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August 11, 2006, 9:53 pm

Christian Zionists and False Prophets

By Daoud Kuttab, Ramallah, West Bank


As if we don't have enough problems with Muslim and Jewish
fundamentalists, we are now confronted with yet another -ist.
Christian Zionists, mostly from the United States, are trying to
throw their weight behind one of the parties, in effect calling for
the continuation of the war and carnage in Lebanon.

A small minority of evangelical Christians have entered the Middle
East political arena with some of the most un-Christian statements I
have ever heard. The latest gems come from people like Pat
Robertson, the founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting
Network, and Rev. John Hagee of Christians United for Israel. Hagee,
a popular televangelist who leads the 18,000-member Cornerstone
Church in San Antonio, ratcheted up his rhetoric this year with the
publication of his book, "Jerusalem Countdown," in which he argues
that a confrontation with Iran is a necessary precondition for
Armageddon (which will mean the death of most Jews, in his eyes) and
the Second Coming of Christ.

In the best-selling book, Hagee insists that the United States must
join Israel in a preemptive military strike against Iran to fulfill
God's plan for both Israel and the West. Shortly after the book's
publication, he launched Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which,
as the Christian version of the powerful American Israel Public
Affairs Committee, he said would cause "a political earthquake."
With the outbreak of the war on Lebanon, he and others have called
to their followers to pray for Israel, and for the continuation of
the war on Lebanon. They have demanded that Israel not relent in
what they call the need to destroy Hezbollah and Hamas. They seem to
have completely forgotten the very core of the Christian faith.

I have been watching many American evangelicals trying to distance
themselves from the calls in the name of the Almighty for the war to
continue. As Christian leaders of all persuasions, including leaders
of evangelical churches, are calling for Mideast peace and an
immediate cease-fire, these Christian Zionists want their followers
to pray only for Israel.

One e-mail message that was making the rounds came from a prominent
U.S. evangelical Christian totally upset with an interview that Pat
Robertson gave to the Jerusalem Post. In it, Robertson appears more
pro-Israeli than the Israelis themselves and expresses anger at the
notion that Israelis might not completely finish off Hezbollah — a
task that he somehow sees as God's will. The author of the above-
mentioned e-mail message, Serge Duss of World Vision, a Christian
relief organization, called the Robertson interview "a perversion of
the Gospel of Jesus." Duss writes that he is sure that many
evangelicals strongly disagree and would gladly refute Robertson's
distorted theology.

Duss insists that American evangelicals are praying for 1) the
people of Israel and Lebanon; 2) for a cease-fire, so that lives
will be spared and 3) for peace with justice for all people in the
Middle East.

The discussion has reminded me of so many calls I heard as a young
Christian boy growing up in Bethlehem and Jerusalem: the false
prophets that have predicted the end days and the presence of the
anti-Christ are too numerous to list here. But I vividly remember
the very same Pat Robertson in 1982 as he spoke on C.B.N.'s "700
Club." He stood in front of a map of the Middle East, opened up a
copy of the Old Testamant and claimed to know what a particular
prophecy meant in geopolitical terms. As the Begin-Sharon army at
the time was besieging Beirut, he pointed out exactly what he said
would happen next. In particular he was keen to repeat that the
P.L.O.'s leader at the time, Yasir Arafat, was none other than the
anti-Christ himself.

Less than 13 years after that international broadcast, Robertson was
filmed visiting Arafat in Gaza, delivering food and milk to
Palestinians and applauding the peace agreement that Arafat had
signed with Israel's Yitzhak Rabin.

Christian Zionists who use religious rhetoric to justify political
and military actions are no better than Jewish or Islamic
fundamentalists who make similar outlandish claims. Peace in the
Middle East should be about the liberty, independence and freedoms
of all the people of the region, and not about whose promised land
the Holy Land is.

For the time being, I, as a Christian Palestinian, prefer to follow
the words of Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. "Blessed are the
peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God."


REACTIONS ON THE NYTIMES WEB

August 12th,
2006
12:35 am

Pax Christi, our brother in Christ. The Pope and the Roman Catholic
Church pray for you and Jesus' universal message of peace and love
for the whole world. God's Will be done, Insh'Allah.
• Posted by Richard Clark MD PhD
• 2.

August 12th,
2006
1:23 am

It is a great irony that religion has caused so much death and
destruction over the centuries. Crusades, witch burnings, holy wars,
etc. I'm not a Christian but recall this Bible verse that was taught
to me as a child. "Be swift to hear, and slow to speak and slow to
wrath, for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
Christians everywhere would do well do abide by those words.
• Posted by Wm. McCall
• 3.

August 12th,
2006
1:57 am

I am an American, and was born a Christian (Roman Catholic) although
I consider myself agnostic, since I believe religion begins to lose
its meaning (an effort to relate with the Divine) the minute people
start to organize it and a bureaucacy begins to form.
I find the entire evangelical Christian movement repugnant. As you
know, so many of the evangelical types here in the USA have hidden
agendas and are, at times, exposed for being the frauds they really
are.
Pat Robertson is almost completely discredited in the mainstream
here in the USA. He operates "out there" on the lunatic fringe, yet
it frightens me at times when I see just how large (and rich) the
lunatic fringe is here in America.
Isn't it a tragedy that the vast majority of people in thw Middle
East, in the Judeo-Christian & Muslim worlds- indeed, in the World
just want to live in peace and yet all it takes to tip the world
into the abyss is a small cadre of fanatics- Muslim, Christian,
Jewish………………………
• Posted by John Smilgin
• 4.

August 12th,
2006
2:10 am

It is high time real Christians spoke out against these betrayers of
Christ's message. If I were to believe in a genuine anti-Christ, Pat
Robertson and his ilk would certainly fit the requirements.
Christ said essentially that only two commandments were important:
love God, and love your fellow man. No exceptions.
• Posted by Linda Cope
• 5.

August 12th,
2006
2:17 am

Just wanted to say thank you for these remarkable thinkers -
writers. Marvelous perspectives! Decidedly all over the map. What a
concept! Thank you again for creating visibility for their words.
• Posted by ed jentoft
• 6.

August 12th,
2006
3:22 am

Thank you for this clear-eyed description of the strange American
phenomenon known as the Christian Zionist. To reasonable people in
the US they are a mere annoyance; but with their war-mongering and
money, they represent an actual threat to you. I, for one, beg your
pardon.
• Posted by Casey Chapple
• 7.

August 12th,
2006
3:26 am

A sad and dangerous commentary, which extends to lack of concern for
destruction of the environment, for obvious reasons. Those who want
to prevent widening war, and preserve the environment, must denounce
this fatalistic ideology.
• Posted by Brian Wickwire
• 8.

August 12th,
2006
6:00 am

Do not discount the crudely cynical component of fundamentalist
messages about Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. What once
was an experiment in thought is now the tempting road to power over
people and money.
Elmer Gantry survives, in more than Jimmy Bakker.
• Posted by richard
• 9.

August 12th,
2006
6:51 am

Not only are the dominators the false prophets but so too are the
partitioners. Why does Mr. Kuttab single out Christian Zionists when
all Zionists are fundamentally radical extremists that justify
political and military action to extend their dominance and material
ambitions? He should be out on the street demonstrating against the
partition of his country and calling for equal rights and
citizenship.
• Posted by Alan Goldstein
• 10.

August 12th,
2006
7:00 am

Amen! Blessed are the evangelicals who have come out in favor of
accepting moral responsibility for human-caused global climate
change. The hypocrisy of the others you describe infuriates me
beyond words, since I was raised a Christian.
• Posted by James Strick
• 11.

August 12th,
2006
7:42 am

I am an evangelical Christian, praying, as the Bible says, "for the
peace of Jerusalem." Isn't Jerusalem a city claimed by three
religions? To me, praying for its peace means praying for the
peaceful coexistence of opposing sides. I am confounded by the
inflammatory rhetoric of Rev. Robertson and Rev. Hagee.
• Posted by Gary Ciesla
• 12.

August 12th,
2006
7:44 am

Israel and Jews need these people the way they need the Ebola virus.
They want Israel to continue existing and they want the Jews
ingathered not for the sake of the Jews but for the sake of some
fantasied parousia. The feeling is that Jesus, when he returns, will
slaughter all the Jews who have not converted to Christianity (so
much for the Prince of Peace who was himself Jewish). They are
dangerous because they are loose cannons capable of precipitating
disaster out of their own benighted minds.
• Posted by Karen
• 13.

