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Armageddon: Pence, Israel and the Evangelicals

On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence delivers the keynote speech at the annual summit of Christians United for Israel.

Pence once again pledged that the Trump administration would move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, this time to Christian supporters of Israel who have become increasingly restive at President Donald Trump’s failure to make good on his campaign promised for Israel — signaling what some see as a new ideological shift for the White House.

“His speech marks a fundamental change in the language that the White House has historically employed to articulate the United States’ relationship with Israel,” Dan Hummel a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, wrote in the Washington Post. That fundamental change is towards Christian Zionism, an ideology that bases its political support for Israel on the belief that the modern state of Israel is a manifestation of prophecies in the Bible — and that the very fate of the United States is prophetically linked with Israel. Hummel describes Pence as “ardent Christian Zionist” who expresses his support for Israel in explicitly prophetic terms. His appearance at the summit “signals a new era of Christian Zionist influence in the White House.”

The recognition of Jerusalem as the sole capital of Israel is far more than symbolic. In effect it denies the idea, and the purpose, of the peace process, a two State solution. The peace process on which that concept was paramount is now unachievable. President Abbas of the Palestine Authority has acknowledged as much. The Palestinian’s are convinced now that the United States can never be an honest broker, or neutral moderator. Although the United States has never been a truly dispassionate moderator. The political influence of Israel has made honest dealings impossible, but that duplicity is painfully obvious only now. The only hope for the Palestinians’ is a gradual inclusion of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza into what all will become a single entity, Israel. A most unlikely outcome. The Israeli’s will never acquiesce to allow Palestinian Moslem’s or Christian’s citizenship, and voting rights, in what is now proclaimed by Netanyahu as the Jewish State.

Netanyahu is of the unshakable belief that he has been chosen by God to lead the Jewish people of Israel. Although he had better hurry. He is now under his fourth investigation for corruption and malfeasance in office.

Mike Pence favorite biblical passage, (Mckay Coppins, The Atlantic, Jan/Feb. 2018 )“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Pence like Netanyahu is equally blessed with God’s grace, although seemingly at cross purpose.

Pence is a willing, servile foil to Trump, but his wife Karen is not amused (The Atlantic, Jan/Feb 2018) “She finds him reprehensible—just totally vile,” a campaign aide said.

When the United States recognized the capital of Israel to be Jerusalem we do so, at least in part, to summon the Messiah and begin preparation for the battle at Armageddon. That is what the Christian Zionists believe, and have relentlessly demanded of the administration. Armageddon is to be the final battle to rid the world of all non-Christians Zionists. The bible tells us Jesus will be back to fix it all.

The Moslems, the Jews, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Shintos, the Animists, the Voodooists, the Catholics, agnostics, and atheists,  et al, will be converted to the Christian Zionists legions of the Lord, The Messiah, Jesus Christ will prevail and undo all evil that now befalls us.

But first they believe ancient Israel must be made whole and unencumbered by Moslem heretics in order to fulfill the biblical prophecy of Christ’s return to earth.

Once the land of Israel is made whole and pure, a series of cataclysmic events, yet to be discovered, will ensure the second coming. That second coming however does not bode well for the Israeli’s according to the Christian Zionist liturgy. Israel will sadly be no more. Israel will be destroyed during this apocalypse. Jesus distressed that the Jews did not regard him as the Messiah will kill all Jews who refuse to convert to Christianity, or more precisely Christian Zionism. Jesus it seems is not one to turn the other cheek when slighted.

If you believe otherwise, if you believe that Biblical prophesies as interpreted by the Christian Zionists are lunacy, you are in the helpless majority. Because the Christian right has extraordinary influence in the administration of President Trump and Mike Pence. Pence is one of their number. He does not attempt to hide this; he is quite deliberate in his public discussions of his re-birth, and his salvation. He was saved from a life of excess, it seems, when he embraced the rigorous teachings of the Christian Zionists. Or perhaps he realized that an Irish Catholic in Indiana did not have a chance in hell to win an election.

The Christian Zionists managed, through the positioning of Mike Pence in the White House an incredible measure of influence over perhaps the most powerful nation on this earth. They believe that only the apocalypse will purify the souls of the heretics, and the United States shall be that instrument which brings forth God’s wrath. The great resources, the military might, of the United States is part of the divine plan to bring the Apocalypse upon us.

The late Jerry Falwell, their former leader, said publicly he believed Mohammad the Prophet was evil and a terrorist. That is why Christian Zionists support Israel in their struggles with the largely Moslem Palestinians and the greater Arab world.

George Bush, the reborn, was another true believer. He made no effort to stop the late Ariel Sharon’s furious attempts to drive the Palestinians from the occupied territories. Sharon wanted to restore the ancient Hebrew Kingdom, by annexing the West Bank and Gaza, which he referred to as Judea and Samaria, ancient provinces of biblical Israel. George Bush made no effort to protect the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, then under siege in his headquarters in Ramallah, because the Evangelicals told him not to. Nor did Bush pursue the peace process beyond lip service to satisfy their preference.

Netanyahu is now accomplishing what Sharon failed to do. Israel is continuing to expand through large scale settlements deep into the Palestinian territories without objection, or even notice, from the Trump administration.  And they will have their capitol.

Donald Trump, whose only god is Mammon, will do no less than his Republican predecessor for profit. The Republican Party leans heavily on the Christian Right for both cash, and votes. They have a profound effect on the direction of the party, even if it now seems to be more Theocratic than political.  The Christian Zionists are most likely to vote, and are generous contributors. They are the base of the new Republican theocracy. Trump knows this and is also quite aware that their influence is particularly crucial to winning the Senatorial contest in Alabama. Despite Roy Moore’s tarnished reputation recent pooling shows forty percent of them continue to firmly support him and the balance remain undecided.

These same pious people, who await the coming of Christ, find nothing wrong with murdering doctors who perform abortions. These virtuous people are the same people who have condemned homosexuals as sexual deviants, (Pence as characterized by Trump would like “to hang them all”) they will never give women the right to an abortion. And are not keen on the transgender, same sex marriage or any number of yet unknown religious imperatives they may hold quietly. These devout people regard all other religious beliefs as heresy deserved of censure or worse.

They do not want not want peace with the Palestinian’s or any others who follow Islam. The Palestinian’s have no place in Biblical Israel. The Christian/Zionists want the Palestinian’s gone to purify the nascent Kingdom of Israel.

What is of some concern is that we have a President who will concede to what a few deluded people believe as biblical prophecy for the sake of winning an election. What is more worrisome is that we have a President who just might believe this nonsense.

Morgan Strong a former professor of Middle Eastern History was a consultant to 60 Minutes on the Middle East. He has written for Playboy, USA Today, Vanity Fair, and many other publications.

 

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