CUFI: Scary S#*%
Thanks to Gavin for pointing this one out to me. Democracy Now! ran a story on a new Christian Zionist group (Watch 256k Stream or 128k Stream), CUFI or Christians United For Israel during an interview with journalist Max Blumenthal. A great deal has been made of Radical Islam, Muslim Fundamentalists and the worldwide threat that they are suppossed to represent, however, little has been made of the dangerous extremists within the Christian Faith. These extremists pose a greater threat than "family values" and libertarian economics - they have an eschtalogical/apocalyptic agenda.
I suppose, for the casual Christian reader of this blog who didn't know me, I could possibly be written off as an unbeliever who hates Christians and has his own secular agenda. I am a believer and, though I have not attended church regularly since at least 1994, I am still very concerned about the direction that many in the Faith have taken. I am concerned about these people because their agenda is so essentially selfish.
CUFI seems to be aiming to use Israel to start the beginning of the end. Quoting the text provided for the story Amy Goodman picks up on this:
AMY GOODMAN: Max Blumenthal, I wanted to end on the issue of rapture. Last month, Harper's magazine reported traffic on internet bulletin boards, talking about rapture or end times, greatly increased following the outbreak of violence in the Middle East. One person wrote online, "I've been having rapture dreams and I can't believe that this is really it! We're on the edge of eternity!" Another person wrote, "I too am soooo excited! I get goose bumps, literally, when I watch what's going on in the [Middle East]!"
MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, I was listening on July 21 to Janet Parshall, who’s one of the leading evangelical and Republican broadcasters. She can get Dick Cheney on her show in a heartbeat. And she said, “As soon as the missiles started flying between Israel and Hezbollah,” she said a voice just brimming with glee, “these are the times we've been waiting for. This is straight out of a Sunday school lesson.” So the Christian Zionists have a tendency to celebrate things that most Israelis consider tragic. You know, I question whether John Hagee agonizes over the dozens of deaths of Israeli soldiers. I question whether he agonizes over the Israelis, the thousands of Israelis who had to spend the last month in bomb shelters. I don't think he does agonize. I think what Hagee and the Christian Zionists want is to fight a battle to the last Jew.
Earlier in the interview Blumenthal states:
And if you look at what John Hagee (founder of CUFI) has written in his books, like Jerusalem Countdown, his most recent book, which cites 17 unnamed Israeli intelligence sources to claim that Iran is producing nuclear suitcase bombs and that Israel must engage in a "nuclear showdown" with Iran or risk committing national suicide, if you look at what he's written, he does have an Armageddon-based agenda. And so I think what this lobby does, it plays an instrumental PR role on behalf of the Christian Zionist movement in preventing legitimate criticism of their motives for supporting Israel, and they are bolstering what AIPAC is doing and possibly even radicalizing what AIPAC is doing, by providing them a grassroots base in the heartland.
The majority of America's 60 million evangelicals are premillenial dispensationalists. They believe that the end times could come at any moment, and they're looking for signs of that, so they're sympathetic to supporting Israel for these reasons. And so they provide a strong grassroots base. This is the Republican base. This is the only component of the Republican base that still supports Bush's policies in Iraq without question, unconditionally, and supports Israel's expansionism. While the American Jewish community is willing to, you know, stand for Israel and show solidarity for Israel, they also support a peace process, and they support a sovereign Palestinian state. But this group doesn't.
You know, for instance, Pat Robertson went on the 700 Club and said that Ariel Sharon's descent into a comatose state was punishment for dividing the land for the Gaza withdrawal, for pulling 9,000 extremist settlers out of a huge swath of land. And, you know, then last week, Pat Robertson was flown to Israel to pray with Ehud Olmert and go on the 700 Club and tell his viewership that the Lebanese civilians, the Lebanese society was harboring terrorists, and therefore, civilian casualties were justified. So they play a PR role on behalf of the extremist wing of Israeli political culture. They're very connected to people like Benjamin Netanyahu, who's positioning himself to succeed Ehud Olmert in the wake of Olmert's possibly imminent resignation. So I think there's a real danger here.
Having attended many different kinds of the churches in the past, I have seen first hand the desire for the end times to happen NOW. Bush once called the current crisis between West and East as a "clash of civilizations", referring to the book by Samuel Phillips Huntington, but I think it iis more like a "clash of the fundmentalists". This is, of course, an over-simplification as there is no more a united Islamic front (see Tom Porteous' article at TomPaine.com) than there is a united Christian front - and no matter what people like John Hagee or the overly paranoid might think, there is no united Christian front. The real threat to world peace and security is the way in which we in the West relate and treat the rest of the world.
Unfortunately, the way the West has dealt with the rest of the world has been with horrific arrogance, callousness and indifference. In order for Christians to support the on-going conflicts in the Middle East they mus accept, condone and encourage futher lying, deception, slander, libel and loss of life as either a righteous act or as a necessary evil. A popular phrase with Christians during the `90's was, "What would Jesus do?". Well, what would He do? Would Jesus condone necessary evil? Not the one in the Bible I have been reading. (NASB, if you are curious)
Can Christians support sin in order to further their own adgenda? Even if they aren't manufacturing the propaganda or pulling the triggers themselves, aren't Christian Zionists just as complicit for encouraging/demanding these sorts of actions to be taken in the first place? Who do these armegeddonists think they are that they can force the return of Christ, when it states that in the Bible the we shall never know the day and the hour of His return - that God is long-suffering so that none might perish? I don't know who they think they are, but I can I can tell you what they are and that is arrogant. Arrogance, by the way, is another sin.