August 12th,
2006
7:49 am

As if God takes sides.
The fundamentalist hatemongers like Hagee and Robertson are just
like their counterparts in Judaism and Islam: hate filled
reactionaries more interested in their own power and glory than the
worship of God.
These religious extremists inadvertently make the case for secular
humanism: at minimum a secular humanist must be accountable to
principle and to the people, the religious zealot only has to
placate an angry God of his own choosing, usually to the detriment
of his opponents.
The really unfortunate situation is that the truly religious of all
faiths don't rise up to smite down the religious extremists that are
causing so much death and misery.
• Posted by Peter Nehl
• 14.

August 12th,
2006
7:54 am

Pat Robertson's driving ambition
(Which he views as his personal mission)
Is to see the world burn,
Every land in its turn,
To fulfill his perverse superstition.

• Posted by Ashley Hastings
• 15.

August 12th,
2006
7:55 am

Fundamentalists of all religions are cut from the same cloth and are
all equally dangerous. "Non-believers-enough" are just as dead
whether I/we/they have been stoned, burned, or butchered.
No one "in charge," though, seems to be alarmed.
Alas.
• Posted by Gene Touchet
• 16.

August 12th,
2006
8:00 am

Spot on. Perfect. These nutballs are confusing the "Left Behind"
novels with Scripture; their belief that they can force God's hand
by fomenting a wider war and killing even more of the "bad people"
is all so pathological that it takes my breath away. Spiritually,
they know everything and have learned nothing.
• Posted by Garrett Simpson
• 17.

August 12th,
2006
8:03 am

Regrettably, it seems that only the Pat Robertsons get the full
media play when it comes to this nonsense about God's will playing
out in violence between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
If there are evangelicals of a different mind, and I believe there
are, they need to band together and demand the kind of press
routinely given to the "Christian Zionists".
Pope Benedict XVI, like his predecessor, has condemned the violence,
yet that gets a one sentence reference in passing by some media
outlets.
If ever there were evidence of the need for the separation of Church
and state, it is profoundly clear in the undue influence which the
Robertson wing of the Christian community has had on this
administration. It is up to other Christians to stand up and show
that Robertson wing for the schismatic sect that it truly is.
• Posted by Michael Fleming
• 18.

August 12th,
2006
8:10 am

As a Christian and as a priest I am ashamed of the war-mongering
hate that continues to spew forth from certain so-called Christians
based on an ignorant and pernicious misuse of scripture. Israelis
may have been content to allow these right-wing Christians to have
their massive and seemingly harmless conferences in Megiddo about
the end-time; but an active call for bloodshed requires waking up to
what this really is–the frenzied anticipation of the ultimate Shoah,
the final destruction of the Jewish people. "Pray for the peace of
Jerusalem; may they prosper who love her"–ALL of them, Jews, Muslims
and Christians alike.
• Posted by Rev. Diana Lee Beach
• 19.

August 12th,
2006
9:01 am

As a Jew, my view of these Christian Zionists reminds me of the
rhetorical question: with "friends" like these, who needs enemies?
Anyone who ignores the fundamental peaceful message of his religion
(such as that of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism) and finds
authority in his religion's principles to justify trauma directed
against innocent people is either stupid or evil.
• Posted by Rick Alembik
• 20.

August 12th,
2006
9:09 am

Thank you so much for this thoughtful commentary. It is amazing to
me that people like Pat Robertson are given creedence by anyone at
all. Your contention that these Christian Zionists are similar to
Islamic or Jewish fundamentalists is right on the mark, though they
would be horrified to consider that.
God save us from them.
Claudia
• Posted by Claudia Esslinger
• 21.

August 12th,
2006
9:14 am

Amen.
• Posted by The Rev. Leslie Hughs
• 22.

August 12th,
2006
9:25 am

To speak of Pat Roberson and not be abusive is quite a feat. As a
radical atheist, I am as sure that religion causes harm as I am that
it is untrue. There can be no morality among religious people.
Religion knows no sense of what is right and what is wrong. The
world is my proof.
• Posted by Robert Lassiter
• 23.

August 12th,
2006
9:25 am

Thank you for your thoughtful post. I am a former member of Pastor
Hagee's church and a current follower of Christ. I realize that
animosity between Israelis and Arabs dates to Isaac and Ishmael.
That said, I remember that God provided comfort to Hagaar (Ishmael's
mother) when she left the house of Abraham. She was assured that her
son would also lead a great nation.
As a Christ follower, I am grieved by calls to war. We are taught
that our battles are not purely against flesh and blood. We are also
taught that the line between good and evil often divides the heart
of every man. I am praying for the peace of Jerusalem as the
scripture instructs. I am not praying that the peace come through
war and carnage.
As a believer, I know that prophecy is true and it will be
fulfilled. I don't find the interpretations as obvious as Pat
Robertson, and I don't think that the will of God requires the
intervention of man to hasten the day of Christ's return. Pure
religion has compassion on widows and orphans, whether Israeli or
Lebanese.
Thank you for recognizing that Christians have only one ultimate
spokesman and that he doesn't appear in pancake makeup under
television lights.
• Posted by Christian Cable
• 24.

August 12th,
2006
9:26 am

The distortions at all levels in the Holy Land of human and
religious rights seem so persistent as to form part of the very soil
of the place.
All the metaphors of holy gardens and other sanctuaries fall to
pieces in this war-torn reality, leaving only the tragedy of
religions aflame with justifications and in so much pain.
If all sides completly disarmed, how would the issues be settled?
• Posted by Roger Gilroy
• 25.

August 12th,
2006
9:38 am

I applaud and agree with Mr. Kuttab's statements about
fundamentalist Christian positions……as far from Christ's teachings
as the fundamentalist Muslim and Jewish rantings. As a thhird
generation Lebanese American who has visited in Lebanon I cannot
bear the thought of the pain and destruction in Lebanon or any other
place in the Middle East. The teachings of our one God/Allah/Yahweh
and the teachings of Jesus are being interpreted and distorted to
serve the desires of power crazed individuals on all sides.
• Posted by Susan Khoury
• 26.

August 12th,
2006
9:39 am

You may prefer to follow the words of Jesus, but it's long been
apparent that the words of Jesus are one part of the Bible that many
fundamentalist American Christians find inconvenient to
their "faith" and seem content to ignore.
• Posted by John Lear
• 27.

August 12th,
2006
9:42 am

Is there a reason that Israel allow Pat Robertson and others like
him remain in their country? Would it not be in their interest to
revoke their visas and send them back to the countries of origin?
Does Robertson really have the ears of the Israeli leaders as he
claims?
• Posted by Bruce Johnson
• 28.

August 12th,
2006
9:46 am

I am happy to hear someone call out these influential "Christian"
leaders on the error of their theology. Regardless of one's view of
the conflict in the Middle East, it is clear that the position taken
by these religious leaders is 1)no different from the "extremists"
they decry, 2)is a result of myopic biblical scholarship grounded in
a self serving, hypocritical world view, and most importantly, 3)
undermines the message Gospels and compromises the cause of Christ.
• Posted by Marvin G Thompson
• 29.

August 12th,
2006
9:51 am

Mr. Kuttab,
I totally agree with your point of view but you're "preaching to the
choir". People like Robertson and Hagee and their followers are as
likely to listen to you as they are to listen to Jesus himself.
It is totally beyond me how the two of them and their ilk can
attract so many followers. I could understand if their followers
came from backwards communities or from the illiterate. How any
educated, even moderately intelligent person can follow, let alone
give financial support to them, is a total mystery to me.
Beyond all this, my greatest concern is the influence some of these
so called leaders have on some of our elected officials. And that
goes to the very top elected official and those trying to get there.
The fact that John McCain met with and solicited the support of one
of the worst offenders among these hypocrites (and I'm not able to
remember his name right now) is a sad and disturbing reminder of how
much power some of these people have.
Keep writing! Maybe someday the message will get through.
• Posted by Charlie Patin
• 30.

August 12th,
2006
9:53 am

I have read Gerahom Gorenberg's End of Days. I hope it will be
widely read by Americans. Christian history tells us that if
extremist Christians are able to control our country politically
they will run it like Muslim extremists.
• Posted by Virginia Perrenod
• 31.

August 12th,
2006
10:00 am

There's a ghastly similarity between the end-of-days evangelical
Christians and the Mullahs in Iran (and the Iranian president no
less)who believe that a middle-east conflagration is required to
bring about the return of the 12th Imman and the ushering-in of the
era of God's rule.
Muslim and Christian crazies have more in common than most realize.
• Posted by Max Davies
• 32.

