The End Times

Hat-tip to Echidne:

[Link] In a perfect world, a reporter at last week’s press conference with George Bush and Tony Blair would have asked Bush, in the presence of his principal European ally, if he believes the European Union is the Antichrist.

Although it sounds like the kind of Pat Robertson lunacy that makes even the wingnuts run for the nearest exit, it’s a question Bush should be forced to answer. Bush and other leading Republicans have lined up behind a growing movement of Christian Zionists for whom a European Antichrist figures prominently in an end-times scenario. So they should be forced to explain to the rest of us why they’re courting the votes of people who believe our allies are evil incarnate. Could it be that the central requirement for their breathlessly anticipated Armageddon — that the United States confront Iran — happens to dovetail so nicely with the neoconservative war agenda?

At the center of it all is Pastor John Hagee, a popular televangelist who leads the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. While Hagee has long prophesized about the end times, he ratcheted up his rhetoric this year with the publication of his book, “Jerusalem Countdown,” in which he argues that a confrontation with Iran is a necessary precondition for Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. In the best-selling book, Hagee insists that the United States must join Israel in a preemptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West. Shortly after the book’s publication, he launched Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which, as the Christian version of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, he said would cause “a political earthquake.”

Of course, moderate Republicans would shrink at the thought. Why, of course they aren’t that bad! They support the war on Iran for secular, rational reasons! Their kill-all-Muslims rhetoric is the center between moonbats who don’t want to embark on a costly bombing that will kill many civilians and still achieve nothing, and wingnuts who want to bring on Armageddon. Except, of course, that

Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman told the group that “no regime is more central to the global jihad” than Iran. Just two days before, Newt Gingrich and John McCain made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows to sound the same message, leading Benny Elon, a member of the Israeli Knesset, to comment to the Jerusalem Post that their remarks originated with Hagee.

Benny Elon may be an extremist who thinks Israel should rule both Israel and Palestine and the region’s Arab inhabitants must be thrown off to Jordan, but he’s honest. Unless I see strong evidence that McCain, that maverick who was considered a possible Kerry running mate in 2004, is not connected to Hagee, I can presume he is.

What’s really happening is that a group of powerful Christian theocrats is at one extreme. That includes McCain, whose moderate persona is as real as the liberal persona of Howard “I opposed the war on Iraq as soon as I realized it was an oil well of votes” Dean. The other extreme isn’t the left; it’s Ahmadinejad, Al Sadr, and Nasrallah.

We the people who just want to live our lives peacefully without being bombed and without bombing others for no good reason are the sensible side of all this. As far as I’m concerned, Hagee’s 18,000 followers and 18,000 followers of Sadr can go to an island and kill each other all they like.

Hagee doesn’t fear a nuclear conflagration, but rather God’s wrath for standing by as Iran executes its supposed plot to destroy Israel. A nuclear confrontation between America and Iran, which he says is foretold in the Book of Jeremiah, will not lead to the end of the world, but rather to God’s renewal of the Garden of Eden. But Hagee is ultimately less concerned with the fate of Israel or the Jews than with a theocratic Christian right agenda. When Jesus returns for his millennial reign, he tells his television audience, “the righteous are going to rule the nations of the earth When Jesus Christ comes back, he’s not going to ask the ACLU if it’s all right to pray, he’s not going to ask the churches if they can ordain pedophile bishops and priests, he’s not going to ask if it’s all right to put the Ten Commandments in the statehouses. He’s not going to endorse abortion, he’s going to run the world by the word of God The world will never end. It’s going to become a Garden of Eden, and Christ is going to rule it.”

The real question shouldn’t be directed to Bush, an unpopular President who’s becoming more and more of a lame duck as time passes. It should be to McCain: why do you support John Hagee, a man who wants to trigger conflict in Iran in order to cause Armageddon?

With any luck, the Religious Right will vote him in the primary and the issue will stick, making even Hillary Clinton electable.

7 Responses to The End Times

  1. SLC says:

    In Defense of John McCain

    In defense of John McCain, I attached the following two articles. It should be noted that nowhere in either article is the issue of End Times or Armegeddon, or the return of Yushua of Nazareth mentioned. One of these articles is a speech given by the Senator, the other is an article written by his brother.

    The conflation of McCain with Hagee because the former takes the position that Iran must be denuclearized and therefore an attack is warrented is nothing but guilt by association a common MaCarthyite tactic. The McCain position, whether he is right or wrong,, is based on his assessment that a nuclear armed Iran poses a deadly threat to the US and its allies, particularly Israel. I have seen no evidence that his position has anything to do with the Final Days, or Armeggedon, or the return of Yoshua of Nazereth.

