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Earlier this month John Hagee, a Texas evangelical and leader of that hybrid known as the Christian Zionist movement, led a rally of 3,500 evangelicals at a Washington hotel, where he called Israel's attacks on Lebanon a "miracle of God" and proof that Israel was doing God's work.

Hagee was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying that for Israel to show restraint would violate "God's foreign policy statement" toward Jews.

Bush sent Hagee a message of praise for:
"Spreading the hope of God's love and the universal gift of freedom."

I've learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war starts
It's them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side.
               Bob Dylan                

Published on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 by the Daytona Beach News-Journal
America Struggles With Its Own Evangelical Taliban
by Pierre Tristam

A Palestinian woman kisses the portrait of her jailed son during a rally in the West Bank city of Qalqilya August 8, 2006 calling for the
release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

More than Fifteen million US dollars is given by US taxpayers to Israel each day for their military use.

Total funding is more than 4 billion US dollars per year.

Photo: REUTERS/Mahmoud Shanti, Palestinian Territories
A Palestinian woman kisses the portrait of her jailed son during a rally in the West Bank city of Qalqilya August 8, 2006 calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

Photo: REUTERS/Mahmoud Shanti, Palestinian Territories

Photos inserted by

At this late stage of the Bush rapture, American evangelism is a lot like the Exxon Valdez: Massive, sloshing with oily energy and not a little drunk on its power as it steers through hazards of its own designs.

The moment evangelicals began tearing down the church-state wall, the rubble became their shoals.

The wreck will be ugly.

It will take years to mend because, as one of their own, Minnesota's Rev. Gregory Boyd, recently put it: "Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn't bloody and barbaric. That's why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state."

Meanwhile, too much damage is being done by policies keyed to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" not to have lasting consequences abroad and at home.

The wreck's effects abroad are spreading.

Remember William Boykin, the Army lieutenant-general who went around Christian congregations after Sept. 11, telling them how he knew that "my" God "was bigger than his" (one of Osama's lieutenants), "that my God was a real God, and his was an idol"?

Instead of being relegated to sorting junk mail in a Pentagon basement, Boykin was promoted to undersecretary of defense for intelligence — including the supervision of prison interrogations.

It's "his" God against the jihadis now in Iraq and Afghanistan, and apparently "his" God against the Constitution or the Geneva Conventions.

The evangelical assault on secular values at home is no less dangerous than its Islamic variant.

It's a difference of degrees, not substance.

The difference is hard to see when evangelicals eagerly thump for blood-letting abroad or stage-manage it like Boykin and his crusading commander-in-chief do.

John Hagee is a Texas evangelical and leader of that hybrid known as the Christian Zionist movement.

He commands a huge following and the ear of politicians, Bush among them.

Earlier this month Hagee led a rally of 3,500 evangelicals at a Washington hotel, where he called Israel's attacks on Lebanon a "miracle of God" and proof that Israel was doing God's work.

Hagee was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying that for Israel to show restraint would violate "God's foreign policy statement" toward Jews.

Bush sent Hagee a message of praise for "spreading the hope of God's love and the universal gift of freedom."

An Israeli tank drives towards the Israel-Lebanon border to continue with their attacks in southern Lebanon August 8, 2006.

More than Fifteen million US dollars is given by US taxpayers to Israel each day for their military use.

Total funding is more than 4 billion US dollars per year.

Photo: REUTERS/Mahmoud Shanti, Palestinian Territories
An Israeli tank drives towards the Israel-Lebanon border August 8, 2006.

When he's not thumping for Israel, Hagee raises money for Republican causes and beats war drums in line with his clash-of-civilizations thesis.

"This is a religious war that Islam cannot — and must not — win," he wrote in a recent book.

He also sees the United States heading toward a nuclear confrontation with Iran, itself a fulfillment of a joyful promise:

"The end of the world as we know it is rapidly approaching," he writes.

"Rejoice and be exceedingly glad — the best is yet to be."

In other words, war is a good thing, rapturous and necessary and sealed with a kiss from God, as the world edges toward Armageddon.

The Bush presidency is that evangelical view's self-fulfilling prophesy.

Militants for Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban speak the very same language.

Only the roles are reversed.

[A statement that reflects the writer seeking some contrary observation to place here. This previous statement has no basis in fact.   Resistance fighters Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban do have religious viewpoints.   They are not focused upon end times however.   Much more upon the present takeover and occupation of their territories.  —]

Gregory Boyd, author of those words in the first paragraph about every Christian theocracy's sorry history, is the sort of evangelical who wants to prevent a complete wreck.

His profile appeared in the Sunday New York Times, yang to Hagee's Journal yin three days earlier.

