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APOCALYPSE SOON?

Israel, Christian Zionism, and the Penteholocaust

Gregory Krupey



I. " I came not to bring peace but a sword." -Jesus Christ, according to Matthew 10:34
"Jesus was not a pacifist. He was not a sissy." -Rev. Jerry Falwell

An elite group of fanatics are currently plotting the nuclear destruction of the planet for their own bizarre and selfish ends. Old news? I do not refer to the arms race between the US and the USSR per se. For that is merely the means to The End for this Conspiracy whose goal is not merely political but metaphysical: the conflict not only of the USA vs. the USSR, but of Good vs. Evil, of God vs. the Devil.

It sounds like something from some trashy paperback thriller that combines occultism with super-power espionage. Pictures form in the mind of sinister figures shrouded in hooded robes, plotting in grim whispers in torch-lit caverns. But the identities of these conspirators are no mystery. They are well known to anyone who has watched TV or read a newspaper within the last eight years. They are the preachers and politicians of the Christian Right.

If you think that censoring books, records, and movies, outlawing abortion and homosexuality (if not all non-procreative sexuality), and erasing the separation of Church and State is the worst that the fundamental case fascists have in store for you, think again! They do not merely want to censor you or suppress you, control you or oppress you, they also want to KILL you! Why? Because they are the Elect, the Holy Chosen; and you, the Unsaved, the Damned, are not. Because, seeing themselves as surrounded and outnumbered by the wicked and hostile forces of "godless secular humanism" (an odd situation for a "Moral Majority" to be in), they are convinced that the Last Days prior to the Apocalypse--the final, earth-shattering war that will precede the Second Coming of Christ--are now here, and being impatient for heaven, they want to speed up the process whereby their Savior will return for them in Glory. By exerting and manipulating their considerable influence in both the US and Israeli governments, they intend to bring about the conditions favorable to Armageddon within, according to Jerry Falwell and other fundamentalists, the next fifty years. To those fundamentalists known as "nuclear dispensationalists," there is no doubt about it, all the signs of biblical "prophecy" confirm it. It's not as if they have any choice, they are merely playing their part in the Divine Plan which was ordained long ago.

Does anything sound more impossibly insane? Is it actually possible that they could, and truly would desire to, trigger that which the rest of humanity fears: the nuclear destruction of the Earth and all life upon it? Why would people who pride themselves (and self-righteously so) on being "good" revel in the thought of mass death on an incredible scale? And could they possibly even succeed?

II. "There'll be no peace until Jesus comes. Any preaching of peace prior to his return is heresy; it's against the word of God; it's Anti-Christ." -televangelist James Robison, who delivered the opening prayer at the 1984 Republican convention at the invitation of Ronald Reagan.

Before delving into the current apocalyptic machinations of the Christian Right, it is necessary to understand the history of this baleful theology. In 1855, during the Crimean War between Great Britain and Russia, a Scots preacher, John Cumming, identified the Czar of Russia as "Gog, prince of Magog,"the prophesied invader of Israel during the Last Days according to Ezekiel 3 8-39. Cumming was probably more inspired by patriotic British chauvinism than by theology, as there was then no state of Israel and the Russian Czars were almost pathologically Christian monarchs. Later in the 19th century, an Irishman named John Nelson Darby developed the doctrine that the biblical god holds two distinct plans for two different groups of his Chosen: one for His Earthly Kingdom, Israel, another for His Heavenly kingdom, the Christian Church. The two will only converge in the End Times when a New Heaven and a New Earth are created out of the wreckage of the old. Darby toured America with this message, influencing many fundamentalists, including James H. Brookes, pastor of two Presbyterian churches in St. Louis, Missouri. Brookes became the teacher of Cyrus Scofield, compiler of the Scofield Reference Bible, the most widely circulated and influential commentary bible in history, selling many millions of copies. Scofield inserted explanatory notes into his bible which interpreted many passages as prophecies of then current events. Among the more ignorant (never in short supply among Christians), this led to confusion between the original writings and Scofield's commentaries. "The significance of the Scofield Bible cannot be overestimated," states biblical commentator Dwight Wilson in Armageddon Now!

History, claimed Scofield, is divided into seven distinct time-periods that he called dispensations. In each dispensation, the biblical deity tests the obedience of humanity to His revelations and dispenses justice, rewards or punishments accordingly. The seventh and final dispensation will witness the return of Christ. Scofield saw no hope for the world until then. The Earth and most of humanity would be destroyed in "the great, final world catastrophe," the battle of Armageddon, as foretold by John in the Apocalypse or Book of Revelation. However, the "saved" Christians of the "True Church," those who were "born again," would be spared the horrors of the seven years of carnage leading up to Armageddon (called the Tribulations) by the "Rapture," a literal airlift of the Elect while still alive, into heaven. The idea of the Rapture caused much controversy upon its introduction. To this day there are sects which reject the very idea, and dispensationalists themselves are divided into three camps according to when they believe the Rapture will occur: before, during, or after the Tribulations. The first, needless to say, is the most popular, but many "muscular" or "macho" Christians on the survivalist fringe prefer the second or even third theory.

