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Target Iran: Christian Fundamentalists' Road To The End Of The World

By Yoginder Sikand

11 June, 2008

It is not only because of insatiable greed for oil, or
because of America's addiction to war or because of
Bush's obvious mental instability that America and its
allies now seem hell-bent on attacking Iran, although
these factors are certainly important. Equally
crucially, the current wave of fervent war-mongering
in the West directed against Iran owes to the enormous
clout wielded by Western Christian fundamentalist
organizations who, following the invasion and
destruction of Iraq, which they had so fervently
abetted, are now calling for a repeat performance,
this time in Iran. These blood-thirsty votaries of the
cult of unmitigated violence consider Iran to be the
major challenge to American and Zionist imperialism,
which they regard as enjoying divine blessing.
Insisting that America and Israel should invade Iran
at once, they regard this as a Christian necessity.
They also believe that this would herald a global war
of cosmic proportions that would, so they believe,
usher in the end of the world and Jesus' Second
Coming, something that they passionately await.

A key American Christian fundamentalist ideologue is
the Texas-based televangelist John Hagee. He is no
insignificant crank, although his views are, to put it
mildly, wildly outlandish. He is said to be close to
top leaders of the American Republic Party as well as
Israeli intelligence officers and politicians. He is
the pastor of The Cornerstone Church based in San
Antonio, and also heads the multi-million dollar
Global Evangelism media company that broadcasts his
daily programmes on 172 television and 82 radio
stations throughout the USA and around the world. His
fervent appeals to Christian simplicity obviously are
not intended to apply to himself: he is said to be one
of the wealthiest men in his city, and the trust that
he has named after himself, The John Hagee Rabbi
Trust, includes among its various assets a ranch
spread over almost 8000 acres.

Hagee is one of the principal ideologues of what is
called Christian Zionism, which is said to be the
fastest growing religious cult in America today. Hagee
is known for his fervent support for Israel, for he
considers this a Biblical duty binding on Christians,
and has been opposed to any peace deal that might
cause Israel to give up back any occupied land to the
Palestinians. He works closely with several American
and Israeli Jewish groups, and is one of the
architects of a Christian evangelical-Zionist
alliance. Recently he was in the news for bringing
together 400 Christian evangelical leaders,
representing as many as 30 million Christians, for a
'Summit on Israel', which resulted in the formation of
a new pro-Israeli lobbying group called Christians
United for Israel, which intends to establish a
50-state rapid-response network that aims to reach
every senator and congressman in America.

Author of numerous Christian fundamentalist texts,
Hagee's latest book, 'Jerusalem Countdown: A Preclude
to War' encapsulates the Christian fundamentalists'
case for a joint American-Israeli invasion of Iran. In
order to build up his argument, he portrays Iran in
the most lurid colours. 'Iran', he insists, without
adducing any evidence (for in Christian fundamentalist
circles-and in the West more generally-such evidence
is not needed) 'is the command post for global terror'
(p.vii). Under President Ahmadinijad, Hagee argues,
Iran is building up a nuclear stockpile, which it
intends to share with the rest of the Islamic world.
Since Iran, so he claims, is motivated by hatred for
Israel and America 'without limitation', it might use
these weapons to attack both these countries and their
allies and to completely destroy Western civilisation
(pp.4-5). Hence, before this can happen, America and
Israel, he insists, must invade Iran and destroy the
nuclear bombs that it supposedly possesses.

As Hagee and his ilk see it, Iran's opposition to
America and Israel has nothing whatsoever to do with
American aggression and imperialism or to Zionist
occupation and Israeli crimes against humanity.
Rather, this opposition is attributed squarely to the
fact that most Iranians are Muslims. It is, Hagee
claims, Islam as a religion that is the cause of the
supposed hatred of Muslims (including Iranians)
towards America and Israel. Here, he conveniently
ignores the fact that most ruling regimes in Muslim
countries, some of which, such as Saudi Arabia, spare
no effort to display their supposedly 'Islamic
credentials', are decidedly pro-American and are
little more than appendages of the West. Obviously,
conceding this inconvenient fact would seriously
undermine his argument.

