Christian Zionists continue to have clout with White House

| Tue Aug. 8, 2006 9:43 PM EDT

For some time now, Christian fundamentalists have served as Middle East consultants to the National Security Council. Most recently, the White House has met with a group called Christians United for Israel, whose members believe that supporing Israel's expansionist policies represents a "biblical imperative." Led by John Hagee, known for his televangelism, CUFI's members are interested in the U.S.'s adopting a more confrontational posture with Iran and in withdrawing all aid to Palestinians.

"The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty," says Hagee. A loyal friend of the Israeli right, Hagee has raised over $8 million for Israeli social service projects. His man in Washington is Sen. Arlen Specter's former chief of staff, David Brog, who helps carry out CUFI policy, handles public relations, and--though Jewish--represents Christian Zionist in meetings with White House staff.

One of Brog's more interesting theses is that Christian anti-Semitism no longer exists and "is a bygone phenomenon that died the moment the Allies seized Hitler's bunker." To support this belief, he emphasizes the outpouring of Christian evangelical support for Israel. At the same time, Brog has to carry the baggage of Hagee's outspoken belief that Israel will be the site of the Rapture. Only recently, Hagee ally Janet Parshall announced, when the Israel-Hezbollah conflict began, that "These are the times we've been waiting for. This is straight out of a Sunday School lesson." Somehow, the two men have developed a public relations balance in which Hagee and his people can go on about the Rapture and Brog can dismiss this talk as something like the ramblings of an ecccentric uncle, and concentrate on promoting the organization's total support for Israel.

The CUFI board of directors, by the way, is made up very well-known figures, including Jerry Falwell, Gary Bauer and George Morrison (chairman of the board of Promise Keepers). Other CUFI personalities include Parshall, Rod Parsley, Ron Wexler, Joyce Meyer, and Benny Hinn. In addition to supporting Israel, all of these people are also opposed to feminism and gay rights, and any form of liberalism. Hagee is closely associated with Tom DeLay, Meyer came close to having her ministry investigated by the IRS, and Hinn has been accused of avoiding financial accountability for his faith-healing ministry. Another of their close colleagues, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, is closely associated with both DeLay and Jack Abramoff.

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