August 12th,
2006
10:02 am

I applaud Daoud Kuttab's insights and personal experience as a
Christian. The far religious right in America suffers from a high
degree of arrogance issuing from their insistance on
biblical "inerrancy" and "literalism". As a former missinary in
Africa in the tradition of Robertson and Falwell, I know the
theology quite well and am saddeened by its destructiveness. There
is very little love in that theology and certainly the thrust toward
the apocalypse we now witness bears this out.
• Posted by howard beardslee
• 33.

August 12th,
2006
10:08 am

I have read Gershom Gorenberg's End of Days and hope that it will be
widely read by Americans. History confirms that religious extremists
if they gain political control become tyrants.
• Posted by Virginia Perrenod
• 34.

August 12th,
2006
10:20 am

Amen to the last paragraph. Fundamentalism in any religion is the
curse of the world.
• Posted by John R. Burt
• 35.

August 12th,
2006
10:27 am

Don't these people trust god to bring about the end times on his
schedule? Or do they think they can dictate to him what that
schedule should be?
These kinds of antics are so stupifying, one wonders how any
rational person could possibly believe in any of this religious
nonsense. That so many Americans do, shows why the country has
embarked on such an idiotic course of action during the past several
years.
• Posted by Charles E Johnson
• 36.

August 12th,
2006
10:28 am

Religionists are rapidly converting civilization into a global `day
room' populated by violently paranoid and delusional true believers.
Soon it will be impossible to distinguish the patients from
the "doctors". Fundamentalist Christians, Orthodox Jews, Muslim
Jihadists all suffer the same madness. As a Nobel scientist pointed
out, "Good people do good things, bad people do bad things, but it
takes religion to make good people behave badly.
• Posted by Thomas Patton
• 37.

August 12th,
2006
10:30 am

Thank you for a voice of reason and humanity.
• Posted by Roger Townley
• 38.

August 12th,
2006
10:38 am

I couldn't agree more with Daoud Kuttab. Jesus would weep bitter,
bitter tears at the perversion and abomination that evangelical so-
called Christianity has become. Since the term "Islamofascist" has
grown in popularity in remarks made by politicians (e.g., President
Bush) and TV talking heads (e.g., Tony Blankley of the Washington
Times), I offer up the term "Christofascist" to describe the likes
of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and others of their
ilk. I couldn't agree more with Daoud Kuttab.
• Posted by Thomas P. Mitchell
• 39.

August 12th,
2006
10:46 am

Christian extremists are no different from Islamic extremists, since
each bastardizes the Bible and the Koran, respectively, to further
their own agendas. As such, they are far more interested in their
own pronouncements than they are in the teachings of Christ or
Mohammad, since their extremist views serve to promote them
personally rather than Christ or Mohammad.
If westerners and those in the Middle East could get back to
the "true" teachings of their religions, there would be no conflict
in the Middle East or anywhere else. It's only when those who
consider themselves superior to the person they call their savior
does trouble erupt.
• Posted by David Moorshead
• 40.

August 12th,
2006
11:00 am

As my years get fewer, my constant hope is peace in the Middle East.
Your observations strike to the core of what I believe to be a basic
obstacle to lasting peace,i.e. poorly guided outside leaders
misdirecting the efforts of local officials. Strive to let the
people decide.
• Posted by Dean Hofmeister
• 41.

August 12th,
2006
11:05 am

Pat Robertson and his ilk are cowards. It takes courage to live life
with all its disappointments and challenges. Their preference for
the second coming is no different than being promised virgins in the
after-life. I suspect that had there been more virgins (i.e., more
life-enhancing sex) in their current lives they'd be more committed
to life on earth. Freud would have a field day with proponents of
Christian Zionism.
• Posted by K. Warner
• 42.

August 12th,
2006
11:10 am

Amen
• Posted by Rudolph Morris
• 43.

August 12th,
2006
11:13 am

Thank you for the column. As a volunteer with the Mennonite Central
Committee in Jerusalem during the 1973 war, I can attest to the
rabid enthusiasm of that branch of Christianity. My only conclusion
is that they have misinterpreted the scriptures and are totally
negating the heart of the teachings of Jesus Christ our Lod.
• Posted by Jerry Barkman
• 44.

August 12th,
2006
11:50 am

If there is a god at all it denies all rationality that he/she would
be of the sort who fundamentalists of any religion proclaim. Since
power seeking leaders cannot exploit rational thought, they instead
twist the thinking of fundamentalists. And, fundamentalists give
leaders the authority they need to wage war.
Recently, after an expression of dismay concerning the war in
Lebanon, a friend of mine (a Jehovah's Witness waiting for the final
battle) said, "Oh I think it's exciting!" Well, if enough people
think like that, they will bring about the end of civilized society
themselves. The problem for them is that they will not find virgins
or life everlasting at the end. Only grief with the rest of us.
• Posted by Tina Carter
• 45.

August 12th,
2006
12:00 pm

Thank you for your thoughtful column. I am an American Christian who
is becoming less and less interested in referring to my faith lest I
become associated with the vitriol spewing from so many here who
claim to be speaking for Christ. Our current government is largely
in the hands of those of limited vision. All they seem to know is
violence and the power of wealth. Unlike Ghandi or King they have
either never bothered to read Christ's own teaching or they don't
think it is supposed to be taken seriously (although they are
perfectly willing to claim God's stamp of approval). It continues to
strike me that the vicious rhetoric of Bin Laden, our American
president and Iran's president sound almost identical if you change
the name of the God or the name of the enemy. None of it sounds like
the teaching of a Christ who taught that one prayed that we be
forgiven as we forgive others. That has most frequently been ignored
and scoffed at as weak, but if it is so then people like Mother
Theresa, Ghandi, King and Jesus himself were weak. I can only pray
for such a "weakness."
• Posted by Nikka Ziemer
• 46.

August 12th,
2006
12:07 pm

While I agree wholeheartedly with what this author is saying, the
sad fact is
Peace, Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Care, Understanding are
considered in the United States as feminine traits; while the
aberation of Eye for an Eye is considered as a masculine trait. As
long as God is viewed in the Masculine Gender, Rev. Hagee and
Robertson, and people like them, will continue to attract a very
large following, thereby drowning out the message of Jesus: Love God
and Love Your Neighbor as Yourself!
• Posted by Al Mackdanz
• 47.

August 12th,
2006
12:12 pm

The $64,000 question is how much influence these religious cultists
have on President Bush.
• Posted by Rita Whalen
• 48.

August 12th,
2006
12:13 pm

Born of a Christian fundamentalist family, and converted to Judiasm
as an adult, this trend is especially scary to me. I'd like to be
proud of one of my religious roots, but the "peacemakers" seem
blessedly hard to find. If another religious war breaks out in full,
we are going to need them badly/
• Posted by Darlene
• 49.

August 12th,
2006
12:16 pm

Thank you for the reminder of what it means to be a Christian.
For my part, I refuse to call these people Christian Zionists. When
it is "the other side" who calls for violence to further their own
ends, we call them extremists, or worse. We are dealing here with
Christian extremists. (And when I find another word to use in the
place of "Christian" I will do so.)
• Posted by Mike Todd
• 50.

August 12th,
2006
12:22 pm

Amen to that!
• Posted by David Oates
• 51.

August 12th,
2006
12:25 pm

Thank you for your article. People like Pat Robertson gather
followers who, while basically good, well-meaning people, are easily
manipulated. They want meaning and a reason for their existence and
in a better world they would be given that through a message of
compassion and love, but instead our Christian fascists offer a
clear, strong, emotionally exciting hate wrapped up in the language
and symbols of religion. Like all the other religious fascists
currently polluting our world. They know how to get the ratings, and
how they get them doesn't matter as long as they get them.
• Posted by Eric Smith
• 52.

August 12th,
2006
12:28 pm

Jesus said that not everyone who cries "Lord, Lord" will enter the
Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus praised the Good Samaritan over members and
religious leaders of his own community. One needs to remember that
when He chose a Samaritan as his example of how to behave it was
because the Jews (to whom He was preaching) and the Samaritans were
on very bad terms, and He wanted to show that it is how you behave
that counts, not being a member of the right group. Read "Good Gay
Activist" or "Good Muslim" to get an idea of what he meant. Jesus
stressed that we really really need to forgive others, act kindly
and lovingly as possible even to our enemies, and try to heal
wounds.
• Posted by Chuck Vekert
• 53.

