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Switch to Forum Live View Christian Zionism: Worrisome Impact On US Foreign Policy?
5 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2009 - 12:07PM #1
Adelphe
Posts: 28,736

One of the more hideous manifestations of Christian eschatology (end times), is the recent emergence of a theology known as "Dispensationalism."  (This is the theology of the late Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell, Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye (of Left Behind fame), John Hagee, and various and sundry other pastoral characters (many of them regulars on TBN), one of them with a wife who has had so many facelifts that her eyebrows have circled around not once, I tell you, but no less than twice--to land in their current location.  (Okay, that's catty. Tongue out But she really is the most fascinating study! Innocent)

Among other things, Dispensationalism holds that the 1948 establishment of the nation-state of Israel is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

This idea has resulted in various permutations of fanaticism, including a pernicious movement known as Christian Zionism.

Christian Zionists are slavishly devoted to Israel (and Jewish citizens in the US and elsewhere) and various arms of this Christian (I won't put that in sneer quotes...)  "organization" fund Israel with various forms of aid and assistance.  In fact, there are organizations that fund Jewish aliyah to Israel, loading up that little piece of sandy real estate in the Middle East with as many Jewish folks they can assist in order to hurry along the return of Jesus.  (As an aside and not entirely unrelated, IM(NS)HO, Christian Zionists are corraling them to their deaths.)

"...Political analyst [CNN] Richard Allen Greene has argued that dispensationalism has had a major influence on the foreign policy of the United States. This influence has included support for the state of Israel..."(wiki)

What do you think?  Agree or disagree with Mr. Greene?  Worried about the impact the Christian Zionists are having in this area as a detriment to the ME peace process or no?

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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5 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2009 - 12:28PM #2
drawout
Posts: 5,910

I have always been amazed by this unorthadox missinterpretation of Revelations. In spite of the fact that it has no validity among accredited scholars yet it has been spread throughout Christian Bookstores and supermarkets to the exclusion of any of the usual four schools of interpretation with actual scholarly credentials.

'When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.' - Mark Twain
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5 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2009 - 8:57PM #3
TemplarS
Posts: 6,865

I agree with Drawout as to the nonsensical interpretation of Revelation; however, that is no deterent to attempts by these people to influence national policy.


Honestly, under the former neo-con administration there might have been a convergence of interests here.  The failure of those policies has been adequately  demonstrated, however, and I don't worry too much about this faction of loonies today.  There are other, more rational interests who support Israel, though, so I'm not sure that in the end US policy will be all that different.

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2009 - 6:09AM #4
Adelphe
Posts: 28,736

Jun 4, 2009 -- 12:28PM, drawout wrote:


I have always been amazed by this unorthadox missinterpretation of Revelations. In spite of the fact that it has no validity among accredited scholars yet it has been spread throughout Christian Bookstores and supermarkets to the exclusion of any of the usual four schools of interpretation with actual scholarly credentials.




Yes, it's a grotesque overly-literal interpretation.  Other geographical areas are referenced including Egypt and Babylon but you won't find dispensationalists literalizing those locations.

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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5 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2009 - 6:19AM #5
Adelphe
Posts: 28,736

Jun 4, 2009 -- 8:57PM, TemplarS wrote:


I agree with Drawout as to the nonsensical interpretation of Revelation; however, that is no deterent to attempts by these people to influence national policy.


Honestly, under the former neo-con administration there might have been a convergence of interests here.  The failure of those policies has been adequately  demonstrated, however, and I don't worry too much about this faction of loonies today.  There are other, more rational interests who support Israel, though, so I'm not sure that in the end US policy will be all that different.




I don't know, Templar.  These groups have a symbiotic relationship with both AIPAC and Israel.  In 2007, Max Blumenthal* wrote in The Huffington Post:


"On July 16, I attended Christians United for Israel's annual Washington-Israel Summit. Founded by San Antonio-based megachurch pastor John Hagee, CUFI has added the grassroots muscle of the Christian right to the already potent Israel lobby. Hagee and his minions have forged close ties with the Bush White House and members of Congress from Sen. Joseph Lieberman to Sen. John McCain. In its call for a unilateral military attack on Iran and the expansion of Israeli territory, CUFI has found unwavering encouragement from traditional pro-Israel groups like AIPAC and elements of the Israeli government...


...I have covered the Christian right intensely for over four years. During this time, I attended dozens of Christian right conferences, regularly monitored movement publications and radio shows, and interviewed scores of its key leaders. I have never witnessed any spectacle as politically extreme, outrageous, or bizarre as the one Christians United for Israel produced last week in Washington. See for yourself."


*"Max Blumenthal is an American investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker. His work has been featured in NPR, MSNBC, The Nation,[1], the Washington Monthly, The American Prospect, The Huffington Post,[2], Salon, and Media Matters.[3] He is the son of former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal.

He is a fellow at the New York-based Nation Institute and research fellow for Media Matters for America[4] as well as a contributor to The Daily Beast."

