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Freddy Krueger Clergy

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How about the piece on 60 Minutes concerning the Fundamentalist Christian Right’s maniacal support for Israel? On its face, that sounds like a good thing. Isn’t it nice that this group, usually stamped as closed-minded, has opened its heart–and its pocket book–to its Jewish brethren?

You would be correct if you find yourself having the reaction that it couldn’t be that simple. Seems that, according to the Fundamentalist interpretation of Prophecy, the Jews need to be in control of all of Israel/Palestine–from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River–as a prelude to the battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming.

And what happens to the Jews after that, you might be impertinent enough to ask? Turns out that most of them are slaughtered in the battle, and the ones that remain are converted to Christ. Well, isn’t that just peachy? A tip of the hat to all you great Jewish guys for holding off those pesky Muslims so that you can be killed in the name of The Messiah that you never accepted in the first place. Or if you’re lucky enough to survive, you can renounce the faith of your fathers and be granted entry to the fold of the True Chosen Ones.

Is there anything scarier than those–I don’t care what the faith is–that absolutely KNOW the word and will of The Almighty? How about those Freddy Krueger clergy (Jerry Falwell included) interviewed by Bob Simon in his excellent piece? Some samples of their inspired-Word-of-God opinions: Mohammed was a terrorist; Rabin’s assassination was the will of God; the Palestinians should all be sent packing into Jordan; there should be more, not less West Bank settlements; the Oslo Accords are the work of the Devil, and so on.

The scariest part is that this Right-believing group is now a significant portion of our electorate–40 to 70 million by various estimates. They are now the core constituency of one of our major political parties. You have to be almost as old as I am to remember when the Republican Party was primarily a business-class, internationalist, civil-rights supporting group with a healthy internal liberal-conservative debate. When was the last time you heard of a “Rockefeller Republican?”

George W has learned the lesson well–whatever you do; don’t alienate the new core constituency. And doesn’t that tell us a lot about the context of Middle East policy being forged in his administration? As the 60 Minutes piece showed, there’s a backdrop for the belligerency.

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About Tom Shugart

  • Personally, as a Christian, I hold what is known in theological circles as a “partial-Preterist” belief, which means that I don’t (theologically-speaking) give a rip about Israel or what land (if any) they occupy at any point in the future. It’s not an issue for me at all.

    As such, and probably as a reaction against the brain-dead folks who continue to believe in that twisted mis-interpretation of Scripture, it took quite a while for me to decide which side to support in the current conflict. I hoped for a while that I would just be able to say that both sides were right and wrong and leave it at that, but in the end I realized that I support Israel very nearly unequivocally, and it is purely a moral issue. My faith is not disturbed in the slightest if they’re all shipped somewhere else, though I would be extremely upset for non-prophetic reasons.

    My $.02.

  • M. Upton

    Rellying on 60 Minutes to fairly portray any part of the Christian-Right is like having David Dukes doing a documentary on the civil rights movement. The producers are probably in the camp that claims Christian fundamentalism is more dangerous to America than radical Islamists.

    On a logical basis, wouldn’t the Jews WANT to convert if it turned out Jesus Christ was the real deal? It is not as if the Christians are going to forcibly convert the remaining Jews, ’tis God’s work alone. On the other hand, if the Jews are right, they have nothing to worry about. Both Orthodox and secular Jews alike can take the money and support, and thank the Christians who consider the Jews to be the Chosen people of God. Win-win if you ask me.

    Basically, the whole issue was blown out of proportion. You will find a great deal more Christians that support Israel on a moral basis than a prophetical belief.