Boyd wants evangelicals out of politics, out of cheering for war and turning politics and patriotism into "idolatry."

"America wasn't founded as a theocracy. America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies," he tells his Minnesota congregation.

Boyd, writes The Times, "lambasted the 'hypocrisy and pettiness' of Christians who focus on 'sexual issues' like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson's breast-revealing performance," as well as the claim the evangelicals alone know the right values.

"All good, decent people want good and order and justice," he says. "Just don't slap the label 'Christian' on it."

Boyd and Hagee are the good cop and bad cop of American evangelism as it pulpits its way to 50 million congregants and beyond.

The bad cop is winning right now.

It's always easier to destroy than build.

We should know.

Boyd and Hagee have their twins all over the world of Islam, where theocratic thumping is the regressive rule.

There, too, the likes of Hagee are winning.

But that's not our battle.

It's Islam's to resolve, if it can.

Our battle is with our own domestic Taliban, if it doesn't sink us on those shoals first.

Pierre Tristam is a News-Journal editorial writer.

© 2006 News-Journal Corporation

Common Dreams © 1997-2006

“When You Talk with God”

'When the President Talks to God' as sung on the Jay Leno Tonight show   by Bright Eyes  Conor Oberst

When the president talks to God
Are the conversations brief or long?
Does he ask to rape our women's' rights
And send poor farm kids off to die?
Does God suggest an oil hike
When the president talks to God?

When the president talks to God
Are the consonants all hard or soft?
Is he resolute all down the line?
Is every issue black or white?
Does what God say ever change his mind
When the president talks to God?

When the president talks to God
Does he fake that drawl or merely nod?
Agree which convicts should be killed?
Where prisons should be built and filled?
Which voter fraud must be concealed
When the president talks to God?

When the president talks to God
I wonder which one plays the better cop
We should find some jobs, the ghetto's broke
No, they're lazy, George, I say we don't
Just give 'em more liquor stores and dirty coke
That's what God recommends

When the president talks to God
Do they drink near beer and go play golf
While they pick which countries to invade
Which Muslim souls still can be saved?
I guess god just calls a spade a spade
When the president talks to God

When the president talks to God
Does he ever think that maybe he's not?
That that voice is just inside his head
When he kneels next to the presidential bed
Does he ever smell his own bullshit
When the president talks to God?

I doubt it

I doubt it

When you talk with God.
By Frank Fugate

Recently, much has been made of your talks and your closeness with God in extracts quoted from Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack" and the recent PBS's "The Jesus Factor."   We know talks with God are usually personal.   However, one cannot help but wonder if He has exempted you from the Ten Commandments He gave Moses and are the foundation of our civilized Christian society.

When you talk with God, Mr. President, did He tell you it is ok to ignore His commandment:  "Thou shalt not kill," and allow you to support Sharon in his killing of innocent Palestinian Christians and Muslims, mostly infants, children, women and the old?   Are they not humans?   Like you, are they not God's children?   We know, Mr. President, you haven't personally killed another human.   You went to great lengths not to go to the war in Vietnam — to kill or be killed.

You haven't personally killed an Iraqi citizen.   You just sent other Americans in harm's way to do it for you.   You haven't personally killed a Palestinian.   You just turn your back while Sharon continues to kill and maim.

When you talked to your God, did He tell you it is ok to disobey His commandment:  "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor," as you have done against the Iraqis, claiming they had WMDs?   True, they are not your neighbors in Washington or Crawford.   They are Israel's neighbors and that makes them your neighbors, right?

Did God tell you it is ok for you to ignore, "Thou shalt not steal," and "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's," and that you could approve Sharon's taking more and more Arab Christian and Arab Muslim land?

Did God tell you that it is ok to terrorize these desperate people so they will endure a life of poverty and humiliation, and be forced to forfeit their few worldly possessions?   No, you, again, didn't personally take any of these, but when you stood beside Sharon and formed your nexus you became an important accessory.   When you "locked arms" with Sharon and said these people cannot return to their homeland, it reminded me of how our ancestors terrorized the Native Americans until they had no choice but to move to some of the most desolate parts of America.

Your spin team goes to great effort to portray Muslims as having a lack of regard for human life.   Did God say it is ok for you to order the killing and maiming of thousands of humans in Iraq — Christians, non-Christians and others?   No question Saddam was a brutal leader and killed thousands of Iraqis.   How many Iraqis have you killed and maimed in your crusade, as you once called it, in a Freudian slip of the tongue?   How many Iraqis have we tortured and humiliated?   Why are you so interested in democratizing the Middle East when there are so many other dictatorships in Asia and Africa?   Is it because it is the cradle of Christianity, your vision, your Armageddon?

