Beware the influence of end-times ideology on U.S. politics
By K.C. Boyd
K.C. Boyd is the author of "Being Christian, A Novel."
While America wrestles with the tragic deaths in Libya and the unrest roiling the Middle East, Christian Zionist pastors such as John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, are using the conflict to feed the ever-present fear and hatred of Muslims. Their ultimate goal apparently is to accelerate the end of the world as "foretold" in the Bible's Book of Revelation.
In 2006 Hagee founded Christians United for Israel, a pro-Israel lobbying group. That is, if impeding Mideast peace qualifies as being pro-Israel.
On the Sunday after the attacks on the consulate in Libya, Hagee, flanked by Israeli and American flags, stood before 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 prescribed Israeli territories were given to the Hebrews 6,000 years ago by God, so who is Barack Hussein Obama to demand that Israel cede a single centimeter of land to its enemy?
Flaunting the First Amendment and the U.S. tax code, Hagee urged his audience to "vote the Bible" while hawking Vote the Bible T-shirts and pins. He also encouraged his followers to participate in Forty Days of Prayer, beginning, not coincidentally, last Friday — 40 days from the U.S. election.
"God chose Jerusalem as Israel's capital," Hagee declared. "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. 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'?"
Words like these would matter little if no one were listening. But millions watch Hagee and other Christian broadcasters, and they hang on these pastors' every word. Even more significant, mega-pastors like Hagee have the ear of countless politicians who either believe as they do or who want to court their voting bloc.
The end of one of Hagee's sermons 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." Prayer. So much for diplomacy, democracy or wisdom.