Birth Pangs of a New Christian Zionism
Despite his best efforts, Brog remains dogged by questions about evangelical reasons for backing Israel. Hagee has told his supporters that supporting Israel is a "biblical imperative," and proudly pronounces his belief that Israel is the future site of the Rapture. Hagee has even reveled in events that most Israelis would describe as tragic. For instance, in his 1996 book The Beginning of the End, Hagee described the murder of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as fulfillment of prophecy and suggested admiration for Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir.
Imagining Amir's mindset as he prepared himself to kill Rabin, Hagee wrote, "Tonight, if God was good, an opportunity would show itself. No longer would Rabin be able to transfer Israeli lands to Palestinians. The damage he'd done in the West Bank and Gaza was enough. Israel had a divine right to the land, and to give it away was an act of treason against Israel and an abomination against God."
More recently, some of Hagee's allies, such as nationally syndicated evangelical radio host Janet Parshall, became ecstatic when Israel and Hezbollah commenced hostilities last month. "These are the times we've been waiting for," Parshall told her listeners in a voice brimming with joy on July 21. "This is straight out of a Sunday school lesson."
Brog dismisses concerns about the Christian Zionists' fixation on end times as a "misreading of Christian theology. "One sign of the Second Coming is that there will be widespread moral decay in society," Brog told me. "If Christians really thought they could speed the Second Coming, then why aren't Christians out there opening brothels and selling drugs? Quite to the contrary and quite to the chagrin of many liberals, they are doing the opposite."
Thanks to Brog's parrying of Jewish criticism and securing the cooperation of major Jewish organizations, his "brother" Hagee faces few repercussions as he prays for Armageddon. With local CUFI chapters growing across the country, a "rapid response network" of thousands of pastors developing, and an open door to the White House, Brog and Hagee are planning for the long term. "We want to speak to Washington and encourage support for Israel whatever the conflict may be," Brog said. He paused, adding, "Provided of course that Israel's cause continues to be just."
But the renewal of the peace process and rolling back the West Bank settlements would be an unjust cause. For Hagee and for CUFI, all roads lead to a "nuclear showdown: with Iran. Diplomacy would only make God angry. As Hagee warns in Jerusalem Countdown, "Those who follow a policy of opposition to God's purposes will receive the swift and severe judgment of God without limitation."