August 12th,
2006
12:30 pm

Thank you for this very insightful and helpful piece. It continually
troubles and angers me that religious leaders of all faiths do not
challenge the stupid and outrageous rantings of fundamentalists.
There are no virgins waiting for bombers to kill themselves while
killing others. Pat Robertson's comments are almost always anti-
Christian and hurtful. So why don't religious leaders loudly
denounce such nonsense? Regularly!
You have done a great thing by writing this piece. Please continue
to write more on the subject.
• Posted by Ronn Robinson
• 54.

August 12th,
2006
12:49 pm

This is not the first time I've heard of this revolting and
extremely Un-Christian idea. It boggles the mind how disgusting it
is.
However, it also raises an extraordinary theological question. How
can human beings knowingly start the apocalypse? Wouldn't that be
antithetical to the core world view espoused by Christ and the
Apostles? It seems to me that the continually repeated undercurrent
of those teachings is that humanity must trust to God and resist the
temptations to meddle in the divine plans. To do so would be to make
ourselves as God, and thus take on the mantle of Satan. So - if an
ostensibly Christian preacher espouses war to bring the apocalypse,
shouldn't we view that preacher as an agent of Evil?
• Posted by Christopher Lane
• 55.

August 12th,
2006
1:24 pm

There are some 70 million or more Christian Zionists in the U.S.
What they evidently do not understand about the Middle East is that
hundreds of millions of people have been living on their land for
thousands of years.
It is outrageous and unconscionable for some American religious
zealots to hope for the destruction of other people and their land.
Yet this is what Christian Zionists are seeking.
The late Anwar el-Sadat wrote an autobiography and began his story
by describing his love for Egypt, the land on which he was born and
lived. He loved his village and the people in it.
To me, all the inhabitants of the Middle East whose families have
lived on their land for countless generations are as attached to
their homeland as was Sadat. It is not a matter of real estate for
them. The land represents their livelihood and their existence.
The majority of Christian Zionists who live in the U.S. have no
conception of what they seek by hoping for Armageddon and the
destruction of the Middle East.
There are millions of people in the Middle East who deserve the same
protection and right to live as any U.S. citizen does.
• Posted by M. Kawasaki
• 56.

August 12th,
2006
1:28 pm

While televangelists like Robertson are misguided and no doubt harm
Christian evangelism, making their public statements antethetical to
their own moniker, I don't think that "They seem to have completely
forgotten the very core of the Christian faith."
The very core of the Christian faith is the sincere belief and
acknowledgment that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, is the
Messaiah of Old Testament prophecy, and will return again. This is
the signal, and all the rest is noise.
The purest example of evangelism, Christian conversion and
acceptance by god is the thief on the cross at the same time as
Jesus. There is no tearful repentance, no confession of sin,
certainly no political position. He simply says that he believes
Jesus is who Jesus claimed to be — Messaiah who would rule an
absolute `kingdom' one day.
I think Robertson could make that confession easily, and I think the
author of this article could as well. The only action required of
any Christian is to live in such a way that people whose lives one
touches come to that realization as well. There's no political
opinion at the core of Christianity; insisting there is one detracts
from the conclusion the thief on the cross reached: that
understanding the identity of Jesus of Nazareth supplants and
overcomes anything that happens in this world and any religion that
came before or after.
Jesus never said a word about politics; he alone is the very core of
the Christian faith; not doctrine, not prophecy, not policy.
• Posted by Deborah Fenning
• 57.

August 12th,
2006
2:00 pm

Isn't the anti-Christ actually not a specific person, but an energy
and intention that is anti-peaceful, -inclusive, -caring, in other
words, "against" what Jesus lived and taught? People who are caught
up in this energy and intention – often fearful, greedy and self-
aggrandizing, like Pat Robertson – behave in ways that are "anti"
Jesus Christ and the core spiritual truth of many religions. These
people are ill and in dire need of help, but won't receive it due to
their proud, stubborn egos.
Egotism, basically the belief in a mind-made "me", is the prevalent
anti-Christian disease of our time. If there is to be an end of the
world and return of Christ, it will be the ending of the ego-world,
one human at a time, which will reveal for that consciousness
something sublimely beautiful and real.
• Posted by richard Kurth
• 58.

August 12th,
2006
2:49 pm

I am glad to see this in print since so many intelligent people are
oblivious,and it seems so dangerous- support of Israel that passes
for support and leads to the death of a people. The Christian Right
in this country so very much scares me and as you say, is distinctly
unChristian. I am an agnostic Jew but the lack of humanity is so
destructive so thank you.
• Posted by Carol Smaldino
• 59.

August 12th,
2006
2:52 pm

Excellent article. The problem is I think is that most people who
claim to be Christian do not understand the main teaching of the
bible which is about forgiveness and loving others the way we love
ourselves. Listening to the comments of my fellow christian brethens
during this conflict and other partisan speeches has made me ashamed
to be a part of them.
• Posted by jo hays
• 60.

August 12th,
2006
3:14 pm

The world has always contended with false prophets, those seekers of
power and plunder, who cater to the sadly confused and easily
coopted. Their goal is self enrichment (or like Bin Laden, self
aggrandizement) at the expense of a tolerant and dismissive
international community which does little to identify and discredit
such quacks.
Mr. Kattub does himself and his readers an injustice by limiting his
identification to only two practicians of this kind of fraud. In
addition to the leaders of Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia for openers,
he should have added Pres. Bush, VP Cheney, Sec. Rumsfeld, etc.,
etc. They too practice the same deceit for the same ends as
Robertson and his ilk.
• Posted by Matthew Schwartz
• 61.

August 12th,
2006
4:02 pm

A beautifully written article. I hope and pray that your words and
thoughts prevail. God loves us all. No one individual or group of
religious zealots has God's attention exclusively. We will all be
held accountable for our actions and only our actions. God is the
judge of every one of us. He alone will allow us into His company or
ban us from His sight. Wether we chose our religion or our religion
chose us will make no difference to Him. How we treat one another
and honor Him will be our ticket to the afterlife. Carrying out acts
of hate or preaching hatred from the pulpit is a sign that we place
our need to be right before our desire to follow Our Lords teaching.
Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself burdens us with the responsibility to
bring about peace and sustain it not only in the Middle East but
everywhere that people are suffering and dying because of hatred or
illness or greed. Peace is the only thing God promised us. For with
peace comes every other good thing. The ONLY way to achieve peace is
through love.
• Posted by Jim Bettag
• 62.

August 13th,
2006
3:54 am

In a certain sense, being an Israel supporter and a Jew myself,
Christian-American evangelists hurt Israel in the court of world
opinion. They provide fuel to the fire for claims of "zionist
control of the U.S. government" and they lead people to believe that
Israelis share their Armaggedon-mongering views.
There is no stimulus for war in Judaism other than self-protection.
That's all. No holy wars. No converting people of other faiths. No
jihad or infidels. None of that. This is what is wrong with American
evangelists support of Israel. They are hijacking a war of
justifiable reasoning (self-defense) and sullying it by turning it
into a religious vendetta (Armegeddeon). That is not how Israelis
view it. And that is the problem, because their views are being
caricatured by extremism in the American religious right.
It is similiar to how the anti-semetic movement of Europe hijacks
the Palestinean cause. It feeds the rage of the Muslim world when it
would not have otherwise been so.
The problem isn't religion so much as outside influence. Because of
outside influence, this situation is so much more intractable than
it would have been otherwise.
• Posted by Abe
• 63.

August 13th,
2006
9:31 am

America accepts Zionism and supports it. Our entire Congress asserts
that Israel must remain a "Jewish" state. Historically one of
America's fundamental values has been the separation of church and
state, but we support a theocracy in Insrael. Now, the right-wing
religious nut-jobs are taking the concept of theocracy a few steps
further. Why are we appalled?
• Posted by cadabra
• 64.

August 13th,
2006
9:50 am

There is no such thing as a "Christian Zionist." Even Kuttab
acknowledges as such when he says that these millenial fundamental
Christians are waiting for an Armageddon which portends the end of
the Jews.
Zionism is not a fundamentalist religious movement; it never was. It
is a political movement dedicated to the proposition that the Jews
deserve a nation-state in (some portion of) the biblical land of
Israel. The fact that some fundamentalist Jews (and fundamentalist
Christians) have perverted this for their religious purposes, does
not alter the nature of Zionism.
• Posted by mark trilling


 
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Subject: [daoudkuttab] Christian Zionists and False Prophets (plus positive feeback)
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Below is an article that appeared on the web site of the New York
Times Timeselect. At the end of the article, I have copied 64 on
line reactions, the vast majority of them very positive. Take time
to read and feel free to distribute:

August 11, 2006, 9:53 pm

Christian Zionists and False Prophets

By Daoud Kuttab, Ramallah, West Bank

As if we don't have enough problems with Muslim and Jewish
fundamentalists, we are now confronted with yet another -ist.
Christian Zionists, mostly from the United States, are trying to
throw their weight behind one of the parties, in effect calling for
the continuation of the war and carnage in Lebanon.

