Posts Tagged “christian zionism”

Signorelli-Antichrist and the devilAt times I’ve mentioned the phenomenon of Christian Zionism, a philosophy held by a lot of evangelical Christians. These people militantly support the state of Israel, but not out of any love for that country, its people, or Jews generally. Rather, they’re agitating for the Battle of Armageddon, which they believe will usher in Jesus’ return and the End of the World. Evangelicals encourage Israel’s belligerence; the idea is to instigate an attack by “the kings from the east” as described in Revelation:

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east. And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”) And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon. (Revelation 16:12-16)

My position has always been that, while Christian Zionists profess respect for Jews and their place in God’s cosmic plan, the truth is that they’re actually anti-Semitic. But evidence for this can be hard to come by, and disappointingly so.

Recently, however, a prominent Christian Zionist exposed the anti-Semitism that lurks deep inside that philosophy. As Right Wing Watch reports, Pastor John Hagee let the cat out of the bag (WebCite cached article):

Trinity Broadcasting Network hosted a Praise The Lord prophecy special this month, featuring a number of speakers including televangelist John Hagee. The right-wing pastor explained that during the End Times, the Jewish people will not accept Jesus as the Messiah until he returns “because they have just — three-and-a-half years or seven-years before — made a deal with the Antichrist, who is the false messiah, and they are extremely skeptical of that.”

Here’s video of Hagee saying this, courtesy of RWW, via Youtube:

Hagee’s claim that Jews will collaborate with the Antichrist is offensive, revealing the villainy to which he thinks Jews will be willing to stoop. He’s saying Jews are going to betray humanity to the Antichrist. If that’s not distasteful, I don’t know what is!

Hagee goes on to say that Jews will only be convinced that Jesus is the Messiah once he returns and they’ve seen “the riven side.” I find his stated reasoning for this interesting; he claims the original Greek of Romans 11 states that Jews have been “judicially blinded” to the identity of the Messiah. He doesn’t say it, but the specific verse he’s referring to is Rom 11:7:

What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened …

In Greek, this is:

τι ουν επιζητει ισραηλ τουτο ουκ επετυχεν η δε εκλογη επετυχεν οι δε λοιποι επωρωθησαν

The verb in question is the final word in that verse, a form of the Greek verb πωροω (póroó), which doesn’t mean “judicially blinded” at all: Hagee just made that up. It actually means “to be made stubborn” or “to be made unfeeling.” Semantically, this isn’t too far off from what Hagee is saying, however, his claim is rather specific, and as such, clearly false; as someone who presents himself as an expert in Biblical languages, he has no excuse for this. He thus betrays his ignorance of Greek and his lack of expertise.

The RWW article adds Hagee’s claim September 11, 2001 attacks were an act of divine judgement against the U.S. because it had fallen away from him. This is pretty much the same sentiment as had been expressed by the late Jerry Falwell and his friend Marion “Pat” Robertson, just a few days after the attacks. Yeah, folks, this is the Religion of Love in action.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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When the Fail is so strong, one Facepalm is not enough / Picard & Riker / based on HaHaStop.ComBy now anyone who’s read my blog knows that Glenn Beck is a lying Christofascist ignoramus of the highest order. It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about his insanity, but I just came across something he said which is so colossally stupid — not to mention absolutely and totally false — that I can’t help but point it out. What he has done is to establish his own version of American-Israelism. The report comes from World Net Nut Daily, which I don’t normally use as a third-party source of information, but they provide video, so brace yourselves (WebCite cached article):

Radio and television host Glenn Beck is now going public with his belief the United States is among the famous “Lost 10 Tribes of Israel,” and America today is suffering calamaties just as ancient Israel did due to its disobedience to the laws of God.

Echoing the conclusions of some experts who have delved deeply into what’s known as the theory of “Anglo-Israelism” or “British-Israelism,” Beck took viewers of his TV show into a biblical history lesson dating back to the time after King David of the Old Testament, when the once united Kingdom of Israel became divided.

For someone like myself, who studied actual history in college and who knows a thing or two about Biblical times, I groaned involuntarily. I know that misinformation is coming … and it did … but I couldn’t have anticipated how stunningly bad it would be. You see, among the many ahistorical claims Beckie-boy made, is this:

Beck went on to note that when the Assyrians [who’d conquered the northern kingdom of Israel] were finally defeated by other powers, they and the Israelite captives fled northward.