More people have been killed on this earth in the name of religion than by disasters, diseases, and pestilence combined.    Your decision to invade Iraq, which was implied to have come from God in Woodward's "Plan of Attack," and the recent PBS's "The Jesus Factor," and your comments that America should be the conscience of the world, will only add to killing in the name of religion.   When I think of how many, it blows my mind.

I am sure of one thing Mr. President, your crusade is not my crusade.   America's Middle East quagmire has been created by our one-sided support of Israel.

Our God, teaches us to be compassionate to all humankind.   Of this I am also equally sure.

Frank Fugate spent 33 plus years living in the Middle East, primarily in Saudi Arabia. He retired from Aramco (now Saudi Aramco) in 1988 as a Senior Vice President and Aramco Board member.

This article taken from

Earth, a planet
hungry for peace

(IPC, 7/4/04)
The Israeli apartheid (land grab) wall
around Palestinian population centers.
The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python (Alquds, 1/25/03.
Pastor Strangelove: Texan John Hagee, AIPAC, and Instigating War on Iran
Trinity Broadcasting Network’s flagship talk show, 'Praise the Lord'
By Sarah Posner
March 14, 2007
Texan John Hagee may not have his “perfect red heifer” yet.
But he does have a huge following, the ear of the White House — and a theory that an invasion of Iran was foretold in the Book of Esther.
On Purim, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the day Queen Esther saved the Jews from annihilation, Trinity Broadcasting Network’s flagship talk show, Praise the Lord, featured an appearance by Rabbi Daniel Lapin.
A politically conservative Orthodox rabbi, Lapin is best known for crusading with the Christian right against “anti-religion bigotry” and, more recently, for his close association with the convicted super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
But he was not invited to a nationwide telecast to discuss such topics as the trumped-up war against religion or the better nature of his fallen friend.
He had been asked to explain the significance of Purim to Christians, and particularly how the Old Testament’s Book of Esther “serves as a roadmap to reality,” which pinpoints where the next world “hot spot” will be.
That soon-to-be-flaming location is where the Book of Esther was set: namely Persia, or in modern parlance, Iran.
Seated beside Lapin in the ornately gilded Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) studio was Pastor John Hagee, the author of an incendiary new book purporting to show that the Bible predicts a military confrontation with Iran.
By then, Hagee’s book, Jerusalem Countdown, had sold nearly 500,000 copies.
It had occupied the No. 1 position on the Wal-Mart inspirational best-seller list, showed up on Wal-Mart’s list of top 10 best sellers for seven weeks, and made the USA Today top 50 best-seller list for six weeks.
Hagee, who serves as head pastor of the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, hosts his own television program that is seen twice a day on TBN.
He argues that the United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West.
Shortly after the release of his book last January, he launched Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a lobbying organization intended, he says, to be a Christian version of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
With CUFI, which Hagee has said will cause a “political earthquake,” the televangelist aims to put the political organizing muscle of the conservative evangelical movement behind his grand plan for a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ.
Hundreds of evangelical leaders signed on to his new organization
While Washington insiders wonder and worry whether President Bush really is bent on a military strike against Iran, Hagee already has spent months mobilizing the shock troops in support of another war.
As diplomats, experts, and pundits debate how many years Iran will need to develop a viable nuclear weapon, Hagee says the mullahs already possess the means to destroy Israel and America.
And although Bush insists that diplomatic options are still on the table, Hagee has dismissed pussyfooting diplomacy and primed his followers for a conflagration.
Indeed, Hagee wields “a very large megaphone” that reaches “a very large group of people,” said Rabbi James Rudin of the American Jewish Committee, who has studied the Christian right for 30 years.
With CUFI, the Texas pastor has exponentially expanded the reach of his megaphone beyond his television audience.
Thanks to the viral marketing made possible by the hundreds of evangelical leaders who have signed on to his new organization, his warmongering has rippled through mega-churches across America for months.
Spiritual generals of Evil
Hagee calls pastors “the spiritual generals of America,” an appropriate phrase given his reliance on them to rally their troops behind his message.
The CUFI board of directors includes the Reverend Jerry Falwell, former Republican presidential candidate and religious right activist Gary Bauer, and George Morrison, pastor to the 8,000-member Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, Colorado, and chairman of the board of Promise Keepers.
Rod Parsley, the Ohio televangelist who is rapidly becoming a major political figure in the Christian right, signed on as a regional director.
Among CUFI’s other supporters are nationally syndicated Christian right talk show host Janet Parshall, who serves on its board of advisers, and Ron Wexler, an Orthodox Jew and president of the theocratic Ten Commandments Commission, which has the backing of nearly every prominent conservative evangelical in the country.
Many popular TBN televangelists, among them the controversial faith healer Benny Hinn and the best-selling author of self-improvement books, Joyce Meyer, have also offered their support.
Meyer was named one of the country’s 25 most influential evangelicals in an oft-cited 2005 Time magazine article — as was Stephen Strang, CEO of Strang Communications, which published Jerusalem Countdown.