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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5 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2009 - 10:41AM #6
BBarton
Posts: 1,670

Here is what I have been hearing for 40 years; were entering the last days, we are in the last days.  I think Bush the 2nd made many of his decisions thinking he would be the last President, from swallowing all the hype they've been spewing most our lives.


And I'm not saying they're totally wrong.  We've got over 6 billion ppl on the planet putting a sour spot in Mother nature's belly.  I think it's more along the lines of REM's "It's the end of the world, ... AS WE KNOW it".


For many in my own family, Israel can do no wrong and Palestinians have no redeeming value.  They don't state it like that though.  Oh yeah, they accuse Arabs of worshipping another god, even while the other side of their mouths say there is only one God!

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2009 - 11:46AM #7
TemplarS
Posts: 6,865

Well, Obama and the Democrats will surely not listen to these fundamentalists, but historically they have listened to AIPAC.


Anyhow, it is promising that Obama at least promises to stay continuously engaged in the peace discussions. 


We do have leverage with Israel; the policy on the settlements is the first place to apply this leverage, presumably Obama did this with Netanyahu.   We have less influence on the other side, but there is a path here, with Obama reaching out to other Muslims in the region, who then might have influence with the Palestinians. 


There is probably a short window here; the reason Hamas has support is that many Palestinians have no hope for any other path forward.  It is admittedly a soft approach, but if Obama can open a window of hope, it opens other possibilities.  The basic form of a two-state settlement is not that difficult to discern. But there is no trust on either side, so a great fear of taking the steps necessary to implement this.  So it really is less a matter of hard negotiating than the softer aspects of hope and trust.  If Obama has any chance of succeeding it is on that basis.


 

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 06, 2009 - 4:28PM #8
Adelphe
Posts: 28,736

Jun 5, 2009 -- 10:41AM, BBarton wrote:


Here is what I have been hearing for 40 years; were entering the last days, we are in the last days.  I think Bush the 2nd made many of his decisions thinking he would be the last President, from swallowing all the hype they've been spewing most our lives.


And I'm not saying they're totally wrong.  We've got over 6 billion ppl on the planet putting a sour spot in Mother nature's belly.  I think it's more along the lines of REM's "It's the end of the world, ... AS WE KNOW it".


For many in my own family, Israel can do no wrong and Palestinians have no redeeming value.  They don't state it like that though.  Oh yeah, they accuse Arabs of worshipping another god, even while the other side of their mouths say there is only one God!




Hi BB,


When you refer to those in your family, are they Christian?  Is that why?  Or do they uncritically defend Israel's actions for other reasons?

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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5 years ago  ::  Jun 06, 2009 - 4:39PM #9
Adelphe
Posts: 28,736

Jun 5, 2009 -- 11:46AM, TemplarS wrote:


Well, Obama and the Democrats will surely not listen to these fundamentalists, but historically they have listened to AIPAC.


Anyhow, it is promising that Obama at least promises to stay continuously engaged in the peace discussions. 


We do have leverage with Israel; the policy on the settlements is the first place to apply this leverage, presumably Obama did this with Netanyahu.   We have less influence on the other side, but there is a path here, with Obama reaching out to other Muslims in the region, who then might have influence with the Palestinians. 


There is probably a short window here; the reason Hamas has support is that many Palestinians have no hope for any other path forward.  It is admittedly a soft approach, but if Obama can open a window of hope, it opens other possibilities.  The basic form of a two-state settlement is not that difficult to discern. But there is no trust on either side, so a great fear of taking the steps necessary to implement this.  So it really is less a matter of hard negotiating than the softer aspects of hope and trust.  If Obama has any chance of succeeding it is on that basis.


 




The US appears not to be budging an inch on settlement freezes--not for Israel's stance that the freeze doesn't apply to increases in population growth, either.


From the Jerusalem Post's perspective...


"...OBAMA'S DECISION to personally confront Netanyahu on settlements, his  decision to avoid Israel during his tour of the Middle East, and a National  Public Radio interview in which he described his policy as merely being  "honest" which invoked the specter of an "even-handed" approach to the conflict  (which under the circumstances means Israel will be left without an ally), all  ought to worry friends of Israel.


This apparent decision of the White House to emphasize outreach to the Muslim  world while de-emphasizing the alliance with Israel might be a political risk  for Obama. But Netanyahu, the Likud and the settlements are all unpopular among  American Jews. Even more to the point, Obama's camp believes the loyalty of Jews  to the  Democratic Party and its very popular leader may now outweigh the  vestigial ethno-religious pull of affection for the Jewish state..."

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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5 years ago  ::  Jun 20, 2009 - 4:25PM #10
Mlyons619
Posts: 16,572

This thread was moved from the Hot Topics Zone


Note that while a relaxed (site-wide) ROC standard applied to the discussion on that forum, the tighter forum ROCs -- together with all posting guidelines for this forum -- apply to discussion on this thread from this point forward.


 
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