Profit And Prophecy: Behind The Religious Right’s Support For Israel

end-times-620x407As I write this, Hamas is busy launching rockets from Gaza toward Israel, and Israeli jets are busy turning parts of Gaza into piles of rubble. I have family in Israel, and they all live within reach of the Hamas rockets. Now, I’m not going to turn this article into a who is right and who is wrong debate. All I have to say that the majority of those people (both in Gaza and in Israel) affected by this recent chapter in the simmering conflict are the unfortunate victims caught in the middle of a battle between extremists on both sides.

Like Syria, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea and others are/were proxy wars pitting the West versus Russia and/or China, Hamas vs the IDF is a proxy war pitting fundamentalist Christianity and Judaism versus Islam. Every time the ongoing conflict in Israel hits the news, people like Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and other fundamentalist Christians get a tingly feeling in that dark, empty place their soul should be.

Israel vs Hamas and Hezbollah is an extension of the feud between Israel and Iran, which is also wrapped in with the West vs. fundamentalist Islam. Ideology and greed make for strange alliances and this is especially true of the current partnership involving the American military-industrial complex, oil interests and fundamentalist Christianity. For all three, conflict in the Middle East serves a purpose. For the first two, it is profit but for those who subscribe to an extreme and twisted form of Christ’s teachings, they see it as the fulfilling of a prophecy – and there’s some financial profit involved as well.

Take for example, Hal Lindsey. Hal Lindsey has been preaching the shrill “Jesus is coming any day now” message for the past few decades, and guess who his fellow columnist over at WingnutWorldNetDaily is?

Hal Lindsey, a Texas-based evangelist famous for his 1970 treatise, The Late Great Planet Earth, has been beating the Damascus drum for years. He addressed the subject head-on in a 2008 column at WorldNetDaily (where Santorum is also a columnist), inspired by fears that then-President-elect Obama might bring the world closer to a war between Israel and Iran.

As Lindsey explained, the prophesied ruination of Damascus did not mean the end for everyone else—it would just bring the world one step closer to the final confrontation. “[A]ccording to Bible prophecy, Iran survives the Israeli strike and plays a major role in the coming Russian-led Gog-Magog Alliance foretold by the Prophet Ezekiel,” he wrote. “Israel also survives, since the Gog-Magog Alliance eventually marches against it.” (Source)

Yes, you read that right. Rick “Frothy” Santorum, the failed 2012 GOP presidential candidate, Dan Savage’s whipping boy, and former senator from Pennsylvania. Like Hal Lindsey and others, Santorum subscribes to an extremely conservative, conspiracy-minded form of Christianity which is obvious over at WingNutDaily. This movement includes members of multiple denominations, including Catholics like Santorum, as well as members of various anti-government movements and white nationalists.

The common thread running through this coalition is a paranoid mistrust of government and a belief in a Middle East timeline of events which lead up to the return of Christ, also known as “end times prophecy.” This example from The Christian Post is just one out of many that show how married fundamentalist Christians are to the need for conflict in the Middle East, because they believe that this is the only way to fulfill prophecies.

Thus, this Middle East shake-up is part of God’s plan to align the region with an end-times treaty with Israel and with a brief period in which world leaders will believe “peace and security” has, at long last, been achieved. (So, in the near future, when the media proclaim that we have entered a new world; we will know better. But we will also realize Christ’s coming for us is very near.) (Source)

This is why we see such support for conflicts in the Middle East from the religious right and other members of this coalition. It isn’t because of a humanitarian concern, otherwise you’d see these same people flocking to help the refugees on our borders. There is a vested interest in a continuation and escalation of conflict. It is for profit and prophecy, and when you couple religious fanatics with industrial profiteers, it’s a recipe for disaster.


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  • Eg Kbbs

    I find it interesting that the preaching of these folks today seem to look at the past of the USA as a time of godliness. Yet, if you listen and read the sermons of 50 years ago and 100 years ago, the focus was the same then: how America has abandoned God and will experience swift retribution.

    • surfjac

      Gotta’ keep the flock in shock or the magic doesn’t work.

      • Stephen Barlow

        LOL. ‘flock in shock”.

  • MLR

    I’m not an extremist, I’m actually very liberal but I do believe we are living in the end of times right now. Call me crazy.

    • MCM

      You and the rest of the God botherers are crazy!!!!

    • Michael Doyle

      You CRAZEE!

    • Avatar

      Probably yes. But I’m crazy too for believing that too. America are burning, we just doesn’t feel the actual fire yet.

      • ted

        you should learn English before the world ends

      • Avatar

        So what?!? It’s my third language.

    • surfjac

      It’s about time!

  • Avatar

    Good thing McCain or Romney aren’t our President. They’d be sending our men and women to pound Giza by any means from land, water, and air forces. Because of that, Giza bombing would be costing more than any of wars in past 114 years combined, sending our national debt into black hole mode.

    • surfjac

      Yep, WWIII for thee and me.

    • Stephen Barlow

      It’s how we got here…. AND all the nations we have been selling arms to since th Big One… would be using them on us. but that wouldn’t matter as the prophesy would be forced into fulfillment and Bush and Romney can be all gay and happy in heaven.

  • Asher B. Garber

    I think you’re misrepresenting the Israeli perspective. This is a secular country, and while there may be religious people in government (Netanyahu is not particularly religious; a fellow by the name Avigdor Lieberman is) this isn’t a battle between extremes right now. Yes, Hamas are extremists. Yes, they are holding the entire enclave of Gaza hostage by their unrelenting and completely illogical attempts at making Israel look like the heavy. But Israel is responding as any secular country would. They are trying to stop rockets by bombing rocket sites. They are not trying to kill Palestinians. If they were, do you really believe the death toll would be less than 200 after 8 days?

