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Evangelical Civil War Over a Palestinian State?

July 29, 2007

Sunday's New York Times reports a new fissure within the American evangelical movement. Already increasingly at loggerheads over global warming, evangelicals may be witnessing a new schism over the issue of a Palestinian state. And that means Pastor John Hagee and his end-of-times friends at Christians United for Israel (CUFI) are not happy.
On Friday, a group of 30 evangelical leaders sent a letter to President Bush calling for a greater U.S. role in the creation of a Palestinian state. With the Bush "road map" for a two-state solution moribund, the letter argues that Israelis and Palestinians alike have "legitimate rights stretching back for millennia to the lands of Israel/Palestine." The effort, which grew out of the February U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, targets global Muslim opinion as well as the Bush State Department.
But the missive apparently has another target as well: the evangelical group's erstwhile Christian Zionist brethren. As the Reverend Joel C. Hunter put it:

"There is a part of the evangelical family which is what I call Christian Zionists, who are just so staunchly pro-Israel that Israel and their side can do no wrong, and it's almost anti-Biblical to criticize Israel for anything. But there are many more evangelicals who are really open and seek justice for both parties."

For Texas Pastor John Hagee, Hunter's words are anti-Bible indeed. Unyielding support of Israel is seen as essential to the fulfillment of Biblical prophesy and the book of Revelations. For CUFI, Israeli compromises with the Palestinians (or the Iranians, for that matter) delay the final conflict and the Second Coming of Christ, when the Jews will be either be converted - or killed. (For more on why Israelis might ask themselves, "With friends like these, who needs enemies," see Max Blumenthal's "Unauthorized Christians United for Israel Tour.")
As I wrote last June, theirs is Armageddon as foreign policy:

Hagee is at the bleeding edge of a Christian Zionist movement seeking to accelerate the Second Coming of Christ and the final battle in Israel. Since the 1990's, Hagee and his group CUFI (Christians United for Israel) has tried without success to breed the "red heifer," the perfect calf that will signal the Second Coming. As Sarah Posner writes in the American Prospect, "for Hagee's new project - agitating for war with Iran - his influence over Washington is less important than his influence over his audience." His book "Jerusalem Countdown" sold over 500,000 copies. And as Posner reports, Hagee is not alone.
Hagee calls pastors "the spiritual generals of America" an appropriate phrase given his reliance on them to rally their troops behind his message. The CUFI board of directors includes the Reverend Jerry Falwell, former Republican presidential candidate and religious right activist Gary Bauer, and George Morrison, pastor to the 8,000-member Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, Colorado, and chairman of the board of Promise Keepers. Rod Parsley, the Ohio televangelist who is rapidly becoming a major political figure in the Christian right, signed on as a regional director.

The dispensationalist Hagee is not happy and he clearly has friends in high places, including Joe Lieberman, Tom Delay, and his fellow Texas in the White House. Hagee thundered at Friday's letter:

"Christians United for Israel is opposed to America pressuring Israel to give up more land to anyone for any reason. What has the policy of appeasement ever produced for Israel that was beneficial?
"God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a covenant in the Book of Genesis for the land of Israel that is eternal and unbreakable, and that covenant is still intact. The Palestinian people have never owned the land of Israel, never existed as an autonomous society. There is no Palestinian language. There is no Palestinian currency. And to say that Palestinians have a right to that land historically is an historical fraud."

This evangelical civil war over Palestine is great viewing and probably would provide most Americans with an endless source of schadenfreude. That is, if all involved weren't so deadly serious and the stakes so great.
For more background, see "Bush, Iran and the Second Coming."
UPDATE: Fox News this morning provides additional disturbing background on CUFI, including the group members' recent meetings with "California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, who received a standing ovation from CUFI's Texas delegation." The quote of the day comes from Pastor Greg Stephens, "We are not warmongers, but the bible tells us there is a time for war and there is a time for peace."

6 comments on “Evangelical Civil War Over a Palestinian State?”

  1. I just watched the Blumenthal video. Listening to Joe Lieberman compare that crackpot Hagee to Moses made my skin crawl.

  2. Don't you love it when "Good Christians and Jewish Zionist" can agree that going to war against Muslims is a calling from God. Of course, Hagee and the neocons will continue to eat their happy meals in the comfort of their homes while Americas sons and daughters do the fighting.
    This is such a scam.

  3. Haven't any of these people stopped to think, "Perhaps if I'm directly involved in the instigation of the final great expression of mans unGodly greed and lust for power, Jesus might be pissed off at me when he returns."
    All the other prophecies of the Bible were meant as warnings and calls to action (few taken to heart), what makes this any different.
    If we've been told that our evil actions will bring about a great cataclysm, shouldn't we be doing as much as possible to avoid that path?
    Of course, what do I know? I've just read and interpreted the Bible for myself, instead of letting a bunch of power-mad fools do it for me.

  4. I have had the opportunity to live and work in Israel, dealing with Jews, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.
    I want to make it clear that neither the Israeli government nor the vast majority of the Israeli people are in any way in agreement with the views of these malicious lunatics (and that includes you, Joe).
    To anyone who doubts this, I suggest that you bookmark the Haaretz website and read it for a few weeks. You will find no Israeli support of any of this claptrap. Living in real danger sharpens your mind wonderfully, and whatever Christian Zionism is, it's not the product of sharp minds.

  5. Ahem...Carl from can read Haaretz until the second coming, which will never happen, but you will not convince those of us paying attention that Israel's Likud party did not use it's influence and money, via AIPAC,to convince our "Bring 'em on!" president to invade Iraq.
    Radical zionist who served and advised this president, bloodthirsty zionist such as Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle, Abrams, Wurmser,Libby and a host of others, authored papers such as Project for a New American Century which called for the US to use its superpower status to invade other nations if they deemed it necessary. Of course, Bush just couldn't go before the nation and say, "Saddam tried to kill my daddy and I want to rub him out", nor could he say,"My Jewish friends would like for the US to refashion the middle-east so Israel will be the only super power with nukes in the area." No they had to fabricate a bogus threat like WMDs which they knew, from the inspectors on the ground in Iraq, did not exist. They had the gaul to use intelligence from an informant named Curveball rather than the UN inspectors.
    Israel nor American Jews want their fingerprints on this war that has killed over 600,000 Iraqis and displaces another 2,000,000 million Iraqis, killed almost 4,000 American soldiers and maimed another 25,000, but all you have to do is read the reports about the latest American Israeli Political Action Com.' meetings to know they are not satisfied with Iraq, they are screaming like cheerleaders for dumbo to bomb Iran.
    I'm waiting for the "you're an anti-semite" charge but I agreee their are Jews who don't think killing innocent women and children is a good idea. I have read about Jews who think the Palestinians should be allowed to live in freedom. Even the supreme court of Isreal lamblasted the Likuds for not allowing Palestinians access to hospitals to give birth to their babies, forcing them to deliver in nearby fields.
    I have a reading assignment for you. Read "The Lie Factory" by Robert Dreyfuss and "The Stovepipe" by Sy Hersh and then read every morning. I think you'll find it very interesting.
    Congress should forget about investigating the firing of eight US attorneys, we need a full blown investigation into who fabricated intelligence that got us into this half trillion dollar war.

  6. The Great Spirit gave the lands now known as the Americas to the Natives, for their faith in the Great Spirit.

    And remained the possesion of man for thousands of years.

    The lands that were stolen through manipulation and slaughter should be returned to the original inhabitants.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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