While America wrestled with the tragic deaths that occurred on September 11 in Benghazi, while today we try to make sense of the Algerian hostage massacre and the heightened danger that recent events in Mali pose, Christian Zionist pastors such as John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas use any and all of these conflicts to feed the ever-present fear and hatred of Muslims, their ultimate goal being to accelerate the end of the world as “foretold” in the Bible’s Book of Revelation.
On the Sunday after the attacks on the Libyan embassy, Hagee, flanked by Israeli and American flags, stood before national television cameras to reinforce what his end-times hungry congregation already believes: President Obama does not stand with Israel, but apologizes to terrorists. Iran is the evil that must be stopped. And the biblically proscribed Israeli territories were given to the Hebrews six thousand years ago by God, so who is Barack Hussein Obama to demand that Israel cede a single centimeter of land to her enemy?
Since 2006, when Hagee founded Christians United for Israel (CUFI,) the largest biblically based, pro-Israel lobbying group in the United States, the question Jews should have been grappling with is, In what world does impeding Mideast peace qualify as being pro-Israel? This year when President Obama nominated Chuck Hagel to become his Secretary of Defense, Hagee once again used his CUFI megaphone to call on his followers to oppose Hagel, the meaning behind his message being, Thou shalt not seek peace.
“God chose Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol,” Hagee bellowed. “You’d think the Democratic National Convention would get that by now. The third world war will start over the issue of who owns that land [Israel] and you’re watching it start right now on national television. The Jewish people do not occupy the land—they own that land. The president’s actions send a message to the enemies of Israel: we’re not supporting you. It’s not a matter of if war is coming between Israel and Iran; it’s only a matter of when.”
In these times of heightened geopolitical danger, rather than calming the fury, Hagee incites. Preaching, he asked Obama a rhetorical question: “Why don’t you tell Libya that murdered our diplomat (this week,) ‘We are going to retaliate, we are not going to apologize any more, we’re going to respond’?”
Frighteningly reminiscent of the Bush neo-cons and their evangelical co-conspirators, the fear-mongering Hagee snarls, “Iranian terrorists are already in this country. They’re not coming, they’re here and smuggling a suitcase bomb across a border that is not protected. Can you imagine seven suitcase bombs going off in seven major US cities at one time that have the capacity of killing a million people?”
Like the proverbial tree falling in the forest, words like these matter little if no one is listening. But millions watch Hagee and other Christian broadcasters like him, and they hang on these pastors’ every word. Even more significant is the fact that mega-pastors like Hagee have the ear of countless politicians who either believe as they do or who are so craven as to trade foreign policy favors for a nod to the Evangelical Christian voting bloc come the next primary season and/or election.
The conclusion to Hagee’s September 26, 2012 sermon should strike fear in America’s collective soul: “We are living in the final moments of the Dispensation of Grace,” Hagee preached, referring to the period prior to Revelation–predicted calamaties and suffering before the Second Coming, “and prayer is the only thing that will save us. Hallelujah.”
Whatever happened to democracy, diplomacy, and wisdom?