Christian Zionist Lies
David Brog, the executive director of Christians United for Israel, took great exception to Max Blumenthal's recent story in the Nation.
In a response letter Brog takes issue with the portrayal of his organization as extremists, when in fact, Brog only cemented Blumenthal's point -- offending Christian/Jewish history in the process.
Blumenthal's original article only used the word "extremist" once, and that in reference to John Hagee's rhetoric. That Brog got the sense of extremism from the article is likely because the mirror he looked into reflected just that. Last month, CUFI founder, John Hagee, who has the ear of Republic National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman, demanded that:
"the United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West... a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ."
Extremist is a slippery term and most extremists don't fancy themselves such. But this view, by almost any definition, would rate. Perhaps Brog felt that the face he showed Blumenthal was so moderately contructed and didn't warrant any more than the kid gloves treatment Brog expects from most media.
But what I take issue with most strongly is his revisionist history, so prevalent in right wing circles. Here's Brog's quote:
Christian Zionists are the theological progeny of the religious righteous gentiles who saved Jews from the Holocaust, and true to their creed, they are seeking to stand with the Jews against current threats to their existence.
Sounds logical... too bad it's not true.
This deeply offensive sleight of hand fits into the movement to repackage the Founding Fathers, Abolition, and the Civil Rights Movement as right wing victories. In fact, they were not. These movements all fought against right wing orthodoxy.
The religious righteous gentiles, most of whom were Lutheran Evangelicals, were not right wing Christians and indeed would hardly be recognizable as coreligionists to today's conservative Evangelicals.
I'm not contending that they were liberal or progressive Christians either; just that they were mostly intellectuals who did not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, promoted ecumenism, believed in science and the enlightenment, were for peace and against nuclear arsenals, abhorred authoritarianism and put no stock in eschatology -- or End Times mythology.
When Luther himself translated the Bible into German he was ambivalent about the Book of Revelation, eventually opting to include it only as an appendix.
The religious righteous gentiles were led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was ultimately executed for his deeply conflicted participation in an attempt to assassinate Hitler. Bonhoeffer's and Barth's and Martin Niemoeller's Confessing Church bravely opposed the Nazi regime right from the start. Their theological basis for opposing Hitler and protecting Jews was rooted in the teachings of Jesus -- something the theology of Christian Zionism is most emphatically not. Brog's and Hagee's theology is born of apocalyptic passages of the New Testament which do not concern themselves with Jesus' words or ideas.
In fact, Conservative Christian efforts to merge with the government would put it much closer to the state-sponsored Evangelical Church of the German Nation which Barth, Bonhoeffer and the rest of the Confessing Church so vigorously opposed.