Face of the Future?

September 21, 2006 | By | 2 Replies More

http://www.jhm.org/home-new.asp

One of the difficulties of carrying on dialogue with some folks is the cloying urge to stop being polite and just explode with a perfunctory “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!?”  This is my reaction when I hear or read enough of the kind of thing to be found on the above link to Pastor John Hagee’s website.  Pastor Hagee operates a little ministry in Texas–18,000 parishioners or so–and a global network interconnecting various fundamentalist ministries.  I recently listened to an interview on NPR (Fresh Air) with this gentleman and by the time it was over I was white-knuckling the steering wheel and trying to figure out how to mentally drive my voice through the radio back to the studio and ask that perfectly rhetorical question.

When you go to the site, there’s a link for BELIEFS.  Run down the list and you see a compendium of everything that makes debate with these folks so hard.

Hard, firstly, because we who are not caught up in this kind of Through-The-Looking-Glass psychosis tend to be polite.  We want to give people the benefit of the doubt.  We wish to carry on civil dialogue.  We don’t like making a scene.

Hard secondly because, well, where do you begin?

They have set up a situation wherein disagreeing with their “beliefs” or any point of them puts you in a category for them of “unreliable” or “mistaken” or, if you persist long enough, “evil.”  They won’t exactly call you that to your face, but suddenly you find yourself faced with either a peculiar kind of condescencion–the sort reserved for small children who haven’t figured out the true nature of Santa or the Tooth Fairy–or a sharp ostracism.  A door slams shut and the argument–if there ever was one–is over.

Was a time, perhaps, when this was just one of those peculiar human foibles one ran across occasionally and you were the one relegating them to a special category.  The trouble with that now is–

This guy has breakfast with the president of the United States.  It is Hagee’s organization that represents one of the largest voting blocks for the current crop of Republicans in office.  These folks are influencing policy.

One of the things Hagee runs is a little club called Christians United For Israel.  A lot of money and time flow into this and it has a strong lobby presence in Washington.  Its purpose is to support the existence of Israel and help them in their struggle against those who would see Israel destroyed.  Why?  Because Israel must exist before Jesus returns.  It’s in the Bible.  Israel must be REAL before the Second Coming can happen, and these folks very badly want the Rapture.

This is one of the bases for current American policy toward the Middle East.

This is one of the reasons talks on our part keep breaking down.  Sure, Syria has done some unpleasant things.  Sure, we have a problem with Iran.  Sure, the Palestinian Authority can’t seem to control its own people.  But the real reason Bush won’t talk to any of them is that all past negotiations center on the Roadmap for Peace, which is a land for peace initiative, which is seen to diminish and divide Israel–which, according to the Bible, we cannot do because Yahweh won’t like it! 

This is part of that delightfully sensitive statement by Pat Robertson on the occasion of Ariel Sharon’s stroke, that god had done that because Sharon was going to give away “his” land.

And the reasoning behind this?  If we divide Israel, it will delay Armageddon and the Last Days and Hagee and his crowd won’t be Raptured Away.

Like I said, the problem is, where do you begin?  If someone really believes this stuff, where do you start to unravel the insanity?

True, at one time this would have look like the very acme of reason…several centuries ago.  (Though one wonders just how much those folks really believed it?  After all, when Europeans actually did seize Jerusalem and plant a colony in the Levant, they didn’t try to reinstate Israel.  Presumably they had the same Bible Hagee did, so how come they didn’t try to hasten Rapture?)

This has become the face staring back at us from a future that will make less and less sense.  I suggest it is time to stop being polite and call crazy crazy. 

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Category: American Culture, Culture, Current Events, Education, Good and Evil, Religion, The Middle East, War

About the Author ()

Mark is a writer and musician living in the St. Louis area. He hit puberty at the peak of the Sixties and came of age just as it was all coming to a close with the end of the Vietnam War. He was annoyed when bellbottoms went out of style, but he got over it.

Comments (2)

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    I've seen "Dr." Hagee on TBN — Trinity Broadcast Network — which broadcasts the most radical evangelical garbage I've ever seen. "Dr." Hagee is the recipient of two honorary doctorate degrees — the first from Oral Roberts "university" and the second from an Israeli college, no doubt in thanks for his generous donations.

    After seeing this bozo and his brain-dead followers in action, I'm convinced that it's a complete waste of time to try to reason with folks like that. The only thing to do is to try to contain the pathogen and hope it runs its course before it infects too many victims.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Where do we begin? Amen. That is a great question. It was so hard for me to decide where to begin that I started this blog. I knew that no single statement, and not even a well written book, could begin to capture the problem much less suggest any comprehensive solution. Not that we've gotten very far yet other than to recognize that something is very wrong with our country.

    Psychosis, indeed! Let’s start with this: Hagee's people are the sorts of people for whom this sort of bloody Biblical rampage is perfectly compatible with a kindly fatherly Creator. Where can you go from there? It's like trying to base a conversation on a suggestion that there is a squared circle.

    Yes, I agree entirely with your suggestion that the current U.S. position on Israel, a position for which we are paying dearly, is theocratically driven.

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