In 1917, the success of the Bolshevik revolution and the institution of the officially atheist Soviet state revived the dormant "Gog-Magog" identification with Russia. Convinced that the Soviet Union was the earthly manifestation of Satan's power, the dispensationalist fundamentalists forged an alliance with reactionary politicians and businessmen that continues to this day. During the most rabid "Red Scare" periods of the 20s, 50s, and most recently in the 80s, fundamentalism flourished, religious and political paranoia making a potent if desperate tag team.

It was in the 40s that two events occurred which convinced most dispensationalists that the Last Days were indeed here. One incident was the founding of the modern Zionist state of Israel in 1948. A central tenet of dispensationalism was that the Chosen People's return to their homeland was necessary before the process leading to the Millennium could begin. The 1967 Arab-Israeli war cemented this conviction with the capture of Jerusalem by the Israeli army. The second prophecy fulfillment happened even earlier in 1945 with the invention and detonation of the atomic bomb, which seemed to correspond with the account in Revelation of the destruction of the Earth by a great fire, a massive, all-consuming holocaust.

It is easy to see why those who hold such beliefs have no interest in peace movements or disarmament talks. In fact, they have every reason to encourage the arms race and support politicians with combative attitudes towards the specter of communism. In their view, "peace" is capitulation to the devil. Or as Jimmy Swaggart put it on a TV broadcast from 9/22/85: "We should not make any agreements with the Soviet Union.. .they can sign all the peace treaties they want. They won't do any good. There are dark days coming... It's going to get worse.. .I'm not planning on going through the hell that is coming. The Lord will descend from heaven with a shout. My Lord! I'm happy about it! He's coming again! I don't care who it bothers. I don't care who it troubles. It thrills my soul!"

Perhaps Jerry Falwell put it even more succinctly, "You know why I'm not worried (about nuclear war)? I ain't gonna be here!" Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah to you, heathen!

III. "Jerry, I sometimes believe we're heading very fast for Armageddon right now." -Ronald Reagan to Jerry Falwell

The most successful popularizer of "nuclear dispensationalism" or "Armageddon theology" is Hal Lindsey, author of The Late Great Planet Earth, which sold an estimated 18 million copies in the 1 970s, second only to the bible itself. A latter day Scofield, Lindsey describes the coming holocaust in this and other books by postulating a joint Arab-Soviet attack on Israel as the fulfillment of Ezekiel. Before this army of 200 million (!) will be destroyed by nuclear fire in the valley of HarMeggido (Armageddon), about 50 miles north of Tel Aviv, it will manage to kill one-third of Earth's population. According to Lindsey, it will be Jesus Himself who will destroy the invaders, having returned to Earth to take command of the defenses of Jerusalem as the military messiah that the Jews were originally expecting. As Grace Halsell relates the story on page 30 of her book Prophecy and Politics: Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War,"Jesus, Lindsey writes, will 'lay waste' to the earth and scorch its inhabitants. When the 'great war' reaches such a pitch that almost everyone has been killed, there comes the 'great moment'--Jesus saves humankind from total extinction by preserving a faithful remnant. In this hour those Jews who have not been slaughtered will convert to Christianity.

"Only 144,000 Jews will remain alive after the battle of Armageddon," Lindsey says. And they all--every man, woman, and child--will bow down to Jesus. "As converted Christians, all the adults will at once begin preaching the gospel of Christ. Imagine!" exults Lindsey, "They will be like 144,000 Jewish Billy Grahams turned loose at once!"Now that would truly be hell on earth! But who are they going to preach to? Everyone is dead except for the Raptured Christians who certainly don't need it. How can you go out and preach to every living thing when there are no more living things? It is symptomatic of the evangelical Christian mind that even with the entire planet turned into a spent match head they can't conceive of anything more important to do than preach the "good news," or evangel. But.. .imagine! Most of the human race murdered just so that 144,000 Jews, the lone survivors of their race, would get down on their knees and admit that their ancestors of 2000 some years ago were wrong! Could Hitler have been a worse enemy? Could the devil himself be any worse than this "Prince of Peace?"

