October 07, 2007
Bill Moyers has done it again. To observe some of my fellow countrymen acting like imbeciles is disturbing. I suppose one should be inured to it by now. Still, it is deplorable. If you saw the program, you know what I am talking about. If not, it was Bill Moyers Journal from Friday, October 5th, on PBS, entitled “Endgame in the Holy Land, Christians United for Israel” followed by a discussion segment, “Israel’s new best friend, American Evangelicals”. Moyers makes an honest attempt to come to grips with the “Christian Zionists”. Just amazing. Watch the videos or read the transcripts.
For some reason, the show got me thinking about Jim Jones, the nut-case preacher and civic activist from San Francisco, who led his deluded followers into the Guyanese jungle of South America, there to commit mass suicide upon his command back in 1978. When it comes to cults and weird behavior in search of the promised land, there are serious questions of ego and ignorance to be considered, and there are no limits. Does John Hagee, the “dispensationalist” pastor who was the centerpiece of Moyers Journal, buy the bilge he is dishing up for his impressionable followers? Perhaps he does. More importantly, has Hagee registered as an agent of a foreign power? It all comes down to a lifestyle, cash flow and egomania. Hagee is expounding an aberrant offshoot of Christianity to advance militant Zionism and, of course, himself.
One problem I have with modern day Christianity is that it is open to endless interpretation. It is difficult to know how to approach it. Anyone can prestidigitate whatever he wants. Speaking as a former altar boy—one of a handful who could assist the Monsignor at a Latin high red Mass singlehandedly—this is an issue I have with Protestantism. The Anglicans aside, in the American tradition it seems that any isolated character can pick up the Bible, delve into it, and interpret the documents of the old and new testaments as he sees fit. If the individual arrives at bizarre conclusions, and decides to propagate his insights with others, he may be taken seriously.
In the extreme, this circumstance has resulted in maniacs like Jim Jones. On a different level are blowhards like John Hagee, along with a host of other hucksters, who huff and puff at various tangents. You may have noticed them on television, from time to time, as you click the remote control. Some have latched onto “Christian Zionism” which is a cracked reincarnation of the British Israelite delusion of the 19th century. At least with Roman Catholicism in days of yore, the interpretation of the holy texts was too important, too sacrosanct, to be left to amateurs. It had to be handled by wise men in the clergy, specifically and ultimately, by the Pope and the Vatican, who could say what was what. That made sense by and large. Let’s set aside the Inquisition.
I have no quarrel with another man’s religion. It is none of my business. But I do strongly object to the scheme whereby certain clowns of the “Christian Zionist” variety take it upon themselves to press a spectacular brand of idiocy, not just upon their hapless neighbors, but upon elected officials in Washington, with an eye to dictating American foreign policy on behalf of a foreign government, namely, the ethnocentric, colonial real estate enterprise known as Israel. This is a toxic concoction of religion and politics which verges on treason, presumptuous in the extreme, and is completely inappropriate. Bear in mind that Zionism is not a Jewish religious movement, and never was. It is a secular, political phenomenon.
In their frenzy, the “Christian Zionists” have smashed their moral compass. For them, the Palestinians do not exist—or if they do, they have no rights whatever in their own land. Is it a coincidence that this benighted mindset mirrors that of the well-heeled Israel Lobby? “Christian Zionists” believe that Jews from Russia, Europe and America or anywhere else, have proprietary, exclusive, God-granted rights to certain Middle East real estate, and that these self-proclaimed entitlements should be maintained by force, backed up by American “foreign aid” and the Pentagon, even if it results in nonstop conflict in the Middle East, terminating with Armageddon. Like the Likud Zionists, the “Christian Zionists” give no thought to making amends and restitution to the Palestinians for past and present transgressions by the aforementioned interlopers who arrived in Palestine from the four corners of the globe. There is simply no awareness that an indefinite military occupation of the native inhabitants is an injustice.
I must confess to feeling nothing but contempt for those who are pressing this arrogant, unbalanced agenda upon Gentile politicians in Washington, who in turn pretend to take the nonsense seriously, and act upon it, for the sole purpose of helping their chances of reelection. When it comes to good governance, there should be no religious lobbies whatsoever in Washington. Ideally, all lobbies in Washington, especially those concerned with foreign affairs, should be banished, because they are based upon bribery, racketeering and intimidation. You see the results to date. Uncle Sam has been taken to the cleaners. As for religion, I speculate that we in the West may have little choice now but to reorientate ourselves “within a world of total uncertainty”, as suggested by the English scholar, R.J. Hollingdale.