A small minority of evangelical Christians have entered the Middle
East political arena with some of the most un-Christian statements I
have ever heard. The latest gems come from people like Pat
Robertson, the founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting
Network, and Rev. John Hagee of Christians United for Israel. Hagee,
a popular televangelist who leads the 18,000-member Cornerstone
Church in San Antonio, ratcheted up his rhetoric this year with the
publication of his book, "Jerusalem Countdown," in which he argues
that a confrontation with Iran is a necessary precondition for
Armageddon (which will mean the death of most Jews, in his eyes) and
the Second Coming of Christ.

In the best-selling book, Hagee insists that the United States must
join Israel in a preemptive military strike against Iran to fulfill
God's plan for both Israel and the West. Shortly after the book's
publication, he launched Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which,
as the Christian version of the powerful American Israel Public
Affairs Committee, he said would cause "a political earthquake."
With the outbreak of the war on Lebanon, he and others have called
to their followers to pray for Israel, and for the continuation of
the war on Lebanon. They have demanded that Israel not relent in
what they call the need to destroy Hezbollah and Hamas. They seem to
have completely forgotten the very core of the Christian faith.

I have been watching many American evangelicals trying to distance
themselves from the calls in the name of the Almighty for the war to
continue. As Christian leaders of all persuasions, including leaders
of evangelical churches, are calling for Mideast peace and an
immediate cease-fire, these Christian Zionists want their followers
to pray only for Israel.

One e-mail message that was making the rounds came from a prominent
U.S. evangelical Christian totally upset with an interview that Pat
Robertson gave to the Jerusalem Post. In it, Robertson appears more
pro-Israeli than the Israelis themselves and expresses anger at the
notion that Israelis might not completely finish off Hezbollah — a
task that he somehow sees as God's will. The author of the above-
mentioned e-mail message, Serge Duss of World Vision, a Christian
relief organization, called the Robertson interview "a perversion of
the Gospel of Jesus." Duss writes that he is sure that many
evangelicals strongly disagree and would gladly refute Robertson's
distorted theology.

Duss insists that American evangelicals are praying for 1) the
people of Israel and Lebanon; 2) for a cease-fire, so that lives
will be spared and 3) for peace with justice for all people in the
Middle East.

The discussion has reminded me of so many calls I heard as a young
Christian boy growing up in Bethlehem and Jerusalem: the false
prophets that have predicted the end days and the presence of the
anti-Christ are too numerous to list here. But I vividly remember
the very same Pat Robertson in 1982 as he spoke on C.B.N.'s "700
Club." He stood in front of a map of the Middle East, opened up a
copy of the Old Testamant and claimed to know what a particular
prophecy meant in geopolitical terms. As the Begin-Sharon army at
the time was besieging Beirut, he pointed out exactly what he said
would happen next. In particular he was keen to repeat that the
P.L.O.'s leader at the time, Yasir Arafat, was none other than the
anti-Christ himself.

Less than 13 years after that international broadcast, Robertson was
filmed visiting Arafat in Gaza, delivering food and milk to
Palestinians and applauding the peace agreement that Arafat had
signed with Israel's Yitzhak Rabin.

Christian Zionists who use religious rhetoric to justify political
and military actions are no better than Jewish or Islamic
fundamentalists who make similar outlandish claims. Peace in the
Middle East should be about the liberty, independence and freedoms
of all the people of the region, and not about whose promised land
the Holy Land is.

For the time being, I, as a Christian Palestinian, prefer to follow
the words of Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. "Blessed are the
peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God."


REACTIONS ON THE NYTIMES WEB

August 12th,
2006
12:35 am

Pax Christi, our brother in Christ. The Pope and the Roman Catholic
Church pray for you and Jesus' universal message of peace and love
for the whole world. God's Will be done, Insh'Allah.
• Posted by Richard Clark MD PhD
• 2.

August 12th,
2006
1:23 am

It is a great irony that religion has caused so much death and
destruction over the centuries. Crusades, witch burnings, holy wars,
etc. I'm not a Christian but recall this Bible verse that was taught
to me as a child. "Be swift to hear, and slow to speak and slow to
wrath, for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
Christians everywhere would do well do abide by those words.
• Posted by Wm. McCall
• 3.

August 12th,
2006
1:57 am

I am an American, and was born a Christian (Roman Catholic) although
I consider myself agnostic, since I believe religion begins to lose
its meaning (an effort to relate with the Divine) the minute people
start to organize it and a bureaucacy begins to form.
I find the entire evangelical Christian movement repugnant. As you
know, so many of the evangelical types here in the USA have hidden
agendas and are, at times, exposed for being the frauds they really
are.
Pat Robertson is almost completely discredited in the mainstream
here in the USA. He operates "out there" on the lunatic fringe, yet
it frightens me at times when I see just how large (and rich) the
lunatic fringe is here in America.
Isn't it a tragedy that the vast majority of people in thw Middle
East, in the Judeo-Christian & Muslim worlds- indeed, in the World
just want to live in peace and yet all it takes to tip the world
into the abyss is a small cadre of fanatics- Muslim, Christian,
Jewish………………………
• Posted by John Smilgin
• 4.

August 12th,
2006
2:10 am

It is high time real Christians spoke out against these betrayers of
Christ's message. If I were to believe in a genuine anti-Christ, Pat
Robertson and his ilk would certainly fit the requirements.
Christ said essentially that only two commandments were important:
love God, and love your fellow man. No exceptions.
• Posted by Linda Cope
• 5.

August 12th,
2006
2:17 am

Just wanted to say thank you for these remarkable thinkers -
writers. Marvelous perspectives! Decidedly all over the map. What a
concept! Thank you again for creating visibility for their words.
• Posted by ed jentoft
• 6.

August 12th,
2006
3:22 am

Thank you for this clear-eyed description of the strange American
phenomenon known as the Christian Zionist. To reasonable people in
the US they are a mere annoyance; but with their war-mongering and
money, they represent an actual threat to you. I, for one, beg your
pardon.
• Posted by Casey Chapple
• 7.

August 12th,
2006
3:26 am

A sad and dangerous commentary, which extends to lack of concern for
destruction of the environment, for obvious reasons. Those who want
to prevent widening war, and preserve the environment, must denounce
this fatalistic ideology.
• Posted by Brian Wickwire
• 8.

August 12th,
2006
6:00 am

Do not discount the crudely cynical component of fundamentalist
messages about Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. What once
was an experiment in thought is now the tempting road to power over
people and money.
Elmer Gantry survives, in more than Jimmy Bakker.
• Posted by richard
• 9.

August 12th,
2006
6:51 am

Not only are the dominators the false prophets but so too are the
partitioners. Why does Mr. Kuttab single out Christian Zionists when
all Zionists are fundamentally radical extremists that justify
political and military action to extend their dominance and material
ambitions? He should be out on the street demonstrating against the
partition of his country and calling for equal rights and
citizenship.
• Posted by Alan Goldstein
• 10.

August 12th,
2006
7:00 am

Amen! Blessed are the evangelicals who have come out in favor of
accepting moral responsibility for human-caused global climate
change. The hypocrisy of the others you describe infuriates me
beyond words, since I was raised a Christian.
• Posted by James Strick
• 11.

August 12th,
2006
7:42 am

I am an evangelical Christian, praying, as the Bible says, "for the
peace of Jerusalem." Isn't Jerusalem a city claimed by three
religions? To me, praying for its peace means praying for the
peaceful coexistence of opposing sides. I am confounded by the
inflammatory rhetoric of Rev. Robertson and Rev. Hagee.
• Posted by Gary Ciesla
• 12.

August 12th,
2006
7:44 am

Israel and Jews need these people the way they need the Ebola virus.
They want Israel to continue existing and they want the Jews
ingathered not for the sake of the Jews but for the sake of some
fantasied parousia. The feeling is that Jesus, when he returns, will
slaughter all the Jews who have not converted to Christianity (so
much for the Prince of Peace who was himself Jewish). They are
dangerous because they are loose cannons capable of precipitating
disaster out of their own benighted minds.
• Posted by Karen
• 13.