The massive popularity of Lindsey's books was the herald of something strange and ominous brewing in the boondocks of the American psyche, something previously underestimated and dismissed, the emergence of reactionary evangelism as an organized political movement. In the 70s, with the growth of the "electronic church" of the television ministries and the direct mail services of conservative lobbying groups, the Christian right re-emerged as a serious counter-force to the "permissive liberalism" of "secular humanist" society and the legacy of the 60s counter-culture. It was in the 70s that moral fuehrers like Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and Pat Robertson became well known, although most of them had been on the air since the 60s. In September 1976, a Gallup poll showed 34% of Americans 18 and over claimed to have had a "born-again" experience. This accounted for nearly one-third of the electorate, about 50 million adult Americans, 43 million of them fundamentalists, half of all Protestant denominations in the country. 83% of those polled agreed that the bible was either the inspired or inerrant word of god. 38% claimed it to be the literal word of God.

Two months after that poll, Jimmy Carter, a self-described "born-again" Christian was elected president. Although Carter is usually regarded as a liberal democrat, he was the first to introduce the ideas of "morality in government" and a rededication to "traditional family values" as campaign rhetoric. But Carter's failure to push into law the sacred cows of fundamentalist dogma alienated his erstwhile allies who lost little time in seeking a candidate more to their liking. He was also a born-again Christian (or so he claimed), a former Sunday school teacher, a former state governor, and a Hal Lindsey fan. He was not a liberal democrat, he was the darling of the Republican Right, Ronald Reagan.

The men most responsible for engineering the rendezvous between Reagan and the religious right were a cabal of professional fund-raisers and PR flacks for ultra-right causes: Richard Viguerie, Terry Dolan, Howard Phillips, and Ed McAteer. Between them they had founded, chaired, or advised such lobbying groups as Conservative Caucus, Religious Roundtable, National Conservative Political Action Committee, Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, Christian Voice, Young Americans for Freedom, and the now infamous Moral Majority. It was these men who actually created the Moral Majority, not Falwell, who was recruited by them to front the organization. The very term "Moral Majority" was coined by either Weyrich or Phillips (it's disputed) in 1979 when they met with Falwell through McAteer, then director of the Christian Freedom Foundation, which was financed by Pew (Sunoco) and DeVos (Amway) money. Weyrich, P.A.C. man and cofounder of many of the above groups as well as the Coors and Scaiffe financed Heritage Foundation, and Phillips, a founding member of Y.A.F. and a member of Nixon's administration, had been impressed with Falwell's performance in helping Anita Bryant defeat the Dade County, Fla. Gay Rights Bill in 1977 and in his outspoken criticisms of candidate Jimmy Carter's admission to Playboy magazine in 1976 that the had lusted after women in his heart. Faiwell had begun his career as a minister in his native Lynchburg, Va. in 1956. In the same year he began a radio show, "The Old Time Gospel Hour," which soon became a TV show as well.

Falwell first made news when he denounced Martin Luther King in a 1965 sermon. But it was his 1976 "I Love America" rallies conducted from every state capital and his 1977 "Clean Up America" campaigns that brought him to the attention of the gauleiters of the emerging Right. After the creation of the Moral Majority, Falwell had little trouble in worming his way into Republican circles. He discussed theology and nuclear war with Reagan in the candidate's limousine. The Christian Right took the lion's share of the credit for Reagan's landslide victory in 1980 and the defeat of key liberal senators. Right-wing clergy soon became common fixtures around the White House as Reagan consulted with them on major issues.

In fact, Reagan would not see ministers who were not of the right. Although he was actually the least popular of all televangelists, Falwell was the most influential. In 1983 Reagan allowed Falwell to attend National Security Council briefings on US plans for nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Reagan also approved Hal Lindsey to lecture on nuclear war to Pentagon strategists. Reagan filled his cabinet and other government posts with fundamentalists and Pentecostals as well as conservative Catholics. Reagan set into motion a program which even the pious Carter never attempted: to turn a secular state into a theocracy.

Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell had developed contacts at high levels in Israel. The good reverend began spending his time not reserved for repairing the morals of Americans by becoming the most influential non-Jewish lobbyist for the Zionist state and its increasingly expansionist policies. As congressional observer Allan Kellum told Grace Halsell, "The New Christian Right is the rising star of the Republican party. And Israel is reaping political benefits within the White House from its alliance with it."

IV. "Israel is the only stable democracy we can rely on as a spot where Armageddon could come." -Ronald Reagan, 1980
"God blesses those who bless the Jews and curses those who curse the Jews." -fundamentalist saying

In 1983, journalist Grace Halsell visited Israel as part of a Falwell sponsored "Holy Land Tour." Hailing from a Texan fundamentalist background and still a believing Christian, she took the tour to ascertain to what extent Falwell Armageddon theology figured in the thinking of his followers. She found that it held a prominent place. Most of those on the tour to whom she spoke were not merely expecting it in their lifetime, they were eagerly anticipating it. None expressed any fear or despair at the idea of a divinely induced nuclear war because they were certain that they themselves, being "born-again" in Jesus, were guaranteed survival and immortality. The total destruction of the world was both necessary and just in their belief system. Many of them became positively ecstatic at the very thought of nuclear holocaust. One man enthused at the sight of the valley of Meggido (alleged site of Armageddon). Another rues the fact that he was not born Jewish and therefore one of the Chosen. A woman dismisses Arabs by saying that if they are Israel's enemies then they must be God's enemies as well.