Long before his launch of CUFI, Hagee had sought to influence American policy toward the Middle East. For 25 years, he has hosted a “Night to Honor Israel” at his church, an event that showcased Tom DeLay as the keynote speaker in 2002, and that has attracted leaders of the Israeli government as well as American politicians.
Palestinine family
under Israel occupation
$1 million annually since 1999 in salary and deferred compensation
Now 66 years old, the ambitious preacher divorced his first wife 30 years ago when their children were ages 3 and 6, and less than six months later married his second wife, who happened to be 12 years his junior.
Despite this apparent moral lapse, other evangelicals have long looked to him for guidance.
The Christian pollster George Barna recently reported that Hagee is ranked in the top 10 spokesmen for Christianity among other Pentecostals.
Morrison, who has been friends with Hagee for more than 20 years and whose ministry has likewise “always seen Israel in God’s plan for the future,” says that Hagee “has proven himself as a spiritual leader in the country.
And he has the platform, his TV ministry … he has the great respect of a lot of other leaders, so certainly, he’s in that position … [of] spiritual leadership and authority to lead the evangelical churches and help unite them.” (Hagee himself, as well as Falwell and Bauer, declined to be interviewed for this article.)
David Brog, a former chief of staff to Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican, serves on CUFI’s board of advisers.
Standing With Israel, his book urging Jews to embrace the support of evangelical Christians, has just been published by Strang Communications.
Brog believes that CUFI “can have an enormous influence.
It can really create a player where there isn’t currently one.”
As to whether Hagee has the organizational skills to pull off such a project, Brog added that the pastor is a “great administrator” and a “great leader,” and was able to build his church and TV ministry because “he’s a good businessman, he’s a good organizer.”
But Hagee the businessman — along with friends like Hinn, Meyer, Parsley, and other TBN televangelists, including the network’s top executives, Paul and Jan Crouch — has come under fire for excessive compensation derived from his nonprofit ministries.
According to his organization’s tax returns, Hagee has earned more than $1 million annually since 1999 in salary and deferred compensation from his nonprofit Global Evangelism Television and Cornerstone Church.
In 2004, the San Antonio News Express reported that he was the highest-paid nonprofit executive in that city; his pay was nearly twice that of the next best-paid executive.
TBN is the largest Christian television network in the world, claiming to reach more than 92 million households in the United States alone, and since 9-11 has expanded its worldwide reach into Muslim countries, including Iran.
Despite TBN’s claim to represent the whole of Christianity, however, many Christians might not recognize their religion in TBN’s “Word of Faith” programming.
One of many scandals of religious world of television
Word of Faith is a nondenominational Pentecostal movement, based on the power of the spoken word to claim one’s spiritual and material desires and to purge devils from one’s life.
The movement’s other central tenet, which critics say leads to the excessive compensation of its leaders, is the notion that “sowing a seed” — contributing to the ministry — will result in the donor’s “harvest” of personal prosperity.
Like the televangelists’ individual ministries, TBN is operated by a nonprofit entity, so contributions are tax-deductible to the donor and tax free to the ministry.
While TBN reaps more than $100 million of revenue per year, mostly from viewer donations, Hagee’s organization reports annual revenues of about $15 million.
Olé Anthony is president of the Trinity Foundation, an independent watchdog of TBN and its televangelists.
He says that the ministries increase donations through “sophisticated direct-mail campaigns,” using mailing lists compiled as a result of viewers calling the “prayer lines” advertised on television programs.
He regards the abuse of the prayer lines to get callers’ names and addresses as “one of the many scandals of the religious world of television.”
Occuped Palestine boys
throw stones
What a winner he is for...
Although many Christians consider the money-centered word of faith theology to be a form of heresy, the Republican Party has embraced TBN’s audience as a valuable constituency.
Rabbi Lapin, who himself has met personally with President Bush, told the Prospect that Hagee “without question, yes, absolutely” has the ear of the White House.
But he declined to identify any officials by name, claiming “there’s a lot of sensitivity in government circles about the so-called religious right.”
TBN has made much of its own Republican connections, touting network founder Paul Crouch’s relationship with John Ashcroft (they attended the same church as children) — and the Republicans have returned the compliment.
In his 1999 campaign memoir, Bush recalls feeling “spellbound” by the preaching of Dallas-based TBN televangelist T.D. Jakes, whom he has since invited to participate in official White House events.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has lauded TBN’s efforts to expand its broadcasting into China.
TBN’s lawyer is Colby May, who also serves as counsel to the American Center for Law and Justice, a group founded by Pat Robertson, whose president Jay Sekulow, a converted Jew, advised Bush on his Supreme Court nominees.
May also represents certain members of Congress on legislative initiatives and helped draft the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, which, if passed, would lift the ban on electioneering from the pulpit.
Its chief sponsor, Congressman Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, has appeared on Praise the Lord to promote the bill.
Other guests on TBN programming have included Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican; Texas gop co-chairman David Barton; and Oliver North, the radio host and Iran-Contra scandal celebrity.