August 12th,
2006
7:49 am

As if God takes sides.
The fundamentalist hatemongers like Hagee and Robertson are just
like their counterparts in Judaism and Islam: hate filled
reactionaries more interested in their own power and glory than the
worship of God.
These religious extremists inadvertently make the case for secular
humanism: at minimum a secular humanist must be accountable to
principle and to the people, the religious zealot only has to
placate an angry God of his own choosing, usually to the detriment
of his opponents.
The really unfortunate situation is that the truly religious of all
faiths don't rise up to smite down the religious extremists that are
causing so much death and misery.
• Posted by Peter Nehl
• 14.

August 12th,
2006
7:54 am

Pat Robertson's driving ambition
(Which he views as his personal mission)
Is to see the world burn,
Every land in its turn,
To fulfill his perverse superstition.

• Posted by Ashley Hastings
• 15.

August 12th,
2006
7:55 am

Fundamentalists of all religions are cut from the same cloth and are
all equally dangerous. "Non-believers-enough" are just as dead
whether I/we/they have been stoned, burned, or butchered.
No one "in charge," though, seems to be alarmed.
Alas.
• Posted by Gene Touchet
• 16.

August 12th,
2006
8:00 am

Spot on. Perfect. These nutballs are confusing the "Left Behind"
novels with Scripture; their belief that they can force God's hand
by fomenting a wider war and killing even more of the "bad people"
is all so pathological that it takes my breath away. Spiritually,
they know everything and have learned nothing.
• Posted by Garrett Simpson
• 17.

August 12th,
2006
8:03 am

Regrettably, it seems that only the Pat Robertsons get the full
media play when it comes to this nonsense about God's will playing
out in violence between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
If there are evangelicals of a different mind, and I believe there
are, they need to band together and demand the kind of press
routinely given to the "Christian Zionists".
Pope Benedict XVI, like his predecessor, has condemned the violence,
yet that gets a one sentence reference in passing by some media
outlets.
If ever there were evidence of the need for the separation of Church
and state, it is profoundly clear in the undue influence which the
Robertson wing of the Christian community has had on this
administration. It is up to other Christians to stand up and show
that Robertson wing for the schismatic sect that it truly is.
• Posted by Michael Fleming
• 18.

August 12th,
2006
8:10 am

As a Christian and as a priest I am ashamed of the war-mongering
hate that continues to spew forth from certain so-called Christians
based on an ignorant and pernicious misuse of scripture. Israelis
may have been content to allow these right-wing Christians to have
their massive and seemingly harmless conferences in Megiddo about
the end-time; but an active call for bloodshed requires waking up to
what this really is–the frenzied anticipation of the ultimate Shoah,
the final destruction of the Jewish people. "Pray for the peace of
Jerusalem; may they prosper who love her"–ALL of them, Jews, Muslims
and Christians alike.
• Posted by Rev. Diana Lee Beach
• 19.

August 12th,
2006
9:01 am

As a Jew, my view of these Christian Zionists reminds me of the
rhetorical question: with "friends" like these, who needs enemies?
Anyone who ignores the fundamental peaceful message of his religion
(such as that of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism) and finds
authority in his religion's principles to justify trauma directed
against innocent people is either stupid or evil.
• Posted by Rick Alembik
• 20.

August 12th,
2006
9:09 am

Thank you so much for this thoughtful commentary. It is amazing to
me that people like Pat Robertson are given creedence by anyone at
all. Your contention that these Christian Zionists are similar to
Islamic or Jewish fundamentalists is right on the mark, though they
would be horrified to consider that.
God save us from them.
Claudia
• Posted by Claudia Esslinger
• 21.

August 12th,
2006
9:14 am

Amen.
• Posted by The Rev. Leslie Hughs
• 22.

August 12th,
2006
9:25 am

To speak of Pat Roberson and not be abusive is quite a feat. As a
radical atheist, I am as sure that religion causes harm as I am that
it is untrue. There can be no morality among religious people.
Religion knows no sense of what is right and what is wrong. The
world is my proof.
• Posted by Robert Lassiter
• 23.

August 12th,
2006
9:25 am

Thank you for your thoughtful post. I am a former member of Pastor
Hagee's church and a current follower of Christ. I realize that
animosity between Israelis and Arabs dates to Isaac and Ishmael.
That said, I remember that God provided comfort to Hagaar (Ishmael's
mother) when she left the house of Abraham. She was assured that her
son would also lead a great nation.
As a Christ follower, I am grieved by calls to war. We are taught
that our battles are not purely against flesh and blood. We are also
taught that the line between good and evil often divides the heart
of every man. I am praying for the peace of Jerusalem as the
scripture instructs. I am not praying that the peace come through
war and carnage.
As a believer, I know that prophecy is true and it will be
fulfilled. I don't find the interpretations as obvious as Pat
Robertson, and I don't think that the will of God requires the
intervention of man to hasten the day of Christ's return. Pure
religion has compassion on widows and orphans, whether Israeli or
Lebanese.
Thank you for recognizing that Christians have only one ultimate
spokesman and that he doesn't appear in pancake makeup under
television lights.
• Posted by Christian Cable
• 24.

August 12th,
2006
9:26 am

The distortions at all levels in the Holy Land of human and
religious rights seem so persistent as to form part of the very soil
of the place.
All the metaphors of holy gardens and other sanctuaries fall to
pieces in this war-torn reality, leaving only the tragedy of
religions aflame with justifications and in so much pain.
If all sides completly disarmed, how would the issues be settled?
• Posted by Roger Gilroy
• 25.

August 12th,
2006
9:38 am

I applaud and agree with Mr. Kuttab's statements about
fundamentalist Christian positions……as far from Christ's teachings
as the fundamentalist Muslim and Jewish rantings. As a thhird
generation Lebanese American who has visited in Lebanon I cannot
bear the thought of the pain and destruction in Lebanon or any other
place in the Middle East. The teachings of our one God/Allah/Yahweh
and the teachings of Jesus are being interpreted and distorted to
serve the desires of power crazed individuals on all sides.
• Posted by Susan Khoury
• 26.

August 12th,
2006
9:39 am

You may prefer to follow the words of Jesus, but it's long been
apparent that the words of Jesus are one part of the Bible that many
fundamentalist American Christians find inconvenient to
their "faith" and seem content to ignore.
• Posted by John Lear
• 27.

August 12th,
2006
9:42 am

Is there a reason that Israel allow Pat Robertson and others like
him remain in their country? Would it not be in their interest to
revoke their visas and send them back to the countries of origin?
Does Robertson really have the ears of the Israeli leaders as he
claims?
• Posted by Bruce Johnson
• 28.

August 12th,
2006
9:46 am

I am happy to hear someone call out these influential "Christian"
leaders on the error of their theology. Regardless of one's view of
the conflict in the Middle East, it is clear that the position taken
by these religious leaders is 1)no different from the "extremists"
they decry, 2)is a result of myopic biblical scholarship grounded in
a self serving, hypocritical world view, and most importantly, 3)
undermines the message Gospels and compromises the cause of Christ.
• Posted by Marvin G Thompson
• 29.

August 12th,
2006
9:51 am

Mr. Kuttab,
I totally agree with your point of view but you're "preaching to the
choir". People like Robertson and Hagee and their followers are as
likely to listen to you as they are to listen to Jesus himself.
It is totally beyond me how the two of them and their ilk can
attract so many followers. I could understand if their followers
came from backwards communities or from the illiterate. How any
educated, even moderately intelligent person can follow, let alone
give financial support to them, is a total mystery to me.
Beyond all this, my greatest concern is the influence some of these
so called leaders have on some of our elected officials. And that
goes to the very top elected official and those trying to get there.
The fact that John McCain met with and solicited the support of one
of the worst offenders among these hypocrites (and I'm not able to
remember his name right now) is a sad and disturbing reminder of how
much power some of these people have.
Keep writing! Maybe someday the message will get through.
• Posted by Charlie Patin
• 30.

August 12th,
2006
9:53 am

I have read Gerahom Gorenberg's End of Days. I hope it will be
widely read by Americans. Christian history tells us that if
extremist Christians are able to control our country politically
they will run it like Muslim extremists.
• Posted by Virginia Perrenod
• 31.