When confronted with uncomfortable facts or embarrassing contradictions in their beliefs, they would respond: "Well, it's all too complicated for me" or "Well, it doesn't make much sense, but that's the way it is!" Admiration and unequivocal support for the Jews and Israel was another central tenet of their thinking. These people viewed the modern state of Israel as the revivification of the theocratic kingdoms of the Old Testament and they reveled in the glory of its military exploits. This was no mere coincidence.

As the tour proceeded by bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Israeli guide told the group, among other things, that Palestinians (whom he referred to as Arabs because--echoing Golda Meir--"there are no Palestinians") preferred to live in poverty, that the "Arabs" had constantly spurned Israeli attempts at friendship, and that "these Muslims are all terrorists." He diplomatically neglected to mention whether or not Christian Palestinians were also terrorists. The tour group did not meet with any Palestinians, Christian or Muslim. The tour bus stopped in Nazareth only long enough to let the passengers use the rest room. Halsell suspected that the tourists were being deliberately kept from talking with any Palestinians or Christians living in Israel. The tour finally caught up with Falwell at a Jerusalem hotel where they heard Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens boast of Israel's then recent victory in the Lebanese invasion. Ms. Halsell realized that Falwell's "Holy Land Tours" were not religious pilgrimages but pro-Israeli propaganda tours.

Falwell himself has been well rewarded by the Israelis for his services to the Zionist state. A forest in Israel has been named after him, he has taken many free trips to Israel, he has been given a personal jet plane (which considering the massive amounts of US aid to Israel was probably paid for by American taxpayers' money initially). In 1980 Falwell became the only Gentile to receive the Jabotinsky medal. Vladimir Jabotinsky was a Zionist leader who in 1923 founded the militant youth group Betar and later the Haganah, the volunteer militia which eventually became the Israeli army. In 1925 Jabotinsky founded the Revisionist movement, the extreme fascist arm of the World Zionist Organization.

Jabotinsky advocated a ruthless war of extermination against the Palestinians in order to insure a trans-Jordanian Israeli empire. This doctrine was instituted by his successors, including his prot g Menachem Begin.

Perhaps Falwell's greatest coup was in turning his friend, ally, and financial patron, right-wing senator Jesse Helms from the most militant anti-Zionist in the Senate into a pro-Zionist almost overnight. Falwell has not only been a "blessing to the Jews" as an eloquent and persuasive spokesman for the Zionist cause among America's gullible fundamentalists, he has also caused many dollars to flow Israel's way.

In Israel, Falwell visited illegal settlements on the West Bank where he had his photograph taken with a recently transplanted American-Jewish settler. In 1981, when Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, Begin, fearing adverse reactions in the US, called Falwell and asked him to get on the stump defending the action. Falwell's Moral Majority lieutenant Cal Thomas praised the attack, stating that winning in war was the Golden Rule-- "Whoever has the gold, rules." (Thomas, now a syndicated columnist, is the author of a recent book, The Death of Ethics in America. Guess he should know.) In 1982, when Israel's brutal invasion of Lebanon caused a storm of worldwide criticism, Falwell and Thomas were again called upon to justify Israel's imperialism to the world, or American Christians at least. They met with Major Haddad, Israel's puppet in southern Lebanon. Falwell dismissed evidence of Israel's complicity in the Phalangist massacres of Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatilla camps as propaganda. In August 1983, he convened a meeting in Annapolis, Maryland to proclaim support for Israel's Lebanese incursion, and among the attendees were Reagan administration members such as James Watt and Richard Allen, Jewish leaders such as Yehuda Hellman, New Right ideologues Viguerie, Phillips, and Weyrich, and former president Richard Nixon.

One of Falwell's more incredible pronouncements regarding Israel is that "God has blessed America because America has uniformly supported Israel without question." (A very odd opinion from one who also believes that socially America is a moral cesspool in need of Christian reconstruction). "I believe that if we fail to protect Israel, we will cease to be important to God." In Falwell's view the US exists primarily to protect Israel from its enemies, that is, its neighbors. In 1983, Falwell told a Texas newspaper that Israel was entitled by "Biblical mandate," by the covenant between Yahweh and Abraham, to parts of what is now Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan, and all of Lebanon, Jordan, and Kuwait (all that oil after all). Of course, neither Falwell nor the Israelis expect to get this land by peaceful means. "Peaceful intentions," the good reverend has said, "are acts of stupidity."