    McCain Addresses AIPAC Annual Policy Conference

    Washington, DC – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today made the following remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Conference regarding the current situation in the Middle East:

    “There will always be an Israel. The terrorist onslaught against her people represents not progress towards a refoundation of historic Palestine but a plunge into an abyss of moral decay perpetrated in the name of the Palestinian people by their own leaders. There will always be an Israel, because the Israeli people will defend their homeland against murderers who pose as martyrs, and will never accept justice imposed on them by leaders who send children to kill their children.

    “There will always be an Israel, strong and free, because Israel, and her supporters in this country, will never allow the depravity of her enemies to obscure the moral clarity that inspired her founding, 54 years ago last week, as the homeland of a people who understood evil long before Americans saw its more recent expression on September 11th.

    “Terrorism is terrorism, whether in the form of professional killers who crash civilian aircraft into buildings or amateur murderers undistinguished by anything other than their willingness to take innocent lives.

    “A political solution to the conflict with the Palestinians is the best answer to Israeli insecurity, of course. But no moral nation — neither Israel nor America — can allow terrorists to chart the political course of its people. No freedom-loving nation can tolerate a terrorist state on its border. And no great nation can abandon the obligations of moral clarity for the convenience of situational ethics.

    “If we are serious about the values we in America and Israel live by, and the opportunities we would like all people in the Middle East to enjoy, we can allow terrorists no role in the political process.

    “Indeed, we must work to spread our values in the Middle East, first by opposing tyranny in the Arab world. The celebration of freedom in the streets of liberated Baghdad will serve as a counterpoint to the state-directed Arab media’s distortion of the Palestinian conflict. It will be a reminder to other Arab tyrants that the United States is a natural ally of Arab people who aspire to freedom. Freeing Arabs from repression by tyrannical regimes is the priority of neither Yasser Arafat nor the dictators he counts as his allies. But bringing liberty’s blessings to Arab peoples will do much more to improve their lives than will their jihad against Israel.

    “Unfortunately, when it comes to advocating freedom and opportunity in the Arab world, our values know few champions. In the monarchies and dictatorships of the Middle East, cynicism is the essence of statecraft. Americans find ourselves handicapped in our Middle East diplomacy by a native regard for moral clarity.

    “It is our fidelity to the values Arab leaders reject that makes it unmistakably clear to Americans who destroyed the peace process begun in Oslo. The authors of that disaster were the Palestinians themselves — and the Arab leaders who encouraged or accepted Yasser Arafat’s rejection of the sweeping settlement offered by former Prime Minister Barak at Camp David, and provided rhetorical and material support for the ensuing intifada waged by suicide bombers.

    “I don’t think our cultural differences with Arab states are so vast that a common recognition of what constitutes real peace and a just settlement is unattainable. I think Arab leaders know exactly what it will take to achieve real peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and that what they currently offer serves only to perpetuate the conflict.

    “Telethons and poems glorifying suicide bombers are not steps toward peace. Cash payments to the families of suicide bombers are not steps toward peace. Communiques glorifying the murder of innocents are not steps toward peace. All of this is evil, pure and simple.

    “It is not peace, but fear of each other that motivates Arab dictators, and fear of their own populations, whose resentments toward Israel and America have been inflamed for generations to distract them from grievances against their own rulers for the economic and political inequities they are expected to endure permanently.

    “It is the unenlightened rule of Arab dictators, not the plight of the Palestinians, that condemns the Arab world to the civilizational crisis in which it finds itself. Which Middle Eastern nation grants its Arab citizens the most political freedom? Israel. Which countries’ leaders have the blood of innocents on their hands but hear nothing about it from the Arab League? Iraq, Syria, and Sudan, for starters. Which country has the most egregious record of occupying another today? Syria, in Lebanon. In which countries do Palestinian refugees suffer without rights and the most basic freedoms? Other than Israel, only Jordan has treated these people with any dignity. Which nation in the region has matched its payments to the families of Palestinian murderers with money for health care, education, and other development in the territories? Not one.

    “How Arab leaders can abide their own hypocrisy is one question. Why they expect us to do so is a better one.

    “Arab leaders recoil in mock indignation from any suggestion that they have a responsibility to discourage Palestinian treachery. Instead, they demand that the United States pressure the Government of Israel into forsaking its obligation to defend its citizens from terrorism that Arab governments celebrate and support.

    “I’m also distressed that some of our European allies are dismissing Israel’s legitimate security concerns. In some quarters, Jews are once again threatened with attacks on their institutions. We are witnessing once again the torching of European synagogues. All world leaders must condemn, in the strongest terms, such despicable behavior.

