McCain and Gingrich Court Christians United for Israel
Richard Bartholomew printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Jul 21, 2007 at 01:23:06 PM EST
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. Max Blumenthal has already highlighted the cosy relations between the conspiracy theorist and AIPAC; now Hagee has had the satisfaction of seeing John McCain come as a suppliant for votes at the Washington conference of Christians United for Israel, of which he is the prime mover (along with some more urbane figures, such as David Brog). Reveling in his new-found power and status, Hagee reportedly once again (he's used the line before) exulted that

"the sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened"
The Jerusalem Post reports:

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?"

Newt Gingrich, however, ratcheted up the rhetoric some more:

"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,"

There was also predictable praise for CUFI from Gary Bauer (reported on YNet):

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."

This implicit attack on Israeli moderates was echoed by Frank Gaffney: 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.

The Jewish Week, however, seems slighly sceptical:

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."

The same source adds that

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 Israel [ouch - I think "Iran" is meant here - RB] 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)

UPDATE: Sarah Posner has posted an account of her visit to the conference, at Alternet. Joe Lieberman was also present:
"America is a faith-based initiative," said the former Democrat. "We are not endowed by the great thinkers of the Enlightenment but endowed by our Creator ... Anyone who tries to separate American government from faith," he added, "is doing something profoundly unnatural."

by Richard Bartholomew on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 07:03:45 PM EST

WWW Talk To Action

Terror At Planned Parenthood: Facing The Consequences Of The Far Right's Lies
In the wake of Friday's horrific shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, we're hearing calls to deescalate the rhetoric around the......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Progressives Are Taking Up Religious Freedom Day
In the heat of our political moment, we sometimes don't see how our future connects deeply to our past. But the Christian Right does......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Freedom vs. Fear: Restricting Religious Liberty Isn't The Answer To Terrorism
Last week, a community meeting was held in Spotsylvania County, Va., to discuss plans by a group of Muslims who want to relocate and......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Christian Right Electoral Hegemony, Rising in the States
This is a revised, updated and retitled post I did on the long term trend of significant political progress of the Christian Right and......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Who's Been Naughty, Who's Been Nice?: The AFA Explains It All For You
If you're like me, you've been sitting around anxiously awaiting the release of the American Family Association's "Naughty or Nice" list of retailers for......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
U.S. Department Of Judeo-Christian Values?: Kasich Proposes New Religious Propaganda Arm
According to some polls, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination is Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who believes that ancient Egyptians built......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
Scripture Stories: Religious Right Claims About The `Aitken Bible' Don't Hold Up
Tomorrow several conservative members of the U.S. House of Representatives plan to hold a public reading of the Aitken Bible on the East Front......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
The Tallest Statue in the Nation of an Individual
Many a day I drove on I 45 past the statue of Sam Houston.  The monument to the statesman is the largest in the......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Honoring Everyone Who Served: A Veterans Day Reflection
In 1952, a private group sought permission from government officials to erect a large cross atop Mt. Soledad near San Diego. They did it......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
One Million Maniacs?: AFA Attacks Magazine For Highlighting Family Headed By Same-Sex Couple
I have a daughter named Claire who is 21 years old and working her first job in journalism since graduating from college. I'm awfully......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
What Catholic Neo-Confederates Don't Want You To Know About Secession
During the summer of 2013 I wrote several posts about Catholic Neo-Confederates. My purpose was to explain the activities of libertarians such as Tom......
By Frank Cocozzelli (10 comments)
Sex And Common Sense: Texas Public School Reconsiders `Chastity' Speaker
A self-appointed expert on sex and relationships won't speak at an El Paso, Texas, high school - for now.Jason Evert runs an outfit called......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Two Trials that Impacted American Religion
Silent movie, Birth of a Nation, became the first blockbuster screen phenomena.  Civil Rights groups deplored the production and sought to ban it.  It......
By wilkyjr (3 comments)
The Francis Trajectory.
The recent dust-up over the meeting between Pope Francis and culture warrior Kim Davis has caused the Pontiff's stock to fall somewhat among liberals.......
By Frank Cocozzelli (11 comments)
Taking Care Of Business: Religious Right Group Plans `Religious Liberty' Ratings For Companies
My inbox this morning contained a press release from the American Family Association (AFA). The Tupelo, Miss.-based Religious Right group has exciting news: It......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)

Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (2 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (3 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (4 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.