Glenn Beck, the Fox commentator, held a big rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday and if you are not a Christian, you should be very, very afraid.
Of course, that is not the conventional wisdom in some Jewish circles. If a person supports tuition vouchers for private schools on the one hand and opposes any territorial concessions by Israel to the Palestinians on the other, that person is cheered, not feared. It is a dangerously myopic view.
John Hagee, the Texas pastor who in 2006 founded Christians United for Israel, is the perfect example. Hagee wins praise time and again from Jewish leaders here and in Israel for demanding that the United States “stop putting pressure on the nation of Israel for a no-growth policy in Judea and Samaria.”
Keepin the FaithWhat Jewish leaders prefer to ignore is why Hagee holds such views. To him, Jewish control of the “Holy Land” is an essential prerequisite for that moment in the not-too-distant future when we Christ-killers will be given one last chance to recognize our transgression and abandon our Judaism. Here, for example, is what this “friend of the Jews” said on National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” just a few days before Rosh HaShanah in 2006:
“Now, when it comes to the Jewish people, [the prophet] Zechariah very clearly says that they are not going to believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah until they see him. Zechariah says in the 14th chapter ‘and when they,’ the Jewish people, ‘see him whom they have pierced’ – and the word pierced there actually refers to his rib and side – ‘when they see him whom they have pierced, they will weep as one weeps for his only son for a period of one week.’ They’re simply not going to believe he is the Messiah until they actually see him, and that’s at the Second Coming. Then, at that point in time, there is the judgment of the nations in which all nations are judged for the way in which they have treated the nation of Israel and the Jewish people, and the Jewish people are front and center in the kingdom of God that will be an eternal kingdom.”
That is, we are “front and center in the kingdom of God” if we abandon our faith and accept Christianity. Hagee is entitled to his vision of the future, but we should be alert enough to understand the words he uses to describe it. The Jews killed Christ. In the end of days, when the Jews see his awful wounds, they will cry out in mourning for the evil they did to him and to the world. This is what Hagee is saying.
As for what “Zechariah says in the 14th chapter,” Hagee surely meant Zechariah 12:10, which has nothing to do with Jesus or with the Jews piercing anyone; on the contrary, it is we who are martyred for protecting Jerusalem. (Hagee is not responsible for this distortion of Zechariah; it is a long-cherished Christian teaching.)
Hagee also has a twisted notion of the role the Nazis played in Jewish history, in keeping with his interpretation of another one of the Bible’s verses, Jeremiah 16:15-16.
Referring to the Jews, God says, “I will bring them back to their land, which I gave to their fathers. Behold, I am sending for many fishermen – declares the Lord – and they shall haul them out; and after that I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them out of every mountain and out of every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks.”
“First, God sent the fishermen to Israel,” Hagee writes in his book “Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World.” The fishermen “were the Zionists, men like Theodor Herzl who called … the sons and daughters of Abraham home.”
When we failed to hear the Zionist message, “God then sent the hunters,” wrote Hagee, referring to the Nazi horde. The “force and fear of Hitler’s Nazis drove the Jewish people back to the only home God ever intended for the Jews to have – Israel…. I am stricken with awe and wonder at His boundless love for Israel and the Jewish people and His divine determination that the promise He gave Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob become reality.”
I am stricken with awe and wonder at the stupidity of that statement, as well as its insensitivity and its seeming ignorance of where the Nazis actually sent the Jewish people. I am more stricken, however, by the fact that no one calls Hagee to task for saying that Israel is “the only home God ever intended for the Jews to have,” by which he also means that Jews do not belong in this country or any other outside Israel. If this is the kind of person we laud, God help us.
Hagee was a prominent member of Saturday’s Glenn Beck-led cast, which did include a rabbi, and which did have Beck saying such inclusive-sounding things as “go to your churches, synagogues, and mosques.”
Not Beck and not Hagee, however, could disguise the real intent of the day. “Something beyond imagination is happening,” Beck told the cheering throng. “America today begins to turn back to God.”
Beck meant the Christian view of God. “Pray on your knees,” he exhorted the crowd, something Jews, at least, do not do, as he well knows.
Ironically, which Christian view of God is the subject of debate in Christian circles, since Beck himself is a convert to Mormonism, which most Christians consider a heretical cult.
What matters, though, is not which Christian view, but that it is a Christian view. Beck and Hagee and their ilk believe that America was founded on Christian values; in truth, it was founded more on values found in the Torah than anywhere else. They believe that America is a Christian nation; in truth, the founding fathers went to great lengths to make it the welcoming home of people of all faiths and even of those who profess no faith at all.
Beck brought a Christian army to Washington on Saturday, and its goal is to cleanse America of any thoughts and ideals he and Hagee and their kind consider not authentically Christian.
When Mahmoud Abbas says one thing in English and another in Arabic, we hold up the Arabic statements as his true intent. When the so-called Christian Zionists say one thing to our faces and another behind our backs, we choose to ignore those statements or to dismiss them.
We do this at our peril.