“And they fled out of captivity through the Caucuses Mountains,” he said. “The Caucusus Mountains are where you hear the word ‘Caucasian.’”

Glennie goes astray here by making too much of the word “Caucasian.” He’s suggesting that everyone who’s a “Caucasian” is a descendant of these Assyrians and their Hebrew captives. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. First of all, even before the Assyrian nation came into existence there were many nations, populated by people who would later be called “Caucasian,” already in Europe and in western and southern Asia! Second, Glenn errs by taking the term “Caucasian” too literally. Its etymology is actually mistaken. German anthropologist Johann Blumenbach, in the late 18th century, erroneously thought that the Caucasus mountain region had been the original homeland of the Aryan peoples. We now know he was wrong about that … and about a lot of other things, too, especially his “racial degeneration” theories. In any event, serious scientists no longer view the racial term “Caucasian” as being meaningful. That the Glennster does, and connects it literally with the Caucasus Mountains, betrays his ignorance.

But having spewed that lunacy, Beckie-boy wasn’t done. He reeled off even more lies:

“What’s interesting is the Assyrians, who were very good, meticulous record-keepers, and who were just brutal [people], they settled in Italy and in the Germany area and the Russia area where facsism comes from. But the Israelites, the Lost 10 Tribes, they went north and they started to scatter [in another] direction, and they went to the coastlines, generally in the area where the Pilgrims came from.

To this I can only say, “What the fuck!?” He offers no evidence the Assyrians went to Italy, Germany or Russia. He directly connects those Assyrians with fascism, a political movement that didn’t emerge for two and a half millennia after their state had vanished. And their Hebrew captives, whom the Assyrians had supposedly taken with them, somehow escaped, at some point Glenn never discloses, and settled in “coastal areas” (I guess he forgot that Italy has lots and lots of coastline, and Germany and Russia have some, too).

Lastly, the Glennster goes on at length about how America’s various symbolic associations with the number 13 — such as in the presidential seal — just can’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that the country was founded as a federation of 13 former British colonies. Oh no! It comes, instead, from the 12 tribes of Israel.

Yes, that’s what he said. That 12 equals 13. Glennie-boy even rationalized this idiotic formulation:

As far as why 12 tribes of Israel would be represented by the number 13 and not 12, Beck stated, “The tribe of Joseph split into Manassah and Ephraim, and those were in northern Israel. That’s the northern kingdom of Israel. That’s the thirteen tribes.”

The WND article continues with a whole lot more of Beckie-boy’s insipid and fact-deprived drivel, complete with his usual long chains of associations. It also cites a “historian,” Steven M. Collins, who supports Glennie’s insane ramblings, however, I can find no record of this Collins having any credentials in history (either by virtue of being awarded a history degree, or having authored an article in a peer-reviewed history journal). I can only assume the guy is no more a “historian” than another of Beckie-boy’s Christofascist friends, David Barton.

In any event, what the Glennster outlines here isn’t really that strange, if you see how similar it is to a movement known as British-Israelism. It, and other related wingnut hypotheses (such as the Khazar myth) are all basically anti-Semitic notions, cooked up in order to rob Jews of their own spiritual heritage and award it to some other group or nation instead. It’s all very irrational, not to mention hateful, and it has no place in the 21st century United States.

Nevertheless, the Glennster is sticking to it. Hmm.

Ordinarily I’d have embedded the video of Glenn spewing his ignorance, distortions, exaggerations, and lies … but somehow I can’t bring myself to put his face on my blog any more. Something about it just turns my stomach. You’ll just have to go there for yourself if you care to see this insanity.

Hat tip: Rational Wiki.

Photo credit: HaHaStop.

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Map of Ottoman Empire in 1901Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker and current GOP candidate for president, is surging in the polls. Part of the reason is that he’s been cultivating the Religious Right, which largely ignores the fact that he’s been married three times, having cheated on two of his wives, including while he was trying to get Bill Clinton run out of the White House for having had an affair.* As part of his effort to build his reputation as a dutifully and devoutly Christian Rightist, the Newtster decided to court the Christian Zionist movement. Unfortunately, the way in which he chose to go about it, demonstrates conclusively that he’s a brazen ignoramus. CBS News reports on his idiotic spew (WebCite cached article):

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said this week that Palestinians are an “invented” people, a position that could be seen as putting him at odds with the U.S. push for a two-state solution in the Middle East.

“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire,” Gingrich told the Jewish Channel, which posted portions of the interview online on Friday [cached]. “And I think that we’ve have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab community, and they had the chance to go many places.”