Tracing the cause of anti-Westernism simply to Islam,
Hagee claims that Jews and Christians, on the one
hand, and Muslims, on the other, are presently engaged
in nothing less than the final battle for global
domination, and that, in fact, World War III has
already begun. Since this is, as he characterises it,
a religious war, a war, as George Bush describes it,
between 'good' and 'evil', there can be no compromise
or settlement between the supposedly contending
parties. It is a war to the finish, even if it brings
about the destruction of the world and the entire
human race through nuclear conflagration. In fact,
Hagee seems to clearly suggest (and this is something
that he appears to share with numerous other
influential Christian fundamentalist ideologues) that
this grand, final war must be speeded up by all
possible means, for only then, he believes, will Jesus
return to the world, destroy all non-Christians and
dispatch all 'good' Christians, like Hagee himself, to
ever-lasting bliss in heaven.

In order to justify what is nothing short than a
global anti-Islamic crusade, in which a proposed
invasion of Iran is just one step, Hagee repeats many
of the worn-out, tired clichés about Islam that were,
and still are, part of the stock vocabulary of
Christian fundamentalism. Islam and Christianity are
poles apart, he insists. He claims that Muslims and
Christians do not even worship the same God, and that
Allah is actually 'the moon god of Mecca' (p.2). While
Christianity is said to teach peace and love, Islam,
he contends, does precisely the opposite. He claims
that Islam was spread by the sword by the Prophet
Muhammad and his followers, while, ignoring the
centuries of Christian aggression, he writes that
Christianity was spread through love and charity.
Islam, he claims, insists that Muslims must kill all
non-Muslims if they do not accept to accept Islam.
Muslims, are by definition, 'terrorists', he says,
because their religion allegedly teaches them that
this is precisely what they should be. Muslims, he
goes on, are driven to hate non-Muslims because their
religion allegedly tells them to do so. Islam, he
writes, has an 'absolute commitment' to 'violence, to
murder and to terror'. (p.70). Muslims' supposed
hatred of the West, he claims, is because the West
(supposedly) champions democracy, freedom, women's
rights, men's respect for women, education, the love
of life, equality and so on, all of which, so Hagee
wants his readers to believe, Islam strongly
proscribes (p.28).

The ultimate aim of Muslims, Hagee claims, is to
destroy the West, kill all Jews and Christians,
because, he writes, this is 'their ticket to heaven
and the seventy-two virgins that await them there'
(p.23). Muslims, he argues, aim to conquering the
whole world and establishing a one-world Islamic
government (pp.6-16). He terrorizes his readers into
believing that a massive Muslim 'religious army,
unlike anything the Western world has seen since the
sawn of civilization' is now preparing for war against
the West, intending to conquer it and force Christians
and Jews into slavery if they do not accept Islam.

Iranian/Muslim opposition to America and Israel thus
being said to be entirely a result of alleged Islamic
teachings, rather than having any political or
economic causes, the solution that Hagee offers is
also expressed in religious terms: unleashing what is
virtually a second crusade against Muslims the world
over. The first step that America must do in this
regard, he argues, is to admit and announce that it is
engaged in a religious war against Islam, which he
says, 'is totally dedicated' to America's destruction
(p.35). Accordingly, he advises that the American
government must firmly tighten control on Muslim
immigration to that country. He even goes so far as to
suggest that all American Muslims are real or
potential 'terrorists' or terrorist-sympathisers, and
claims that 'sleeping terrorist cells' have been set
up in mosques and Islamic centres across the country.
(p.63). 'The Islamic army is not coming .it's here.
Quietly living next door, they are waiting for the
phone to ring for orders to attack', he says with
regard to Muslims living in America. (p.35)

This veiled argument for justifying government-backed
witch-hunts directed against Muslims in America is
accompanied by equally frightening steps that Hagee
advocates against Muslims living elsewhere. America
must continue, and even step up, its war in Iraq, he
insists, and must not bow to any pressure to withdraw
from that country for that , he says, would be
'perceived as a victory for radical Islam' which might
embolden Muslims to bring the war into America itself.
(p.35). Simultaneously, he argues, with unconcealed
glee, America must attack Iran and destroy its
supposed nuclear warheads.

