Jump to content
The Education Forum

The Christian Right and Israel


John Simkin
 Share

Recommended Posts

Why is it the Christian Right in the United States always supports Israel. A clue could come from Sarah Palin's membership of the Assembly Church of God in Wasilla and to her own pastor, Ed Kalnins, who recently made a speech about "the end of days", an idea in which millions of American evangelical Christians sincerely believe. According to Kalnins, the Jewish people must be gathered into the Land of Israel as a preliminary to Armageddon. When that vast conflict comes the Jews will be converted, or possibly annihilated, and it will be followed by the Rapture.

Already Kalnins sees "the storm clouds are gathering" through conflict in the Middle East: "Scripture specifically mentions oil instability as a sign of the Rapture. We're seeing more and more oil wars. The contractions of the fulfilment of prophecies are getting tighter and tighter." And he hopes to witness the Rapture soon. "I'm just looking at the turmoil of the world, Iraq, other places - everywhere people are fighting against Christ," he says. Since Palin is one of his flock, she presumably believes this too. She certainly believes that Jesus told us to invade Iraq: she said so from the pulpit.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/20...istianity-palin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Already Kalnins sees "the storm clouds are gathering" through conflict in the Middle East: "Scripture specifically mentions oil instability as a sign of the Rapture.

Predictions that the "end of times" was imminent date back at least to the year 999 when some predicted Rapture would take place 1/1/1000. I remember a weird group in NYC which gave out flyers. They derived an odd date, I don't remember the exact one, let say Oct. 14 1991. I called on Oct 15 but there was no answer.

It's frightening that such people have such political influence. It is my understanding that most Israelis are weary of them

Edited by Len Colby
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking of Israel...

When do you think they will launch a pre-emptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, and what will the US do in response?

If the dispute between Iran and Israel regarding these facilities continue, then I'm betting on Christmas Day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Stephen Turner
Why is it the Christian Right in the United States always supports Israel. A clue could come from Sarah Palin's membership of the Assembly Church of God in Wasilla and to her own pastor, Ed Kalnins, who recently made a speech about "the end of days", an idea in which millions of American evangelical Christians sincerely believe. According to Kalnins, the Jewish people must be gathered into the Land of Israel as a preliminary to Armageddon. When that vast conflict comes the Jews will be converted, or possibly annihilated, and it will be followed by the Rapture.

Already Kalnins sees "the storm clouds are gathering" through conflict in the Middle East: "Scripture specifically mentions oil instability as a sign of the Rapture. We're seeing more and more oil wars. The contractions of the fulfilment of prophecies are getting tighter and tighter." And he hopes to witness the Rapture soon. "I'm just looking at the turmoil of the world, Iraq, other places - everywhere people are fighting against Christ," he says. Since Palin is one of his flock, she presumably believes this too. She certainly believes that Jesus told us to invade Iraq: she said so from the pulpit.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/20...istianity-palin

Personel belief in the end of days, and true believers being "raptured" up to sit with God whilst Armageddon takes place is a harmless fantasy, its ceases being harmless when one of the believers potentially, has their fingers on the "cue the end of the World button" Didn't Ronald Regan believe in this as well?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Christians in the USA are generally more willing to apply their private religious beliefs to public life than happens in Britain. The Reverend Jim Wallis in 'God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It' (2004) has questioned whether Christians in the USA should always subscribe to a Right Wing agenda, and to some extent also questioned whether in fact they do so.

However, although applying private religious belief to politics is often frowned upon in the UK, it needs to be said that it is not necessarily a bad thing per se. The idea that faith and politics should be kept in different compartments was held even more strongly in Germany in the 1930's, with tragic results.

Ideas from the Christian Right in the United States, funded by people with a political rather than a religious agenda, are having an increasing impact on Christian churches in the United Kingdom. One example is the spread of the idea of 'Intelligent Design' in Britain - where Darwinism had, generally speaking, been accepted by Christians without a fuss. The acceptability of Intelligent Design in the UK has now reached the point where I suspect science teachers will be obliged to encourage discussion on it whether they really wish to or not. Another example of apparently changing British attitudes was shown on a recent TV programme about Faith Schools: a Mathematics textbook that children were using gave '6000 years' as the correct answer to to the question 'How old is the earth?'