Several years ago, after Crouch interviewed California Congressman Duke Cunningham, he wrote in TBN’s newsletter: “What a soul-winner he is! Every time he shares his powerful testimony, lives are touched, and our SOULS TOTAL soars!”
That was long before Cunningham pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy, and fell under suspicion of providing favors to a defense contractor who sent him prostitutes via limousine.
Kicks back
tear gas
Collaboration of Benny Hinn
For Hagee’s new project, his influence in Washington is probably less important than his influence over his audience.
With the clout of his listeners, he can serve Bush administration hawks by firing up grass-roots support for a military strike against Iran.
TBN has provided several opportunities for Hagee to promote his book on Praise the Lord, several installments of his own program, and a two-day appearance on Benny Hinn’s show.
Through the marketing efforts of Strang Communications, which placed national radio advertising spots for Jerusalem Countdown on The Sean Hannity Show, The O’Reilly Factor, and Janet Parshall’s America, Hagee brought his Armageddon message to a wider conservative audience.
His end-times theology is nothing new; countless numbers of self-proclaimed prophets of the end of the world have demanded attention since the beginning of time.
The difference now is that TBN’s relentless fund raising — along with advances in digital and satellite broadcasting technology — has permitted worldwide dissemination of his ominous predictions.
Through TBN, other religious and conservative media, and the growing mega-churches, Hagee has turned his Bible-thumping not only into a multi-million dollar business, but into a pro-war movement as well.
While pundits and politicians in Washington debate the merits of confrontation with Tehran, Hagee and other evangelical leaders plan to activate hundreds of congregations across the country — many of which boast tens of thousands of members — to flood congressional inboxes with e-mails at the touch of a button.
The message from the heartland, beyond the ken of elites who cannot quite imagine such a decision, will be to strike Iran before it is too late.
The pages of Jerusalem Countdown provide a peculiar mix of biblical prophecy, purported inside information from Israeli government officials, and a mixed-up, pared-down lesson in nuclear physics.
“I wrote this book in April 2005, and when people read it, they will think I wrote it late last night after the FOX News report,” says the author without a trace of irony.
“It’s that close to where we are and beyond.”
Oddly enough he predicted, allegedly relying on information from a “reliable” Israeli source, that Iran would have a nuclear weapon ready by April 2006 — the month during which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had enriched uranium, although apparently not nearly enough to make a bomb.
The particulars of Iran’s nuclear program, however, do not seem to interest Hagee.
In many of his appearances last winter, before the Iranian president’s announcement, he glossed over the obstacles faced by Tehran in creating a viable nuclear weapon, arguing that “once you have enriched uranium, the genie is out of the bottle.”
(His command of politics in Islamic countries is similarly flawed; he repeatedly has called Iranian religious fundamentalists “Wahabbists,” even though Wahabbism is a form of Sunni Islam, and the overwhelming majority of Iranians are Shiites.)
Last March, he claimed that within a month, “Iran will have the nuclear — the enriched uranium to make the — have the nuclear capability to make a bomb, a suitcase bomb, a missile head, or anything they want to do with it.”
That statement is blatantly false, even according to the most pessimistic assessments of Iran’s nuclear prowess, but Hagee’s purpose is to frighten his listeners, not to inform them.
10-year-old Abir Amarin Announced Brain Dead
Abir Amarin, ten years old, who was wounded by an Israeli border policeman Tuesday the 16th was announced brain dead this morning, International Solidarity Movement (ISM) SAID.
ISM said said in a press release that the girl was announced brain dead at the Haddasa Ein Karem hospital and is being examined by a committee to determine whether or not to unplug her from life support machines.
Bassam Amarin, the girl's father, is a member of Combatants for Peace, the Israeli-Palestinian peace organisation, adding that Israeli and International supporters have gathered at the girls School in Anata to express their solidarity and protect the traumatised students from the ongoing threat of the Israeli border police.
Hassan, a sixteen-year old student who witnessed Abir's injury and carried her back to the girls school stated:
"The students of the girls school and the boys school had both just come out of an examination.
A border police jeep approached the gathering of girls.
The girls were afraid and started running away.
The border police jeep followed them in the direction in which they were retreating.
Abir was afraid and stood against one of the shops at the side of the road, I was standing near her.
The border policeman shot through a special hole in the window of the jeep that was standing very close to us.
Abir fell to the ground.
I picked her up and took her to the girls school.
I saw that she was bleeding from the head."
According to Avichai Sharon of Combatants for Peace and a friend of the family:
"The Israeli border police have been entering Anata frequently when students go and return from school for the last year and eight months.
This began with the construction of the Wall near Anata, supposedly in order to protect the construction workers from the students, but construction of the wall was completed over a month and a half ago".
According to Wael Salameh, a close friend of the family and a member of Combatants for Peace, "This week border police would invade the village twice a day when the students were going and returning from school."
JERUSALEM, January 18, 2007 (WAFA) -