    “Israel has proved its willingness to risk its strategic interests by returning territories captured in war, and living cheek by jowl with a Palestinian state in exchange for peace and acceptance of Israel’s right to exist by its Arab neighbors. Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority he claims to lead insist on a settlement that would threaten the eventual extinction of a Jewish state in the Middle East, and accept and support murder as a means to achieve it. Official sponsorship of Palestinian terror is a self-induced mockery of the Palestinian leadership’s moral authority, and that of its Nobel Peace Prize-winning chairman.

    “The Oslo peace process was premised on the notion that Israelis and Palestinians could live together. I believe it is now time to explore ways in which they can live apart. It is time to consider alternatives such as that proposed by former Prime Minister Barak — to erect a security barrier between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This is not to accept the hopelessness of a political solution, but to embrace the hope that Israel’s people can live in safety until a Palestinian leadership truly committed to peace emerges from the chaos and despair inflicted on Palestinians for generations by leaders who lack the courage and compassion and wisdom to make a better life for their people.

    “Friends, I make no claim to wisdom on how to resolve the crisis in the Middle East. Like you, I look for guidance in the values we share with the only democracy in the region. I know this: no American leader should be expected to sell a false peace to our ally, consider Israel’s right to self-defense less legitimate than ours, or insist that Israel negotiate a political settlement while terrorism remains the Palestinians’ preferred bargaining tool.

    “The moral clarity you bring to American understanding of Israel’s plight is the most effective antidote to the cynicism and hostility that parade as Arab diplomacy in the Middle East today. We will defeat terrorism against America, and we will stand with Israel as she fights the same enemy.

    “One of the great privileges of my life was the friendship that I developed with the late Senator Henry Scoop Jackson. I got to know Scoop when I was the Navy liaison to the Senate in the late 70’s. Scoop was and remains the model of what an American statesman should be.

    “In 1979, I traveled to Israel with Scoop, where I knew he was considered a hero. I had no idea how great a hero he was until we landed in Tel Aviv. When we arrived, we were transferred to a bus big enough to accommodate our large delegation, as well as the U.S. Ambassador in Israel and several of his staff. About a hundred yards outside the airport, the bus was surrounded by a crowd of seven or eight hundred Israelis screaming for Jackson, waving signs that read “God Bless you, Scoop,” “Senator Jackson, thank you,” and dozens of other tributes. For a patriot like Scoop, their affection for him was nothing less than affection for America.

    “Scoop understood a deep truth. The bond between America and Israel is not just a strategic one, though that is important. Today, in the war against terror, we have no stronger ally than Israel. The more profound tie between our two countries, however, is a moral one. We are two democracies whose alliance is forged in our common values. To be proudly pro-American and pro-Israeli is not to hold conflicting loyalties. As Scoop understood, it is about defending the principles that both countries hold dear.

    “And I stand before you today, proudly pro-American and pro-Israel. Thank you.”

    Senator John McCain’s brother on The Jews & Israel.

    There is a lot of worry popping up in the media just now — “Can Israel Survive?” Don’t worry about it. It relates to something that Palestinians, the Arabs, and perhaps most Americans don’t realize — the Jews are never going quietly again. Never. And if the world doesn’t come to understand that, then millions of Arabs are going to die. It’s as simple as that.

    Throughout the history of the world, the most abused, kicked-around race of people have been the Jews. Not just during the holocaust of World War II, but for thousands of years. They have truly been “The Chosen People” in a terrible and tragic sense.

    The Bible story of Egypt’s enslavement of the Jews is not just a story, it is history, if festooned with theological legend and heroic epics. In 70 A.D. the Romans, which had for a long time tolerated the Jews — even admired them as ‘superior’ to other vassals — tired of their truculent demands for independence and decided on an early “Solution” to the Jewish problem. Jerusalem was sacked and reduced to near rubble, Jewish resistance was pursued and crushed by the implacable Roman War Machine — see ‘Masada’. And thus began The Diaspora, the dispersal of Jews throughout the rest of the world.

    Their homeland destroyed, their culture crushed, they looked desperately for the few niches in a hostile world where they could be safe. That safety was fragile, and often subject to the whims of moody hosts. The words ‘pogrom’, ‘ghetto’, and ‘anti-Semitism’ come from this treatment of the first mono-theistic people. Throughout Europe, changing times meant sometimes tolerance, sometimes even warmth for the Jews, but eventually it meant hostility, then malevolence. There is not a country in Europe or Western Asia that at one time or another has not decided to lash out against the children of Moses, sometimes by whim, sometimes by manipulation.

