Evangelical Christian Zionists - what could be scarier?
Evan's post in Peek about Pat Robertson starting a Jesusland theme park in disputed territory in Israel inspired me to go pawing through my archive and pull out one of the best pieces on the Christo-fascist movement I've read: the two-part series "Soldiers of Christ" by Jeff Sharlet and Chris Hedges in Harper's magazine last Spring.
Here's part one, and what follows is an excerpt from part two, where Hedges goes to the convention of the National Religious Broadcasters association:
I carry my coffee across the stone courtyard to the curved glass and gleaming towers of the convention center, the largest in California. Within the exhibition hall on the first floor, 320 display booths--and, at the far end of the hall, the twisted remains of an Israeli bus blown up by Palestinian suicide bombers in Jerusalem--float on an enormous sea of soft blue carpeting. The Israeli tourism ministry has one of the largest display spaces in the hall. [Ã¢â‚¬Â¦]
Early Sunday morning, in a ballroom on the second floor of the Hilton Hotel, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism is hosting a breakfast. Several hundred people, all dressed in the appropriate skirts and business suits of American churchgoing people, are seated at round tables with baskets of bread, fruit plates, and silver pitchers of coffee. Waiters serve plates of scrambled eggs and creamed spinach. I count no more than half a dozen people who are not white. On the platform is a huge picture of the Dome of the Rock, the spot in Jerusalem where the third Temple will be rebuilt to herald, at least according to the Christians in the room, the second coming of Christ. Some 400,000 Christian tourists visit Israel each year, and, what with the precipitous decline in Israel's tourism industry in recent years, these people have become a valued source of revenue.