Earth, a planet
hungry for peace

(IPC, 7/4/04)
The Israeli apartheid (land grab) wall
around Palestinian population centers.
The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python (Alquds, 1/25/03.
Pastor Strangelove: Texan John Hagee, AIPAC, and Instigating War on Iran
Trinity Broadcasting Network’s flagship talk show, 'Praise the Lord'
By Sarah Posner
March 14, 2007
He speaks simultaneously to two audiences about Iran’s nuclear capabilities: one that fears a terrorist attack by Iran and another that embraces a biblically mandated apocalypse.
To impress the fearful, he mimics Bush’s deceptions about Iraq’s capacity to attack the United States with weapons of mass destruction, Condoleezza Rice’s warnings of mushroom clouds, and Dick Cheney’s dissembling about an alliance between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.
Comparing Ahmadinejad to Hitler, Hagee argues that Iran’s development of nuclear weapons must be stopped to protect America and Israel from a nuclear attack.
Preying on legitimate worries about terrorism, and invoking 9-11, he vividly describes a supposed Iranian-led plan to simultaneously explode nuclear suitcase bombs in seven American cities, or to use an electromagnetic pulse device to create “an American Hiroshima.”
When addressing audiences receptive to Scriptural prophecy, however, Hagee welcomes the coming confrontation.
He argues that a strike against Iran will cause Arab nations to unite under Russia’s leadership, as outlined in chapters 38 and 39 of the Book of Ezekiel, leading to an “inferno [that] will explode across the Middle East, plunging the world toward Armageddon.”
During his appearance on Hinn’s program at the end of last March, for example, the host enthused, “We are living in the last days. These are the most exciting days in church history,” but then went on to add, “We are facing now [the] most dangerous moment for America.”
At one point, Hinn clapped his hands in delight and shouted, “Yes! Glory!” and then urged his viewers to donate money faster because he is running out of time to preach the gospel.
The rhetoric in Hagee’s book, and his discussion of it in Christian media outlets, is absolutist.
He speaks not only of good against evil, believer against nonbeliever, Judeo-Christian civilization against Islamic civilization, but of an American-Israeli alliance against the rest of the world.
He plays on conservative disdain for anything European, while promoting the Bush unilateralist mentality that has had catastrophic results in Iraq.
Naturally, he expresses contempt for the possibilities offered by diplomacy, calling the U.N. Security Council “a joke.”
Lapin says, “Pastor Hagee has a very realistic understanding of the United Nations … and recognizes it as unlikely to be any more helpful in this looming tension than it has been in any other in the past.”
He paints Russia and China — two members of the Security Council resisting sanctions on Iran — as America’s enemies, adding that Russia has helped Iran build long-range missiles that could reach New York City. (Those don’t exist, either.)
In Hagee’s telling, Israel has no choice but to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities, with or without America’s help.
The strike will provoke Russia — which wants Persian Gulf oil — to lead an army of Arab nations against Israel.
Then God will wipe out all but one-sixth of the Russian-led army, as the world watches “with shock and awe,” he says, lending either a divine quality to the Bush administration phrase or a Bush-like quality to God’s wrath.
But Hagee doesn’t stop there.
He adds that Ezekiel predicts fire “‘upon those who live in security in the coastlands.’”
From this sentence he concludes that there will be judgment upon all who stood by while the Russian-led force invaded Israel, and issues a stark warning to the United States to intervene: “Could it be that America, who refuses to defend Israel from the Russian invasion, will experience nuclear warfare on our east and west coasts?”
He says yes, citing Genesis 12:3, in which God said to Israel: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.”
To fill the power vacuum left by God’s decimation of the Russian army, the Antichrist — identified by Hagee as the head of the European Union — will rule “a one-world government, a one-world currency and a one-world religion” for three and a half years.
(He adds that “one need only be a casual observer of current events to see that all three of these things are coming into reality.”)
The “demonic world leader” will then be confronted by a false prophet, identified by Hagee as China, at Armageddon, the Mount of Megiddo in Israel.
As they prepare for the final battle, Jesus will return on a white horse and cast both villains — and presumably any nonbelievers — into a “lake of fire burning with brimstone,” thus marking the beginning of his millennial reign.
Now that’s entertainment.
Hundreds of evangelical leaders signed on to his new organization
Notwithstanding Hagee’s bizarre narrative of the future, certain Jewish leaders value what they call his support for Israel, and appreciate his pledge not to actively proselytize Jews — a promise that sets him apart from other evangelicals.
Rudin says that while he welcomes Hagee’s support for Israel, he is uneasy “with what I feel is placing Jews and Judaism and the state of Israel into somebody else’s divine play.”