    Winston Churchill calls Edward I one of England’s very greatest kings. It was under his rule in the late 1200’s that Wales and Cornwall were hammered into the British crown, and Scotland and Ireland were invaded and occupied. He was also the first European monarch to set up a really effective administrative bureaucracy, surveyed and censused his kingdom, established laws and political divisions. But he also embraced the Jews.

    Actually Edward didn’t embrace Jews so much as he embraced their money. For the English Jews had acquired wealth — understandable, because this people that could not own land or office, could not join most of the trades and professions, soon found out that money was a very good thing to accumulate. Much harder to take away than land or a store, was a hidden sock of gold and silver coins. Ever resourceful, Edward found a way — he borrowed money from the Jews to finance imperial ambitions in Europe, especially France. The loans were almost certainly not made gladly, but how do you refuse your King? Especially when he is ‘Edward the Hammer’. Then, rather than pay back the debt, Edward simply expelled the Jews. Edward was especially inventive — he did this twice. After a time, he invited the Jews back to their English homeland, borrowed more money, then expelled them again.

    Most people do not know that Spain was one of the early entrants into The Renaissance. People from all over the world came to Spain in the late medieval period. All were welcome — Arabs, Jews, other Europeans. The University of Salamanca was one of the great centers of learning in the world — scholars of all nations, all fields came to Salamanca to share their knowledge and their ideas. But in 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella, having driven the last of Moors from the Spanish Shield, were persuaded by the righteous fundamentalists of the time to announce “The Act of Purification”. A series of steps were taken in which all Jews and Arabs and other non-Christians were expelled from the country, or would face the tools and the torches of The Inquisition. From this ‘cleansing’ come the Sephardic Jews — as opposed to the Ashkenazis of Eastern Europe. In Eastern Europe, the sporadic violence and brutality against Jews are common knowledge. ‘Fiddler’ without the music and the folksy humor. At times of fury, no accommodation by the Jew was good enough, no profile low enough, no village poor enough or distant enough.

    From these come the near-steady flow of Jews to the United States. And despite the disdain of the Jews by most ‘American’ Americans, they came to grab the American Dream with both hands, and contributed everything from new ideas of enterprise in retail and entertainment to becoming some of our finest physicians and lawyers. The modern United States, in spite of itself, IS The United States in part because of its Jewish blood.

    Then the Nazi Holocaust — the corralling, sorting, orderly eradication of millions of the people of Moses. Not something that other realms in other times didn’t try to do, by the way, the Germans were just more organized and had better murder technology.

    I stood in the center of Dachau for an entire day, about 15 years ago, trying to comprehend how this could have happened. I had gone there on a side trip from Munich, vaguely curious about this Dachau. I soon became engulfed in the enormity of what had occurred there nestled in this middle and working class neighborhood.

    How could human beings do this to other human beings, hear their cries, their pleas, their terror, their pain, and continue without apparently even wincing? I no longer wonder. At some times, some places, ANY sect of the human race is capable of horrors against their fellow man, whether a member of the Waffen SS, a Serbian sniper, a Turkish policeman in 1920’s Armenia, a Mississippi Klansman. Because even in the United States not all was a Rose Garden. For a long time Jews had quotas in our universities and graduate schools. Only so many Jews could be in a medical or law school at one time. Jews were disparaged widely. I remember as a kid Jewish jokes
    told without a wince – “Why do Jews have such big noses?”

    Well, now the Jews have a homeland again. A place that is theirs. And that’s the point. It doesn’t matter how many times the United States and European powers try to rein in Israel, if it comes down to survival of its nation, its people, they will fight like no lioness has ever fought to save her cubs. They will fight with a ferocity, a determination, and a skill, that will astound us.

    And many will die, mostly their attackers, I believe. If there were a macabre historical betting parlor, my money would be on the Israelis to be standing at the end. As we killed the kamikazes and the Wehrmacht soldaten of World War II, so will the Israelis kill their suicidal attackers, until there are not enough to torment them.

    The irony goes unnoticed — while we are hammering away to punish those who brought the horrors of last September here, we restrain the Israelis from the same retaliation. Not the same thing, of course — We are We, They are They. While we mourn and seethe at September 11th, we don’t notice that Israel has a September 11th sometimes every day.

    We may not notice, but it doesn’t make any difference. And it doesn’t make any difference whether you are pro-Israeli or you think Israel is the bully of the Middle East. If it comes to where a new holocaust looms — with or without the concurrence of the United States and Europe — Israel will lash out without pause or restraint at those who would try to annihilate their country.

    The Jews will not go quietly again.

    Joe McCain

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