Christian beliefs about the future have multiplied exponentially since the Reformation made the Bible more available, ideas concerning Israel and Armageddon among them. Churches actually split on this issue at the end of the 19th Century, notably the Baptists.

Since then theologians have begun to come to the rescue. (When I was at university I did sometimes wonder what they did all day.) Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham, has written about how Christians should think about the future in a book called 'Surprised by hope'. Unsurprisingly there's nothing in it about undertaking military training in preparation for the Last Battle, and there is a good deal about building a better world now.

More specifically Richard Bauckham (a leading expert on the Book of Revelation whom I have heard give a lecture recently) has demolished any notion that either the Book of Revelation or the Book of Daniel have anything specific to say about the future of the modern state of Israel or wars that will happen there. So, where common sense has apparently not alerted certain Christians to the idea that looking forward to a nuclear war in the Middle East is not a good thing, modern theology might. Richard Bauckham has also suggested that the blame for spreading muddled Christian thinking about the future should be placed on the television series 'Taken'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Christians in the USA are generally more willing to apply their private religious beliefs to public life than happens in Britain. The Reverend Jim Wallis in 'God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It' (2004) has questioned whether Christians in the USA should always subscribe to a Right Wing agenda, and to some extent also questioned whether in fact they do so.

However, although applying private religious belief to politics is often frowned upon in the UK, it needs to be said that it is not necessarily a bad thing per se. The idea that faith and politics should be kept in different compartments was held even more strongly in Germany in the 1930's, with tragic results.

Ideas from the Christian Right in the United States, funded by people with a political rather than a religious agenda, are having an increasing impact on Christian churches in the United Kingdom. One example is the spread of the idea of 'Intelligent Design' in Britain - where Darwinism had, generally speaking, been accepted by Christians without a fuss. The acceptability of Intelligent Design in the UK has now reached the point where I suspect science teachers will be obliged to encourage discussion on it whether they really wish to or not. Another example of apparently changing British attitudes was shown on a recent TV programme about Faith Schools: a Mathematics textbook that children were using gave '6000 years' as the correct answer to to the question 'How old is the earth?'

Christian beliefs about the future have multiplied exponentially since the Reformation made the Bible more available, ideas concerning Israel and Armageddon among them. Churches actually split on this issue at the end of the 19th Century, notably the Baptists.

Since then theologians have begun to come to the rescue. (When I was at university I did sometimes wonder what they did all day.) Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham, has written about how Christians should think about the future in a book called 'Surprised by hope'. Unsurprisingly there's nothing in it about undertaking military training in preparation for the Last Battle, and there is a good deal about building a better world now.

More specifically Richard Bauckham (a leading expert on the Book of Revelation whom I have heard give a lecture recently) has demolished any notion that either the Book of Revelation or the Book of Daniel have anything specific to say about the future of the modern state of Israel or wars that will happen there. So, where common sense has apparently not alerted certain Christians to the idea that looking forward to a nuclear war in the Middle East is not a good thing, modern theology might. Richard Bauckham has also suggested that the blame for spreading muddled Christian thinking about the future should be placed on the television series 'Taken'.

The framers of the Constitution, sought to keep the types of controversies and manipulation of religion for political purposes out of America, by the separation of Church and State. Once a certain amount of intrusions into this area combines with the ascension of a particular type of extremist political or religious view dominates a culture, the inevitable result is what happened in earlier epochs, see The Jewish Holocaust, or the slaughter of the Armenians, in the preceding period.

Common sense, while a stabilizing force in the real world, has been anachronistic in American politics for at least the last several decades. Whether it has been the insertion of political lobbyist's as a dominating institution in Washington or the continued use of war as a means to perpetuating hegemony are villified as evil by many Americans, yet they are essential features in our culture.

Many people, even in the sphere of religion have argued that if, the separation of church and state is an essential component in a democratic society, then it is even more incumbent that that separation be maintained in the sphere of Foreign Policy, if the world were to end in a nuclear exchange, it might be less insane if that did not happen because it was part of America's manifest destiny that we didn't trigger the very Armageddon that is so often talked about, by standing by our ally in the Middle East to the bitter end.

If the last sentence sounds like insanity to you, I can assure you that there are many quote religious leaders, unquote who feel the same way, although you don't seem to see them in the media unless it is on Public Broadcasting, occasionally.

Edited by Robert Howard
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...