V. "Jewish sovereignty over Israel and the dream of the Priestly Kingdom and becoming a Holy Nation are preconditions for the world to become whole again. Unless these preconditions are met, there will be no peace." -Hanan Porat of Gush Emunim

"We should not forget that the supreme purpose of the ingathering of exiles and the establishment of our state is the building of the temple. The temple is the very top of the pyramid." -Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Hacohen Aviner

In the old walled city of Jerusalem, atop Mount Moriah, sits the third holiest shrine of Islam: Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, comprised of the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which harbors a massive boulder from which the prophet Mohammed is believed to have ascended to heaven. Part of the Sanctuary grounds sit atop a 200 foot high, 1600 foot long wall believed by many Jews to be remnants of either the first Jewish temple (built by Solomon and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC) or the second Temple (destroyed by the Romans in 70 BC). This is the Western or "Wailing" Wall. It is a central tenet of both Jewish Millenarianism and Christian Dispensationalism that the Messiah cannot come (or come again) until the Temple of Jerusalem is rebuilt on the very site where it once stood. And, according to many Jewish and Christian fundamentalists, that very site is on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount, where the Noble Sanctuary of Haram al-Sharif now inconveniently stands. Despite the fact that many archaeologists dispute the Temple Mount as the exact site of the Temple and despite the belief of some fundamentalist Jews and Christians that an earthquake or some other "act of God" will be the agent responsible for removing the Holy Mount from heathen hands, there are those fanatics who, being aware that the Muslims are not in the market for a new Holy Shrine, and convinced that since God helps those who help Him as well as themselves, human intervention in the form of terrorism is the only visible solution to this urban renewal problem.

From 1967 on, more than 100 attacks on the Noble Sanctuary by bands of armed Israeli fanatics, many of them soldiers and rabbinical students led by armed rabbis, have occurred. (The first attack was spearheaded by then Armed Forces Chief Chaplain and later Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren). The punishments handed down to those fanatics have not been severe, signaling the tacit approval and encouragement of both church and state (in Israel, almost the same thing, and increasingly so). In 1984, members of the terrorist "pioneer" group Gush Emunim ("the Bloc of the Faithful") which numbered many army officers and others with friends in high places, took it upon themselves to blow up the Dome of the Rock. Although they trained rigorously for the attack, it was aborted by the arrest of the conspirators on charges of attempted murder after three Palestinian mayors were wounded, two seriously, in the wake of car-bomb assassination attempts by the same group as a prelude to the assault on the Temple Mount. Apparently this all occurred with the connivance of Shin Bet (the Israeli FBI), which failed to intervene, according to the Gush terrorists at their trial, because the Gush Emunim had had the covert support of high-level military and government officials. The commission headed by the deputy attorney general of Israel, Yehuda Karp, determined that Jewish vigilantes had acted with the support of police and army in their attacks on Palestinians. After the Begin government suppressed the report, Karp resigned.

Despite this, 18 members of the Gush conspiracy were sentenced to prison, with sentences ranging from 4 months to life. Calls for mercy and parole began soon after the trial with Vice Premier Shamir leading the pack. The Gush terrorists received the acclaim of many Israelis (including the judge who sentenced them!) and were popularly regarded as heroes. Defense funds poured in from America, from Jews and fundamentalist Christians alike.

Wealthy American Jews continue to subsidize the Gush Emunim as well as Meir Kahane's fascist Kach Party. One of the Gush's chief financial angels is Mexican arms merchant Marcus Katz, who has made his biggest "killings" in weapons sales to Iran and various Central American nations (no doubt it is mere coincidence that Israeli advisors helped train, with American connivance, both the Shah's SAVAK secret police and Guatemalan death squads). One of Kahane's principal backers, both for his Israeli Kach party and for his US-based Jewish Defense League (JDL), is Haagen-Dazs ice cream magnate Ruben Mattus, although Kahane can always manage to strike pay dirt from both comfortably uncomfortable Jews convinced that they can win that Holy War (Holy for them as well) which will result in the final destruction of their enemies with the arrival of the Messiah.

Dispensationalist Christians are also certain of victory in a Holy War that will trigger worldwide nuclear destruction that will signal the return of Christ. Everyone is certain that the Apocalypse will bring victory to their side and completely eliminate the other side. The possibility of defeat or misfortune never enters the minds of those possessed by faith and hate.

VI. "Zionism is mysticism. Zionism will wither away if you cut it from its mystical-messianic roots. Zionism is a movement that does not think in rational terms.. .but in terms of divine commandments. What matters only is God's promise to Abraham as recorded in the Book of Genesis."-Rabbi Moshe Levinger, one of the terrorists who attempted to blow up the Dome of the Rock mosque.

"We have, first of all, to come to the conclusion that the right-wing reactionaries are the natural allies of Zionism, not the liberals." -Jacques Torczyner, American sector of the World Zionist Organization.