This attack on Iran, Hagee writes, would be a
singularly crucial event of cosmic proportions. It
would, he claims, be nothing less than a major 'part
of a much bigger picture-that of God's plan for the
future of Israel and the entire world'. It would, in
fact, he says, unleash a chain of bloody and
devastating wars, the like of which humankind world
has never witnessed before, and which would soon cause
the destruction of the entire world. (p.37) The reader
is not left without a strong feeling that this is
precisely what Hagee and his war-mongering fellow
Christian fundamentalists actually desperately crave

Hagee sketches out the chain of events that would
follow from the American attack on Iran which he
claims the Bible predicts in fine detail. No sooner
does America invade Iran than a massive Muslim army,
hundreds of thousands strong, will attack Israel with
Russian assistance in order to destroy it. This army
would unleash nuclear weapons against America and
Israel, and, in this way, would cause what he calls 'a
nuclear Armageddon'. (p.53). This, Hagee insists, is
not something that can at all be prevented. In fact,
he seems to suggest that this global war is something
to be wildly celebrated by Christians because, he
claims, it has been ordained by none other than God
Himself. 'God is making it clear that He is dragging
Russia and its allies into Israel', Hagee writes
(p.145). The purpose: So that God can 'crush them [the
Russian-Muslim alliance] so that the Jews of Israel as
a whole will confess that He is the Lord!". By all
counts, nasty, brutal way for the god of Hagee's
imagination to seek to convince the Jews of his

The combined Russian-Muslim force that attacks Israel
as soon as America and Israel attack Iran will cause
widespread death, Hagee says, but then God will
intervene and cause his 'fury [to] explode' against
those who have gathered against the Jews, for God,
Hagee claims, considers the Jews 'His chosen people'.
But no sooner has the Russo-Muslim army been quashed
than another major opponent appears: this time in the
form of the Anti-Christ, the Son of Satan, who will,
through his powers of black magic, conquer the entire
world. He will enter into a seven-year peace treaty
with the Jews ostensibly in order to protect them from
the Muslims and the Russians, but after three and a
half years have passed he will break the treaty and
will turn on the Jews, seeking to obliterate them. In
this task, Hagee writes, he will be assisted by what
the Bible calls the 'Man from the East', which he
identifies as China.

This represents the culmination of the final battle
that heralds the end of the world, so Hagee (like
other Biblical literalists and Christian extremists)
believes. In this war against the Anti-Christ and
China, the West will join forces with the Jews, at a
place call Armageddon, a narrow valley outside
Jerusalem, which the Bible describes in considerable
gory detail.

Just before the battle is about to begin, a miracle
will appear, so Hagee ardently believes. Quoting the
Book of Revelations, the last chapter of the Christian
Bible, he writes, Jesus will descend to earth from the
skies, clothed in a garment dipped in blood and seated
on a white horse. He will be followed by a heavenly
cavalry to assist him. His task, Hagee quotes the Book
of Revelations as saying, will be to judge and make
war. With the sharp sword that he wields in his mouth,
Jesus shall 'strike the nations' that have gathered
against Israel, killing the Anti-Christ and the 'Man
from the East' and sending them-literally hundreds of
millions of people-all non-Christians, that is-to
eternal torment in hell. The blood of those slain by
Jesus, Hagee approvingly refers to the Book of
Revelations as announcing, would create a virtual 'sea
of human blood' that will be 'two hundred miles long'.

Jesus would then ascend his throne in Jerusalem, from
where he would rule the entire (and, if Hagee is to be
believed, the by-then entirely Christian) world for a
thousand years. A 'Golden Age of Peace' is how Hagee
characterizes this era, although how non-Christians
could ever consider it so is something that he
obviously does not bother about. 'Rejoice and be
glad', he excitedly announces, celebrating the gory
chain of events that he describes with such passion
that he says will unfold in the wake of an American
invasion of Iran, 'The best is yet to be!'.

That 'best' that Hagee and his fellow Christian
extremists so fervently pine for, is nothing less than
the destruction of the entire world.


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