A Marriage of Convenience: Christian Fundamentalists and the Zionists
Now that we have looked at religious fundamentalism in its Christian, Moslem and Jewish forms, we come back once again to the Christian Fundamentalists, who are much too sure they know the will of god for American society. We note with concern that they are oddly untroubled by the means they use to get to their goals and often among their ranks we hear variations of the contention that the end justifies the means, whether in elections, in politics, in international relations or in war.
The fundamentalist Christian pressure some years ago on President Bush to support Israeli right wing extremists and their Zionist political allies in Israel against Israeli moderates who want an end to political conflict and are willing to find a peaceful compromise with the Palestinians made any effort at a peaceful solution impossible to achieve. That same pressure from right wing groups, both Fundamentalist Christian and radical supporters of Israel among American Jewish lobbying groups, continues against President Obama. Currently that pressure takes the form of support for an Israeli first strike against Iran for the purpose of slowing down their construction of a nuclear weapon, with pressure so intense that any criticism of Israel is seen as politically dangerous for American leaders and is seriously inhibiting the debate over U.S. interests in the region and whether the U.S. should act on its own interests and not let itself get caught up in another war in the Muslim part of the world.
Many of the Christian Fundamentalists who are supporting the extremist Israelis and Zionists against the Palestinian people and their rights to choose their own destiny, believe in an odd theological doctrine known as the 'Second Coming of Christ.' Through a mis-reading of certain portions of the Bible, and reading into some sections more than is there, they believe that Jesus as the Christ-figure will come back to earth to take his followers to heaven with him. This will only occur, according to those who believe the Bible foretells the future, after the Jews have returned to the biblical Promised Land and after a cataclysmic battle between the forces of righteousness and the forces of evil that will occur at a place in Israel called Armageddon [Megiddo].
As odd and unbelievable as it may seem to those of us not familiar with these fundamentalist views, many in the Fundamentalist Christian right take this Second Coming concept seriously and literally. That notion underlies the political lobbying in the U.S. to support the extreme right-wing Israelis and Zionists because they believe that an aggressive position by Israel in the Mideast, whether against Palestinians or Iranians will provoke war between Israelis and their neighbors that will result in a cataclysmic world war and nuclear catastrophe, the very conditions that will set the stage for the end of the world and bring Jesus back to earth to take his people to heaven. This is a bizarre view for rational people to take, but people who believe this odd notion occupy some of the top positions in the Pentagon and are dispensing political and military advice and strategy. That is a very scary concept because these people are not afraid to unleash a catastrophic war.
This is precisely what troubles me about the “base” of political support for Republicans among right-wing Christian fundamentalists. These political extremists have hijacked Christianity for their political purposes, they have wrapped their political ideology in Christian language to justify their ends, and they have no qualms about building public policy on the base of their religious belief. The absurdity of these views and the fervency with which they are held constitute a clear and present danger to our democracy.