to be formed in part to encourage but where Hagee seems to feel they properly belong, as a necessary, magical human precondition that must be in place before the Rapture, that will grant Christians physical immortality in Heaven:
The Prophet Jeremiah... paints a vivid picture of the human agents God intended to use to bring the Jewish people back to Israel:
In Pastor John Hagee's personal lexicon, one of the synonyms for "love" seems to be "the genocidal murder of millions".
This is standard Christian Zionist theology - the reading is not John Hagee's personal invention. Such interpretations can be found going back many decades.
In essence, much of professed "love" for Jews, on the part of Christian Zionists, can be seen as quite utilitarian ; in their eschatological ( religious end-time ) scheme Jews are indispensible, the sine qua non. Nothing happens without them. Some elements here and there might be unnecessary, but Jews are the central actors which the entire 5 act Christian Zionist end-time play revolves around until, as Gershom Gorenberg has noted, they vanish in the fifth act. Most of them die, and a few survive as converts to Christianity. But Jews and Judaism, as such, get erased from the Earth for all time. The theological challenge posed by Judaism finally is vanquished and Christianity, triumphant, lays claim all of Judaic scripture.
So it ends for Jews, and Judaism.
In light of such beliefs, can such a man's professed, deep love for Jews be taken seriously ? Well, yes. It all depends of what one thinks love is. But, John Hagee's views are in essence scarcely different from the positions Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and others in the Christian Zionist theological camp, have advocated for decades and which some characterize as characterize as envisioning a coming future for Jews that will be even "worse than the Holocaust":
"before Israel enters into her time of national blessing she must first pass through the fire of the tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 30:5-9; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:14-18). Even though the horrors of the Holocaust under Hitler were of an unimaginable magnitude, the Bible teaches that a time of even greater trial awaits Israel during the tribulation. Anti-Semitism will reach new heights, this time global in scope, in which two-thirds of world Jewry will be killed (Zech. 13:7-9; Rev. 12). - Thomas Ice
This is a continuation of a running series on Pastor John Hagee and his new "apocalypse lobby," CUFI. For the last installment, see:
So, what's CUFI ? Here's an intro, from one of my pieces on John Hagee and Christians United For Israel. After that I've posted links to a number of related articles.
In previous installments of an ongoing series, I've examined the beliefs of Pastor John Hagee, founder of "Christians United For Israel", an ostensibly pro-Israel lobby whose members seek to trigger a Mideast conflict they hope will spiral into a devastating world war that will cause Global mass death and the death of 2/3 of Jews in Israel. Hagee, who calls for a preemptive nuclear strike on Iran and also states that will trigger the apocalyptic war he craves, has warned in his sermons about a conspiracy of "Illuminati" and international bankers seeking to create a "New World Order". John Hagee spoke, before many US Senators and Congress members, to a cheering crowd, at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual convention last Sunday evening :
TTA contributor Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst for Political Research Associates, provides some background on the recent history of "New World Order" conspiracism among John Hagee's fellow Christian Zionists such as Tim LaHaye and Pat Robertson in The Age Old Conspiracy
Previous installments in an ongoing series, by several authors, on John Hagee and Christian Zionism:
"Pro Israel" Christian Leader Blames Jews For The Holocaust
recent stories from other authors:
Max Blumenthal : AIPAC Cheers an Anti-Semitic Holocaust Revisionist (and Abe Foxman Approves)
Sarah Posner: The Goy Who Cried Wolf: The Israel lobby gives America's leading Christian right warmonger a warm welcome
More on Apocalyptic Christian Zionism : Pastor John Hagee's beliefs are closely aligned with other Apocalyptic Christian Zionists such as Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, authors of the "Left Behind" book series. Writes author and senior analyst at Political Research Associates, Chip Berlet:When White supremacists post websites demonizing Jews and gay people, they are condemned for the hatemongers they are. When leaders of the armed citizens militias and their allies in the Patriot Movement in the 1990s urged their followers to form anti-government underground cells and battle global cooperation and the United Nations, they were condemned as dangerous guerrillas spreading divisive conspiracy theories. When Timothy LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins write the Left Behind series of novels containing the same type of bigotry, they sell 70 million books and are interviewed by clueless journalists who use a double standard by not confronting LaHaye and Jenkins for spreading hate and conspiracism as well as promoting religious violence as a heroic duty.... This is the demonizing theology, ideology, and action plan being taught to millions of Americans by the LaHaye and Jenkins Left Behind series. We ignore this phenomenon at our own risk.
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