Hagee’s divine play is based, in part, on Genesis 12:3. The same verse he uses to argue that America should unconditionally back Israel (“I will curse him who curses you.”), he also cites to explain why Christians should love the Jewish people (“I will bless those who bless you.”).
During TBN’s April “Praise-a-Thon,” he invoked that verse for yet a third reason: to urge viewers to give their money to the network.
Hagee told his viewers that “[g]iving is the only proof you have that the cancer of greed has not consumed your soul.”
Besides his million-dollar compensation package, Hagee has a portfolio of other ventures, including a cattle ranch in south Texas that may have religious significance.
Many evangelicals believe that the arrival of a “perfect red heifer” will signal the end times.
In the Old Testament, burning a red heifer and sprinkling its ashes is described as a purification ritual for priests entering the temple.
Ultra-orthodox Jews believe that the birth of a modern perfect red heifer will herald the arrival of the messiah, leading to a confrontation with Muslims over the Temple Mount, where Jews believe the Temple will be rebuilt.
Some evangelicals likewise regard the red heifer as a harbinger of the ultimate showdown at the Temple Mount, which they believe will be the site of the Second Coming.
And they believe that time is near.
Red heifer
To many other observers, the advent of the red heifer threatens to provoke a violent struggle for control of the Temple Mount, with worldwide repercussions.
In the late 1990s, a group of unidentified Texas ranchers reportedly bred a perfect red heifer, which generated excitement in evangelical circles until the animal sprouted some black hairs.
Six years ago, the John C. Hagee Royalty Trust paid more than $5.5 million for a 7,600-acre ranch in Brackettville, Texas, where cattle are raised in a venture with the Texas Israel Agricultural Research Foundation, a nonprofit outfit operated by the pastor.
(Another part of the property is a resort hunting facility, where guests paying up to $250 for a night’s stay can also land their planes at the ranch’s private airstrip.)
Last year, Hagee hired one of the top lobbyists in San Antonio, David Earl, to urge the state Legislature to exempt Hagee’s foundation from water-use regulations.
A spokeswoman for the bill’s sponsor, Representative Frank Corte, whose district includes Hagee’s church, said that he introduced it on behalf of a constituent, but added that she was not authorized to divulge the identity of that constituent. (The bill stalled in committee.)
Earl said that Hagee wants to “share information” to “improve” the “production of livestock,” particularly cattle, with an Israeli research project, but otherwise claimed to be unsure of the particulars.
Dr. Scott Farhart, an obstetrician and trustee of the John C. Hagee Royalty Trust (and an elder at Hagee’s church), did not respond to a request for comment, nor did the director of the ranch.
Esther is a favorite Old Testament figure of many evangelicals, a heroine who saved her people from a genocidal plot masterminded by the evil vizier Haman through her influence as the wife of the King of Persia.
When she and her cousin Mordecai discussed whether she should risk death by intervening with the king, he encouraged her by suggesting that she had a divine role; perhaps she had come to the kingdom, he said, “for such a time as this.”
Evangelicals often invoke that phrase to elevate the relevance of modern-day figures.
Israel occupation
In 2004, Laura Bush repeated a story about a woman she met on the campaign trail who told her that the President “was born for such a time as this.”
In a recent message sent by e-mail to CUFI supporters, Hagee wrote that his organization “is exactly in the position of Esther.
Israel is in a time of crisis.
A 21st-century Hitler (the president of Iran) has put in place a plan to exterminate the Jews with nuclear warfare.
If we remain completely silent at this time, God’s punishment will come to us also.”
Hagee doesn’t fear a nuclear conflagration, but rather God’s wrath for standing by as Iran executes its supposed plot to destroy Israel.
A nuclear confrontation between America and Iran, which he says is foretold in the Book of Jeremiah, will not lead to the end of the world, but rather to God’s renewal of the Garden of Eden.
But he also reveals that he is ultimately less concerned with the fate of Israel or the Jews than with a theocratic Christian right agenda.
When Jesus returns for his millennial reign, “the righteous are going to rule the nations of the earth … When Jesus Christ comes back, he’s not going to ask the ACLU if it’s alright to pray, he’s not going to ask the churches if they can ordain pedophile bishops and priests, he’s not going to ask if it’s all right to put the Ten Commandments in the statehouses, he’s not going to endorse abortion, he’s going to run the world by the word of God … The world will never end. It’s going to become a Garden of Eden, and Christ is going to rule it.”
Sarah Posner’s profile of TBN televangelist Rod Parsley, “With God on His Side,” appeared in the November 2005 issue of the Prospect.   More articles by
Sarah Posner
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Children make no sound...