August 12th,
2006
10:00 am

There's a ghastly similarity between the end-of-days evangelical
Christians and the Mullahs in Iran (and the Iranian president no
less)who believe that a middle-east conflagration is required to
bring about the return of the 12th Imman and the ushering-in of the
era of God's rule.
Muslim and Christian crazies have more in common than most realize.
• Posted by Max Davies
• 32.

August 12th,
2006
10:02 am

I applaud Daoud Kuttab's insights and personal experience as a
Christian. The far religious right in America suffers from a high
degree of arrogance issuing from their insistance on
biblical "inerrancy" and "literalism". As a former missinary in
Africa in the tradition of Robertson and Falwell, I know the
theology quite well and am saddeened by its destructiveness. There
is very little love in that theology and certainly the thrust toward
the apocalypse we now witness bears this out.
• Posted by howard beardslee
• 33.

August 12th,
2006
10:08 am

I have read Gershom Gorenberg's End of Days and hope that it will be
widely read by Americans. History confirms that religious extremists
if they gain political control become tyrants.
• Posted by Virginia Perrenod
• 34.

August 12th,
2006
10:20 am

Amen to the last paragraph. Fundamentalism in any religion is the
curse of the world.
• Posted by John R. Burt
• 35.

August 12th,
2006
10:27 am

Don't these people trust god to bring about the end times on his
schedule? Or do they think they can dictate to him what that
schedule should be?
These kinds of antics are so stupifying, one wonders how any
rational person could possibly believe in any of this religious
nonsense. That so many Americans do, shows why the country has
embarked on such an idiotic course of action during the past several
years.
• Posted by Charles E Johnson
• 36.

August 12th,
2006
10:28 am

Religionists are rapidly converting civilization into a global `day
room' populated by violently paranoid and delusional true believers.
Soon it will be impossible to distinguish the patients from
the "doctors". Fundamentalist Christians, Orthodox Jews, Muslim
Jihadists all suffer the same madness. As a Nobel scientist pointed
out, "Good people do good things, bad people do bad things, but it
takes religion to make good people behave badly.
• Posted by Thomas Patton
• 37.

August 12th,
2006
10:30 am

Thank you for a voice of reason and humanity.
• Posted by Roger Townley
• 38.

August 12th,
2006
10:38 am

I couldn't agree more with Daoud Kuttab. Jesus would weep bitter,
bitter tears at the perversion and abomination that evangelical so-
called Christianity has become. Since the term "Islamofascist" has
grown in popularity in remarks made by politicians (e.g., President
Bush) and TV talking heads (e.g., Tony Blankley of the Washington
Times), I offer up the term "Christofascist" to describe the likes
of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and others of their
ilk. I couldn't agree more with Daoud Kuttab.
• Posted by Thomas P. Mitchell
• 39.

August 12th,
2006
10:46 am

Christian extremists are no different from Islamic extremists, since
each bastardizes the Bible and the Koran, respectively, to further
their own agendas. As such, they are far more interested in their
own pronouncements than they are in the teachings of Christ or
Mohammad, since their extremist views serve to promote them
personally rather than Christ or Mohammad.
If westerners and those in the Middle East could get back to
the "true" teachings of their religions, there would be no conflict
in the Middle East or anywhere else. It's only when those who
consider themselves superior to the person they call their savior
does trouble erupt.
• Posted by David Moorshead
• 40.

August 12th,
2006
11:00 am

As my years get fewer, my constant hope is peace in the Middle East.
Your observations strike to the core of what I believe to be a basic
obstacle to lasting peace,i.e. poorly guided outside leaders
misdirecting the efforts of local officials. Strive to let the
people decide.
• Posted by Dean Hofmeister
• 41.

August 12th,
2006
11:05 am

Pat Robertson and his ilk are cowards. It takes courage to live life
with all its disappointments and challenges. Their preference for
the second coming is no different than being promised virgins in the
after-life. I suspect that had there been more virgins (i.e., more
life-enhancing sex) in their current lives they'd be more committed
to life on earth. Freud would have a field day with proponents of
Christian Zionism.
• Posted by K. Warner
• 42.

August 12th,
2006
11:10 am

Amen
• Posted by Rudolph Morris
• 43.

August 12th,
2006
11:13 am

Thank you for the column. As a volunteer with the Mennonite Central
Committee in Jerusalem during the 1973 war, I can attest to the
rabid enthusiasm of that branch of Christianity. My only conclusion
is that they have misinterpreted the scriptures and are totally
negating the heart of the teachings of Jesus Christ our Lod.
• Posted by Jerry Barkman
• 44.

August 12th,
2006
11:50 am

If there is a god at all it denies all rationality that he/she would
be of the sort who fundamentalists of any religion proclaim. Since
power seeking leaders cannot exploit rational thought, they instead
twist the thinking of fundamentalists. And, fundamentalists give
leaders the authority they need to wage war.
Recently, after an expression of dismay concerning the war in
Lebanon, a friend of mine (a Jehovah's Witness waiting for the final
battle) said, "Oh I think it's exciting!" Well, if enough people
think like that, they will bring about the end of civilized society
themselves. The problem for them is that they will not find virgins
or life everlasting at the end. Only grief with the rest of us.
• Posted by Tina Carter
• 45.

August 12th,
2006
12:00 pm

Thank you for your thoughtful column. I am an American Christian who
is becoming less and less interested in referring to my faith lest I
become associated with the vitriol spewing from so many here who
claim to be speaking for Christ. Our current government is largely
in the hands of those of limited vision. All they seem to know is
violence and the power of wealth. Unlike Ghandi or King they have
either never bothered to read Christ's own teaching or they don't
think it is supposed to be taken seriously (although they are
perfectly willing to claim God's stamp of approval). It continues to
strike me that the vicious rhetoric of Bin Laden, our American
president and Iran's president sound almost identical if you change
the name of the God or the name of the enemy. None of it sounds like
the teaching of a Christ who taught that one prayed that we be
forgiven as we forgive others. That has most frequently been ignored
and scoffed at as weak, but if it is so then people like Mother
Theresa, Ghandi, King and Jesus himself were weak. I can only pray
for such a "weakness."
• Posted by Nikka Ziemer
• 46.

August 12th,
2006
12:07 pm

While I agree wholeheartedly with what this author is saying, the
sad fact is
Peace, Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Care, Understanding are
considered in the United States as feminine traits; while the
aberation of Eye for an Eye is considered as a masculine trait. As
long as God is viewed in the Masculine Gender, Rev. Hagee and
Robertson, and people like them, will continue to attract a very
large following, thereby drowning out the message of Jesus: Love God
and Love Your Neighbor as Yourself!
• Posted by Al Mackdanz
• 47.

August 12th,
2006
12:12 pm

The $64,000 question is how much influence these religious cultists
have on President Bush.
• Posted by Rita Whalen
• 48.

August 12th,
2006
12:13 pm

Born of a Christian fundamentalist family, and converted to Judiasm
as an adult, this trend is especially scary to me. I'd like to be
proud of one of my religious roots, but the "peacemakers" seem
blessedly hard to find. If another religious war breaks out in full,
we are going to need them badly/
• Posted by Darlene
• 49.

August 12th,
2006
12:16 pm

Thank you for the reminder of what it means to be a Christian.
For my part, I refuse to call these people Christian Zionists. When
it is "the other side" who calls for violence to further their own
ends, we call them extremists, or worse. We are dealing here with
Christian extremists. (And when I find another word to use in the
place of "Christian" I will do so.)
• Posted by Mike Todd
• 50.

August 12th,
2006
12:22 pm

Amen to that!
• Posted by David Oates
• 51.

August 12th,
2006
12:25 pm

Thank you for your article. People like Pat Robertson gather
followers who, while basically good, well-meaning people, are easily
manipulated. They want meaning and a reason for their existence and
in a better world they would be given that through a message of
compassion and love, but instead our Christian fascists offer a
clear, strong, emotionally exciting hate wrapped up in the language
and symbols of religion. Like all the other religious fascists
currently polluting our world. They know how to get the ratings, and
how they get them doesn't matter as long as they get them.
• Posted by Eric Smith
• 52.

August 12th,
2006
12:28 pm

Jesus said that not everyone who cries "Lord, Lord" will enter the
Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus praised the Good Samaritan over members and
religious leaders of his own community. One needs to remember that
when He chose a Samaritan as his example of how to behave it was
because the Jews (to whom He was preaching) and the Samaritans were
on very bad terms, and He wanted to show that it is how you behave
that counts, not being a member of the right group. Read "Good Gay
Activist" or "Good Muslim" to get an idea of what he meant. Jesus
stressed that we really really need to forgive others, act kindly
and lovingly as possible even to our enemies, and try to heal
wounds.
• Posted by Chuck Vekert
• 53.