"Jews can live with all the domestic priorities of the Christian right on which liberal Jews differ so radically because none of these concerns is as important as Israel." Nathan Perlmutter, Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith

Along with much of the rest of the country, American Jews took a right turn in 1980, helping to elect that staunch friend of Israel, Ronald Reagan. Among the intelligentsia and religious leaders, dissatisfaction with the liberal Protestant churches which made up the National Council of Churches increased as the NCC espoused sympathy for the Palestinian cause. Feeling abandoned by their former allies, Jews sought the patronage of the waxing evangelical right, where anti-progressive and anti-Semitic attitudes have traditionally resided. Fearing a rise in anti-Semitism in the growing public disapproval of Israeli expansionism and sympathy for the Palestinians, some Jewish leaders theorized that any possible wave of anti-Semitism could be headed off by recruiting the leaders of those most likely to express anti-Semitic beliefs into active and uncritical supporters of Israel, a position that dispensationalism already inclined them towards.

Since mainstream Christian churches did not display the enthusiasm for the cult of Israel that the evangelical churches did, the choice was obvious. "We need all the friends we have to support Israel.. .let's praise the Lord and pass the ammunition," said Nathan Perlmutter of the ADL. Seeing Liberalism as being on the defensive, Irving Kristol declared that Jews should abandon that philosophy and take their allies wherever they could find them. Kristol derided American Jews for "dogmatically and hypocritically" adhering to "grandiose principles" of international law (which he claimed Israel was justified in breaking whenever it was in it's interests (as Nazi Germany also did?) and secular humanism (whose usefulness to Jews was now over). Kristol's essential message was one of opportunism and interchangeable ideals, all values being ultimately disposable if they did not benefit the primary concern of Israel. (Not an untypical Zionist attitude, as the history of Zionist collaboration and accommodation to fascism in the 20s and 30s shows. See Lenni Brenner's Zionism in the Age of the Dictators.)

"American Jews should join the ultra-right," Kristol proclaimed, concluding that they should back winners, not losers. What Israel gained from this strange alliance, according to Grace Halsell, was money, more land, and grassroots Christian support. Since Israel already receives $35 billion a year in US aid, something like $14 million a day, how much more money could it possibly need? Apparently a lot more, as groups like Bobbi Hromas' American Christian Trust and Mike Evans' JerUSAlem D.C. show. Hromas, wife of an executive with defense contractors TRW Corp. (how apt), maintains a mansion with a built-in sound-proof open-24-hours chapel directly across the Street from the Israeli embassy in Washington, where wealthy fundamentalists, many of them high-ranking government officials, pray (sometimes for three hours or more) for the "redemption" (i.e. appropriation) of the land from the Euphrates to the Nile, and pay for the privilege. (Among ACT patrons are former Dallas Cowboys owner Clint Murchison and former Cowboys coach Tom Landry.) The money raised goes to Israelis involved in grabbing Palestinian land by any means necessary, from force to fraud.

Mike Evans, on the other hand, is a Jewish evangelist, a born-again convert (or so he claims), whose organization's primary goal is to get the US and other governments to move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thereby recognizing the Israeli claim that the city sacred to three religions and populated primarily by Arabs is exclusively Jewish property. Working the fundamentalist circuit, Evans has been as blunt as any Zionist on the matter. "It will cost you the lives of your sons and fathers if you do not recognize Jerusalem as Jewish property. God will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel," he told a Texas congregation attended by Halsell.

No small time operator, he claims to have attended a 1984 White House convocation where 90 evangelists met with "some of the top Jewish rabbis and Jewish leaders in the world." It was at this meeting that Evans, by his own account, put Robert McFarlane, a Catholic, in his place on the matter of US foreign policy with regard to the status of Jerusalem, to thunderous applause from the assembled clergy. Evans claimed to have been invited to the White House again in 1985 to meet with Reagan and a smaller group including Swaggart, Bakker, and Falwell. Evans also claims influence high within the Israeli government, stating that he knew of the Lebanese invasion "two days before it occurred." Evans has also had the previously unheard of honor (for a Christian) of having an orthodox rabbi lay his hands atop his head and pray for him, and of being the only Christian minister to appear on Israeli TV. (It is illegal in Israel to proselytize for any religion other than Judaism.) Evans initiated a drive to put one million signatures on a petition for the UN, US and other states to recognize Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel. Needless to say, the fate of the Dome of the Rock in an officially Israeli Jerusalem would be even more precarious than is currently the case.

