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Let's try this again....

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by hondo, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Since the links on another thread apparently didn't work, here's the Kathleen Parker column. And can we have a grown-up discussion, pro and con, instead of the usual left-wing insults?

    WASHINGTON -- These are rich times for conspiracy theorists, and the mother lode these days may be found in the fevered minds of anti-Christianists.

    Among paranoiacs who see a Jerry Falwell or a John Hagee in every burning bush, U.S. support for Israel isn't about protecting the only healthy democracy in the Middle East, but about advancing Armageddon and, yes, the Second Coming.

    At last, we'll get to know what Jesus would drive. Most likely, he'd drive out the conspiracy theorists on both sides of this imagined apocalypse.

    For those who do not spend their days pulling imaginary bugs out of their eye sockets, "Christianist" is a relatively new term that roughly refers to a virulent strain of right-wing political Christianity that, supposedly, parallels Islamist lunacy.

    Although both groups may be "true believers," those who try to connect the dots of Christian belief, specifically evangelical Christianity, to Islamism seem willing to overlook the fact that Islamists praise Allah and fly airplanes into buildings while Christianists praise Jesus and pass the mustard.

    And though both groups of people may use scripture to shape their approach to the public square, Islamist interpretation of doctrine permits religious expression through suicide-murder, beheadings, public stonings (preferably of women) and Jew-hating, while Christianist doctrine deals in such wimpy notions as forgiveness, tolerance, redemption and cheek-turning. Weirdos.

    A slew of new books have emerged with titles like American Theocracy, and Kingdom Coming, that tackle the perceived emerging Christocracy, while op-ed-ists opine that right-wing evangelicals are directing foreign policy through the White House. Words like "theocrats" and "American Taliban" have become commonplace in describing those who fill televangelism's La-Z-Boys.

    Certainly, there's an element among some Christians who believe that Armageddon and the Second Coming are related to current events in the Middle East. For instance, John Hagee, televangelist and pastor of an 18,000-member mega-church in San Antonio specifically believes that Israel has to strike Iran's nuclear facilities in order to move things along toward Jesus' new millennial reign.

    And though life may get messy for a time, all's well that ends well. Once Jesus gets back on board, Russia and China will have been dealt with, the Garden of Eden will reopen for business, and the righteous will rule the nations of the Earth. ACLU, beware.

    Doubtless Hagee holds his audiences in thrall, but that audience does not happen to include George W. Bush or even (cue thunderclouds) Karl Rove. Nor millions of other Christians. Despite what the anti-Christianists seem to believe, the evangelical movement is not monolithic on such issues and Hagee doesn't have an office in the State Department.

    In fact, at one White House meeting with about 35 evangelical leaders, one participant told me Hagee said nary a word. Even if he had, no one in the Bush administration is listening.

    "You can be sure that Condi Rice is not reading Tim LaHaye books," says Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and director of its Evangelicals in Civic Life program. LaHaye is author of the best-selling apocalyptic "Left Behind" series.

    The Armageddonists, meanwhile, are suffering from what Cromartie calls "overheated eschatological expectations."

    "That means, they're always looking through world events for some signs of the End Times. . . . If they want to spend their time worrying about that, fine. I'm pretty content to sit here and wait it out."

    At least part of what's behind the anti-Christianist movement, of course, is dislike of Bush, who happens to be a born-again Christian, combined with angry opposition to the war in Iraq, as well as contempt for the anti-intellectualism of some on the Christian right -- a perfect storm of secular disgust.

    What's missing, however, is a basic understanding of reality: the fact that those who preach an End Times scenario also voted for Bush does not necessarily mean that they have Bush's ear. When someone like Hagee sends a smoke signal to the White House about Israel and Armageddon, the attitude at Pennsylvania Avenue is, "Oh yeah, John, we're aware of that, thank you."

    In other words, pro-Israel policy decisions are based on our long-standing support of America's democratic ally in the Middle East, not some theological imperative as divined through an eschatological grid. Or even an "8" ball.

    Nevertheless, Republicans are happy to get votes where they can. Which is to say: If Hagee were urging his congregation to tithe money to fight global warming based on some apocalyptic interpretation of Scripture, does anyone really think that Al Gore would decline the check?

    Kathleen Parker can be reached at kparker@kparker.com.
  2. Pastor

    Pastor Active Member

    Hondo, much of this article is pretty much crap. To spend the predominant amount of time claiming that "anti-Christianists" are only upset because they think that Bush is trying to bring about the "End Times" seems a bit narrow-minded.

    If the author were to believe their really is some "anti-Christianist" movement, and not some tiny sect of grumpy individuals, I'm certain that they would have begun far before the Israel/Lebanon fiasco. Such a crowd would have a much larger argument regarding the increasing amount of money that the federal government hands over to churches.

    Having said that, I think the best stated paragraph is here:
    There may be some truth to this. But, I don't this can't be argued as the predominant feeling. The supposed "anti-Christianist movement" would be a backlash in regards to stem-cell research, anti-abortion pushing, "Intelligent Design" pushing, and that little issue in Florida where the government tried to interfere in a family squabble based on religious reasons.

    Yes, a basic understanding of reality is missing. However, a good summation of the present attitude is not found in this op-ed piece.
  3. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member

    Delete this goddamned thread now.

    What a prick.

    And THAT'S coming from me.

    I know 'em when I see 'em.
  4. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

  5. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Thanks for proving my point. Instead of reading a column from a respected, nationally syndicated author (pretty much middle of the road) and offering some intelligent opinions, either pro or con, I'm all of a sudden a prick? Jeez, I didn't exactly post a column from the Montana militia. Not even from Oliver North.
    But you keep that mind of yours closed. It's not as dangerous that way.
  6. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Hondo, admittedly the response you received was not as well thought-out as you would have liked, so here's mine.

    The group quoted in the article, while unable to give accurate population numbers, is not as big a segment of America as you think. As such, they're not representative of the larger group. So there's a fringe group out there who think the Shrub is trying to end the world because he's born again? Whatever. Why the hell should you care?

    That being said, I'm very anti-Bush for a lot of reasons, and I'm definitely not anti-Christian, a term that's too often thrown onto anyone who is anti-RELIGION. I believe in the separation of the church from government, and as such I'm very anti-Bush, because he feels it's OK to cross that boundary any time it suits him. But I still very much believe in God. I've just matured enough and opened my mind enough to be able to separate the two in my life.

    And close-mindedness? That's more of the province of the religious right, who feel you're either "with us, or against us," an absolute that leaves no room whatsoever.
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    The column had holes you could drive a truck through.

    First she admits there are far right-wing "Christianists" who support gathering kindling in the Middle East for the End of Times.

    Then she seems to lump all Christians as "Christianists."

    Then she names a certain wacko who believes this stuff and has met with the president but says that he didn't say anything. It's a muddled mess of a column.
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