August 12th,
2006
12:30 pm

Thank you for this very insightful and helpful piece. It continually
troubles and angers me that religious leaders of all faiths do not
challenge the stupid and outrageous rantings of fundamentalists.
There are no virgins waiting for bombers to kill themselves while
killing others. Pat Robertson's comments are almost always anti-
Christian and hurtful. So why don't religious leaders loudly
denounce such nonsense? Regularly!
You have done a great thing by writing this piece. Please continue
to write more on the subject.
• Posted by Ronn Robinson
• 54.

August 12th,
2006
12:49 pm

This is not the first time I've heard of this revolting and
extremely Un-Christian idea. It boggles the mind how disgusting it
is.
However, it also raises an extraordinary theological question. How
can human beings knowingly start the apocalypse? Wouldn't that be
antithetical to the core world view espoused by Christ and the
Apostles? It seems to me that the continually repeated undercurrent
of those teachings is that humanity must trust to God and resist the
temptations to meddle in the divine plans. To do so would be to make
ourselves as God, and thus take on the mantle of Satan. So - if an
ostensibly Christian preacher espouses war to bring the apocalypse,
shouldn't we view that preacher as an agent of Evil?
• Posted by Christopher Lane
• 55.

August 12th,
2006
1:24 pm

There are some 70 million or more Christian Zionists in the U.S.
What they evidently do not understand about the Middle East is that
hundreds of millions of people have been living on their land for
thousands of years.
It is outrageous and unconscionable for some American religious
zealots to hope for the destruction of other people and their land.
Yet this is what Christian Zionists are seeking.
The late Anwar el-Sadat wrote an autobiography and began his story
by describing his love for Egypt, the land on which he was born and
lived. He loved his village and the people in it.
To me, all the inhabitants of the Middle East whose families have
lived on their land for countless generations are as attached to
their homeland as was Sadat. It is not a matter of real estate for
them. The land represents their livelihood and their existence.
The majority of Christian Zionists who live in the U.S. have no
conception of what they seek by hoping for Armageddon and the
destruction of the Middle East.
There are millions of people in the Middle East who deserve the same
protection and right to live as any U.S. citizen does.
• Posted by M. Kawasaki
• 56.

August 12th,
2006
1:28 pm

While televangelists like Robertson are misguided and no doubt harm
Christian evangelism, making their public statements antethetical to
their own moniker, I don't think that "They seem to have completely
forgotten the very core of the Christian faith."
The very core of the Christian faith is the sincere belief and
acknowledgment that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, is the
Messaiah of Old Testament prophecy, and will return again. This is
the signal, and all the rest is noise.
The purest example of evangelism, Christian conversion and
acceptance by god is the thief on the cross at the same time as
Jesus. There is no tearful repentance, no confession of sin,
certainly no political position. He simply says that he believes
Jesus is who Jesus claimed to be — Messaiah who would rule an
absolute `kingdom' one day.
I think Robertson could make that confession easily, and I think the
author of this article could as well. The only action required of
any Christian is to live in such a way that people whose lives one
touches come to that realization as well. There's no political
opinion at the core of Christianity; insisting there is one detracts
from the conclusion the thief on the cross reached: that
understanding the identity of Jesus of Nazareth supplants and
overcomes anything that happens in this world and any religion that
came before or after.
Jesus never said a word about politics; he alone is the very core of
the Christian faith; not doctrine, not prophecy, not policy.
• Posted by Deborah Fenning
• 57.

August 12th,
2006
2:00 pm

Isn't the anti-Christ actually not a specific person, but an energy
and intention that is anti-peaceful, -inclusive, -caring, in other
words, "against" what Jesus lived and taught? People who are caught
up in this energy and intention – often fearful, greedy and self-
aggrandizing, like Pat Robertson – behave in ways that are "anti"
Jesus Christ and the core spiritual truth of many religions. These
people are ill and in dire need of help, but won't receive it due to
their proud, stubborn egos.
Egotism, basically the belief in a mind-made "me", is the prevalent
anti-Christian disease of our time. If there is to be an end of the
world and return of Christ, it will be the ending of the ego-world,
one human at a time, which will reveal for that consciousness
something sublimely beautiful and real.
• Posted by richard Kurth
• 58.

August 12th,
2006
2:49 pm

I am glad to see this in print since so many intelligent people are
oblivious,and it seems so dangerous- support of Israel that passes
for support and leads to the death of a people. The Christian Right
in this country so very much scares me and as you say, is distinctly
unChristian. I am an agnostic Jew but the lack of humanity is so
destructive so thank you.
• Posted by Carol Smaldino
• 59.

August 12th,
2006
2:52 pm

Excellent article. The problem is I think is that most people who
claim to be Christian do not understand the main teaching of the
bible which is about forgiveness and loving others the way we love
ourselves. Listening to the comments of my fellow christian brethens
during this conflict and other partisan speeches has made me ashamed
to be a part of them.
• Posted by jo hays
• 60.

August 12th,
2006
3:14 pm

The world has always contended with false prophets, those seekers of
power and plunder, who cater to the sadly confused and easily
coopted. Their goal is self enrichment (or like Bin Laden, self
aggrandizement) at the expense of a tolerant and dismissive
international community which does little to identify and discredit
such quacks.
Mr. Kattub does himself and his readers an injustice by limiting his
identification to only two practicians of this kind of fraud. In
addition to the leaders of Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia for openers,
he should have added Pres. Bush, VP Cheney, Sec. Rumsfeld, etc.,
etc. They too practice the same deceit for the same ends as
Robertson and his ilk.
• Posted by Matthew Schwartz
• 61.

August 12th,
2006
4:02 pm

A beautifully written article. I hope and pray that your words and
thoughts prevail. God loves us all. No one individual or group of
religious zealots has God's attention exclusively. We will all be
held accountable for our actions and only our actions. God is the
judge of every one of us. He alone will allow us into His company or
ban us from His sight. Wether we chose our religion or our religion
chose us will make no difference to Him. How we treat one another
and honor Him will be our ticket to the afterlife. Carrying out acts
of hate or preaching hatred from the pulpit is a sign that we place
our need to be right before our desire to follow Our Lords teaching.
Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself burdens us with the responsibility to
bring about peace and sustain it not only in the Middle East but
everywhere that people are suffering and dying because of hatred or
illness or greed. Peace is the only thing God promised us. For with
peace comes every other good thing. The ONLY way to achieve peace is
through love.
• Posted by Jim Bettag
• 62.

August 13th,
2006
3:54 am

In a certain sense, being an Israel supporter and a Jew myself,
Christian-American evangelists hurt Israel in the court of world
opinion. They provide fuel to the fire for claims of "zionist
control of the U.S. government" and they lead people to believe that
Israelis share their Armaggedon-mongering views.
There is no stimulus for war in Judaism other than self-protection.
That's all. No holy wars. No converting people of other faiths. No
jihad or infidels. None of that. This is what is wrong with American
evangelists support of Israel. They are hijacking a war of
justifiable reasoning (self-defense) and sullying it by turning it
into a religious vendetta (Armegeddeon). That is not how Israelis
view it. And that is the problem, because their views are being
caricatured by extremism in the American religious right.
It is similiar to how the anti-semetic movement of Europe hijacks
the Palestinean cause. It feeds the rage of the Muslim world when it
would not have otherwise been so.
The problem isn't religion so much as outside influence. Because of
outside influence, this situation is so much more intractable than
it would have been otherwise.
• Posted by Abe
• 63.

August 13th,
2006
9:31 am

America accepts Zionism and supports it. Our entire Congress asserts
that Israel must remain a "Jewish" state. Historically one of
America's fundamental values has been the separation of church and
state, but we support a theocracy in Insrael. Now, the right-wing
religious nut-jobs are taking the concept of theocracy a few steps
further. Why are we appalled?
• Posted by cadabra
• 64.

August 13th,
2006
9:50 am

There is no such thing as a "Christian Zionist." Even Kuttab
acknowledges as such when he says that these millenial fundamental
Christians are waiting for an Armageddon which portends the end of
the Jews.
Zionism is not a fundamentalist religious movement; it never was. It
is a political movement dedicated to the proposition that the Jews
deserve a nation-state in (some portion of) the biblical land of
Israel. The fact that some fundamentalist Jews (and fundamentalist
Christians) have perverted this for their religious purposes, does
not alter the nature of Zionism.
• Posted by mark trilling