But these are only two of the more obvious pro-Zionist Christian right groups. Others include the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel, which proclaims that "to be Christian is to be Jewish" and that a Christian's first duty is to "the land of Israel." This organization ran full page ads in the Washington Post and New York Times proclaiming its solidarity with Israel at the time of the Lebanese invasion. It is linked with the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and numbered W.A. Criswell, Jim Bakker, and Pat Robertson among its members; the National Christian Congress (a different NCC), an offshoot of NCLCI, was primarily formed to oppose the sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia; Christians United for American Security (CUFAS); TAV Evangelical Ministries; American Coalition for Traditional Values (ACTV) headed by Tim and Beverly LaHaye; and the infamous Christian Voice. But even fundamentalist groups not primarily concerned with Israel are part of the same network and the same theology, hence part of the same mindless conspiracy. You don't need a preacher man to know which way the nuclear wind blows.

VII. "The atomic bomb is a marvelous gift that was given to our country by a wise God." -Phyllis Schlafly

"I think I could walk right through a nuclear strike and not even smell of smoke if God's got a plan for my life... I believe there'll be enough of us left to rally the church to preach the revival around the world." -Rev. James Robison

"And what rough beast its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?" -W. B. Yeats "The Second Coming"

The question that must now be asked is this: how likely is the scenario of Armageddon theology to happen? Ronald Reagan, who brought many fundamentalists into power with him, many into high positions including the cabinet, is no longer president and George Bush, while actively courting the important fundamentalist vote and claiming to be born-again, is obviously not one of them, or at least not enough like them. In the aftermath of the downfalls of the Bakkers and Swaggart, and the defeats suffered by Falwell and Robertson, some would have you believe that the fundamentalist threat is not only pass , but that it never really existed. In the media's current vocabulary, "Moral Majority" is almost a nostalgic term, as quaint as "Reaganomics." Things are back to business as usual.

But that is really not the case. If anything, the Christian right agenda has actually seeped into the mainstream rather than having been rejected. Anti-abortion/pornography/sex education/gay rights/ rock music/ and feminist attitudes are stronger than ever and on the offensive, censorship cases (especially in schools) have been more successful, and state-manufactured hysterias over drugs, child molestation, and satanic cults distract nearly everybody. All this is no accident. Pat Robertson did not slink off with his tail between his legs after he lost the bid for the presidency. He actually came out with several advantages. His delegates to the Re-publican convention practically wrote the platform, leading conservative columnists Evans and Novak to point out that "George Bush won the nomination, but Pat Robertson won the platform" and that the "GOP indeed has become the rightwing party."

Grudgingly throwing his support to Bush (as Falwell had willingly done), Robertson wasted no time in re-thinking his strategy, aiming his sights lower at the grassroots level: local, county, and state positions becoming the new targets. Their new strategy is one that is low-key and shy of overzealous religious identifications. (An example: one of these groups is called Citizens for Excellence in Education. Although they are dedicated to "putting God back in the schools," their name is misleadingly secular sounding.) Paul Weyrich's "new" group, the Free Congress Foundation, has a three-year plan to unite far-right groups with the fundamentalists for this strategy. These people are patient and disciplined, they are in it for the long haul. They have not given up on the idea of a Christian reconstruction of America. Since they believe that Armageddon will occur within our lifetime (or within the next 50 years according to Falwell), why wouldn't they take a shot at setting up a Christian police state?

Whether or not there is still any significant fundamentalist influence at the cabinet level, we can probably assume that born-again bureaucrats still inhabit their posts. But more alarming is the prospect of fundamentalist infiltration of the military. According to Conway and Siegelman in their book Holy Terror, an anonymous "Captain X" revealed that "The fundamentalist segment of the Armed Services was developing into a separate subculture within the military community." Captain X "emphasizes that the fundamentalist subculture in the military seemed to be stronger in leadership positions than at the enlisted men's level." He remarked that "this blurring of the line between the religious and the military is a dangerous thing. I would not like to see the US military become a branch of religion." He recalled an incident where he had asked a "born-again" major how he would respond in the event of a potential nuclear attack. The major replied, "Well, if that ever came to pass, I would simply put my faith in the hands of the Lord." If this major were a dispensationalist and he had heard that Islamic forces were massing for an attack on Israel in revenge for the Israeli bombing of the Al-Aqsa mosque, would he assume that the prophecies were being fulfilled, and certain that the Second Coming was imminent, initiate a nuclear attack on the Soviets?

CODA

It is indeed an absurd world that we live in when people who arrogate all morality to themselves alone espouse the ultimately most nihilistic philosophy, looking forward to and trying to bring about what would be the greatest mass murder in history--the one that would end history; when those who protest the loudest against abortion accept without a doubt the nuclear abortion of all potential future generations; when those who make the biggest show of their patriotism would kill off the majority of their fellow countrymen as well as the rest of the planet; when those who most piously proclaim their solidarity with the Jewish people do so in the belief that most of them will perish in the End. All this so that their god will return to punish their enemies and reward them with immortality and ultimate power in their 1000 Year Christian Reich. It is a strange god that these people worship, who is praised as the epitome of love, peace, and mercy, yet who deals out hate, war, and revenge. Deus est Demon Inversus, indeed! The devil is just God when He is mad.