Here’s video of this part of the interview, courtesy of the Jewish Channel and Youtube:

His criterion for what makes the Palestinian people “invented” and therefore ineligible to have their own state — i.e. that their land once had been part of the Ottoman Empire — is more than a bit strange. After all, many countries that exist now, and have existed for a very long time, were also once part of the Ottoman Empire. Most of the Balkan states, for example, had once been under the Ottoman regime. The same goes for countries like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Armenia and even Hungary … just to name a few. By the standards the Newtster has laid down, these nations are all “invented peoples,” and none are entitled to statehood.

In spite of his error, Gingrich is far too ideologically-driven (and too desperate to hold onto Christian Zionist primary voters) to admit his error. He maintains he’s factually correct, even though quite obviously he’s not (cached).

Yes folks, even though he’s a history professor, Newt Gingrich doesn’t actually know anything about history. I only have a B.A. in the field, yet I know how catastrophically wrong the man is. His lie about the Palestinian situation places him in my “lying liars for Jesus” club.

One last thing: During the interview, Newt says:

And for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel since the 1940s.

I have no idea who this “we” is that the Newtster claims has been waging a “war against Israel” all that time. Is he referring to the US? Somehow I doubt it, but I can’t imagine who else that “we” could possibly be.

Photo credit: Eliel.

* The R.R.’s fondness for hypocrisy is well-known, but is strange, considering the founder of their own religion clearly, explicitly, plainly and specifically forbid his followers to be hypocritical, ever.

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DSC_0032Former Alaska governor and darling of the Religious Right and the tea party (which are increasingly one and the same) traveled to Israel, presumably to increase her appeal to religious Americans (as if that were possible … she’s already incredibly popular among US religionists). The (NY) Daily News reports on her trip and some of the comments she made while there (WebCite cached article):

Israel got its first official glimpse of Sarah Palin.

The former Vice Presidential candidate arrived in Jerusalem on Sunday as part of her whirlwind trip that many think is meant to bolster her foreign policy credentials leading up to a possible 2012 presidential run.

She made a transparent attempt to pass herself off as Jewish:

Sporting what appears to be a necklace with the Jewish symbol of a Star of David, the Alaska resident visited the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray. …

“Israel is absolutely beautiful and it is overwhelming to see and touch the cornerstone of our faith and I am so grateful to be here,” the devout Christian told reporters.

Mrs Palin is not alone in viewing the Western Wall as the “cornerstone” of Christianity. The problem is, it’s not! It’s the cornerstone of Judaism, and only Judaism. It may be of some historical interest to Christians, but it is assuredly not the “cornerstone” of Christianity. That, I’m afraid, is none other than Jesus himself, as the Christian Bible itself states clearly:

He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. (Acts 4:11)

While Jesus and his first followers may have been Jewish, the religion they founded took a decidedly non-Jewish turn (if not an anti-Jewish one), and explicitly rejected the Jewish religious tradition, believing Mosaic Law to have been rendered obsolete by Jesus:

We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. … I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” (Galatians 2:15-16, 21)

The Temple, of which the Western Wall is presumed to have been a part, is perhaps the chief edifice and main symbol of Mosaic Law. Given this fact, there is no logical way any Christian could ever say that it’s the “cornerstone” of his or her faith.

In many other ways, Mrs Palin’s trip reflects what is known as Christian Zionism, a philosophy very common among evangelical Protestants (such as Mrs Palin). Christian Zionists adamantly support Israel … but not necessarily because they believe in that state or out of any love for Jews or Judaism. Most Christian Zionists are, rather, interested in creating an alliance with Jews against Muslims, and in agitating Israel into behaviors that — they think — will trigger Armageddon and thus bring on the Apocalypse. In other words, they’re motivated by self-interest and an obsession with “the End Times.”

While I’m not Jewish, and don’t know nearly as much about Judaism as perhaps I ought to, I find it distasteful to see Christians such as Mrs Palin essentially stealing Jewish tradition and using Judaism, Jews and Israel for their own mercenary purposes. It’s nearly as bad as the philosophy called British Israelism, which essentially defines Jews out of existence and grants their heritage to the British. (Yes, really. That movement, too, exists. For real. And it’s every bit as strange — and anti-Semitic — as I just made it sound.) This kind of wholesale intellectual and cultural theft really needs to end — the sooner, the better.

Photo credit: Mark Philpot.

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