    It would be great if the media would concentrate on some other numbers than the final death tally. Like, how many bombing missions has Israel run? How many of those sites contained missiles? How many missiles has Israel claimed to have destroyed? After all, that is the purpose of these missions. Not death and destruction but to stop the missiles.

    It’s logical to view Israel as a religious country, but Israel is not run by religious zealots. Israel is run by political parties — at least 10 of them, 5 of which are Arab political parties, and one of which has a minister in the Knesset who speaks out for Hamas, of all people.

    Yeah, it’s so easy peasy to complicate things by insisting on the simplest excuse. But that excuse is false, and instead you make the issue that much more confusing for others.

    • Stephen Barlow

      I think you forget the technical enslavement and embargo of the Palestinian people by the Jews. They usurp the land, in defiance of their own treaties and national laws and blockade the innocents they are exploiting.

      The excuse is rocket attacks indiscriminently falling on the Israel of the Nuclear Threat. But more often than not, the retaliations, if NOT engaged in, would cease the attacks.

      But you are right, israel is NOt fighting a religious war. Neither is iran, for all it’s hype. Sure they are in Jihad… but it’s not about religious differences, it’s about how favored one Tribe of Abraham has been by the US (and the west) over the first born tribe of Abraham.

      • Asher B. Garber

        There is so much hyperbole in your first paragraph, I’m just going to respond with this. Number 1, you equate Israel with “the Jews.” Israel is Israel, a home to multiple religions. I am a Jew. I don’t live in Israel. I support Israel, but I have nothing to, and not affected outside of emotion, by the actual politics of (wait for it) ISRAEL.

        Those people attacking Israel are also killing non-Jews, and the attackers don’t care. And I don’t just say that about Hamas but how about America’s own batch of terrorists? Specifically the guy who ambushed the JCC in Kansas City. That attacker is THRILLED to have killed 4 people, even if they were Methodists. So get that straight.

        Number 2, Israel left Gaza in 2005. The rocket barrage started then. Since then, 10000 rockets have been shot by Hamas and IJ into Israel — Sderot, mostly, which happens to be a part of the original UN split in 1947. So…. those missiles are because of Occupation? How is that?

        Rhetorical question, btw. You haven’t shown me you’re worth wasting all the energy of a well written and thought out response. Get some education, dude. Seriously, whomever sold you that pack of goods you call Middle East punditry was a fraud.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Well, sorry you feel offended, but Israel was DESIGNED and confiscated and redistributed SPECIFICALLY as a Jewish State. The fact they WHEN they confiscated it via terrorist bombing campaigns and guilt tripping the Allies, there were non jews living peacefully there for centuries is really a VERY MOOOT POINT.

        Their ROckets are STILL landing on Gaza and I don’t remember a single LAND ANNEXATION, kibbutz or Jewish ‘settlement’ being returned to their rightful owners… EVER!!!!

        Many Israeli company have no real estate expenses and pay slave labor wages to Palestinians who live near the confiscated lands the factories have been built on. Soda Stream, Teva Pharmaceuticals.. others…

      • Asher B. Garber

        You have so little clue as to the beginnings of Israel’s modern existence. Same General Assembly that created Pakistan and India created Israel. Oh, and Jordan was developed as a Jew-free Palestine. And the story goes on and on and on, but you don’t want to know. You want to spew and rage and carry on because you’re the real liberal?

        Sorry you insulted me by castigating Israel as a beast of the Devil? Up yours, Dude.

      • Asher B. Garber

        If anybody is interested, they can read a bunch of post-World War I through post-World War II Israeli nation building history in books like From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters who was a NY Times journalist trying to find the origins of the Arab-Jew conflict. You may not agree with her thesis, but she has hundreds of pages of references and materials that break down the autonomy efforts from when Palestine was a part of the Ottoman Empire through when France and England took it over and began creating various nation-states for the inhabitants. This is where the notion of Divide-and-Conquer comes through. It’s an important part of World History, and if you are so deeply disturbed by today’s actions, then it would behoove to brush up on the full history. This isn’t about fairy tales; this is about the human spirit and nomadic cultures trying to find peace and a home for their future generations.

      • will

        Sorry. You are not correct. Stephen absolutely is. Israel no longer holds the moral high ground. Its quite sad really.

      • buricco

        In modern history did Israel EVER hold the moral high ground?

        Wasn’t that land promised to the Palestinians, and one day before it was going to be turned over, the immigrants who had teemed in during WW2 stole the land from them?

      • Asher B. Garber

        Thanks, Will. How convincing. 3 sentences for you to proclaim the “moral high ground” of cheap canards and baseless historical claims. As mentioned, if you really do care, you would read a book about it, and not let someone else’s high charged emotions dictate to you what you can not see.

        Fact is, Israel was split 67 years ago, and chances are you weren’t there when it happened. You probably weren’t born for another 4-5 decades, yes? So what you’re doing is denying a reality that has predated you. And you don’t want to read a book.
        The basher’s perspective of Israel isn’t logical. Sorry to break it to you.

    • will

      Secular? By who’s definition? It absolutely isnt. Especially under the current far right Likud govt.

      • Asher B. Garber

        By Webster’s definition…..

        Hey, Unhinged One, you are not going to convince ME that you have a point. YOU DON’T.

  • Let’s get serious

    I was first introduced to this “end times link” under the Bush administration when things were getting bad over there. And there is a very scary element to it. People were proposing policies and approaches which would make the situation disastrous and, when others pointed out how disastrous the approach would be, the religious extreme would be almost gleeful to hear how much harm their policy would bring because it confirmed their “end times” prophesy (and, yet, they were the cause of the damage and destruction). And there are a lot of those people around — more than you would ever know or guess. It is truly frightening.