It is an ancient belief of black magic that only sacrifices of living victims can attract the attention of the god(s), and to manifest the presence of the deity among the worshippers required the sacrifice of human victims. It was also believed that the life energy of the victim when released was captured by the will-power of the magician-priest conducting the ritual. This life-energy would then increase the potency and longevity of the sorcerer. The more victims, the more life-energy released, the more power and longevity would be his. A mass sacrifice, especially one with simultaneous deaths, would theoretically confer enough released life-energy upon the magician(s)-murderer(s) to make him/them immortal. This was the alleged real reason behind the Nazi holocaust, known only to the inner circle of the hierarchy. Could it also be the real reason among the inner circles of the Christian Right, the Penteholocaust, the sacrificial burning of the Earth in order to invoke Christ the Vampire?

With their do-it-yourself Eschatology, the Penteholocaustalists have every "reason" to encourage the arms race, US-Soviet friction, Zionist megalomania, and Khomeniite Islamic fanaticism. If it all seems like a sad, bizarre ending to 2000 years of Christianity, remember that this is the same religion that brought you the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Witch-hunts. From burning solitary heretics at the stake to burning an entire planet of heretics with nuclear bombs is not such a long leap of "logic," it only required the appropriate technology to close the gap. Christianity has always been a war against nature, against matter, against Mother Nature and against human nature. Since Christianity has failed to re-mold human nature to its dictates, it must destroy it instead. But human nature cannot be destroyed without destroying human beings as well. In the End, in the End Times, the Christian war on Human Nature is a war on the Human Race itself.

Bibliography
Conway, Flo and Jim Siegelman--Holy Terror, 1984, Delta
Halsell, Grace -- Prophecy and Politics: Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War, 1986, Lawrence Hill
Kickham, Larry--"The Theology of Nuclear War" in Apocalypse Culture, Adam Parfrey, ed., 1987, AMOK Press
Lang, Andrew -- "Politics in the End Times" in Convergence, Spring 1987, Christic Institute, Washington, DC
Packard, William--Evangelism in America from Tents to TV, 1988, Paragon House
Young, Perry Deane--God's Bullies: Power Politics and Religious Tyranny. 1982 Holt Rinehart, & Winston

This essay first appeared in the August, 1989 issue of Maximum Rocknroll, a Left Coast leftwing punkzine.

Perhaps the most galling irony of this Armageddon scenario that seems determined to play itself out in whatever manner, is that it is being fought over one of the most worthless pieces of real estate on the planet, a parched stretch of rocky wasteland that no one with any sense would want to live in if they had any better option (as attested to by the numbers of Soviet Jews who preferred to be sent anywhere else but Israel), with the contestants being two ethnic groups who are more closely related than either of them care to admit.

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When I wrote "Apocalypse Soon?" in 1989, at the age of 31, I was a leftist, a militant secular humanist if not an atheist, a subscriber to The Nation, a contributor to the Christic Institute, a card carrying member of the ACLU (in fact, I joined it primarily because George Bush condemned it), and a fan of agitprop punk rock bands like the Dead Kennedys (less for their monotonous music than the "message", man). The very name of Ronald Reagan was anathema to me, and I was convinced that a totalitarian, puritanical theocracy, led by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, with the aid of Ollie North's coup d'etat, was imminent.

In other words, I was conned and conditioned to believe exactly what the media masters wanted me to believe, and like all true leftists, I was convinced I was a free thinking radical nonconformist, when the truth was just the opposite. This is not the place to go into detail on how I slowly began to realize that the establishment and alternative media were not only not opposed to each other, but were merely two heads on the same body. However, Grace Halsell's book was a revelation to me, and helped start me on a process that led me to realize who the real Establishment is.

In the original version of "Apocalypse Soon?", the Christian Right is clearly the main villain; Jews are wrong, but because they have somehow embraced the ideology of their erstwhile enemies, Zionism as Nazism, i.e., Zionazism. By the time I wrote the updated epilogue, I am portraying them as nearly equally to blame, but with the blame still slightly skewed towards the Christian Zionists. Yet this update indicated that I was starting to really think outside of the kosher box that delineates the boundaries of permissible discourse in this country on Israel, and on Jewish power and influence in this country.

If I were to write this article today, Israel and the Jews would take center stage as the villains in this nuclear tragi-comedy, with the Christian Right relegated to secondary roles as spear-carriers to the Jews. When all is said and done, the lesson of the Penteholocaust is that the Christian Right was and remains an impotent straw man, a scarecrow with which to frighten skittish secularists and liberals, while serving their Jewish masters as useful puppets.

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