US military said soldiers on Tuesday opened fire on a car as it approached a checkpoint in northern Iraq, killing two civilians in the vehicle's front seats. Six children were in the backseat.

US troops trying to stop the car used hand signals and fired warning shots before firing at the car, killing the driver and front seat passenger, a military statement said on Wednesday.

The shooting occurred in the city of Tal Afar, about 60km west of Mosul.

“The Army’s translator later told me that this was a Turkoman family and that the teenaged girl kept shouting, ‘Why did they shoot us? We have no weapons!   We were just going home!’”

The soldiers standing in the dusk had called "halt," the story said, but no one did.  Maybe the soldiers' accents were bad.

Maybe the car motor was unduly noisy.

Maybe the children were laughing loudly — the way children do on family trips.

 For Common Dreams click here
Published on Friday, January 28, 2005 by the National Catholic Reporter
What the Rest of the World Watched on Inauguration Day
by Joan Chittister

Dublin, on U.S. Inauguration Day, didn't seem to notice.  Oh, they played a few clips that night of the American president saying, "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands."

But that was not their lead story.

The picture on the front page of The Irish Times was a large four-color picture of a small Iraqi girl.

Her little body was a coil of steel.  She sat knees up, cowering, screaming madly into the dark night.  Her white clothes and spread hands and small tight face were blood-spattered.  The blood was the blood of her father and mother, shot through the car window in Tal Afar by American soldiers while she sat beside her parents in the car, her four brothers and sisters in the back seat.

A series of pictures of the incident played on the inside page, as well.  A 12-year-old brother, wounded in the fray, falls face down out of the car when the car door opens, the pictures show.  In another, a soldier decked out in battle gear, holds a large automatic weapon on the four children, all potential enemies, all possible suicide bombers, apparently, as they cling traumatized to one another in the back seat and the child on the ground goes on screaming in her parent's blood.

No promise of "freedom" rings in the cutline on this picture.  No joy of liberty underlies the terror on these faces here.

I found myself closing my eyes over and over again as I stared at the story, maybe to crush the tears forming there, maybe in the hope that the whole scene would simply disappear.

But no, like the photo of a naked little girl bathed in napalm and running down a road in Vietnam served to crystallize the situation there for the rest of the world, I knew that this picture of a screaming, angry, helpless, orphaned child could do the same.

The soldiers standing in the dusk had called "halt," the story said, but no one did.  Maybe the soldiers' accents were bad.  Maybe the car motor was unduly noisy.  Maybe the children were laughing loudly — the way children do on family trips.  Whatever the case, the car did not stop, the soldiers shot with deadly accuracy, seven lives changed in an instant: two died in body, five died in soul.

BBC news announced that the picture was spreading across Europe like a brushfire that morning, featured from one major newspaper to another, served with coffee and Danish from kitchen table to kitchen table in one country after another.  I watched, while Inauguration Day dawned across the Atlantic, as the Irish up and down the aisle on the train from Killarney to Dublin, narrowed their eyes at the picture, shook their heads silently and slowly over it, and then sat back heavily in their seats, too stunned into reality to go back to business as usual — the real estate section, the sports section, the life-style section of the paper.

Here was the other side of the inauguration story.  No military bands played for this one.  No bulletproof viewing stands could stop the impact of this insight into the glory of force.  Here was an America they could no longer understand.  The contrast rang cruelly everywhere.

I sat back and looked out the train window myself.  Would anybody in the United States be seeing this picture today? Would the United States ever see it, in fact? And if it is printed in the United States, will it also cross the country like wildfire and would people hear the unwritten story under it?

There are 54 million people in Iraq.  Over half of them are under the age of 15.  Of the over 100,000 civilians dead in this war, then, over half of them are children.  We are killing children.  The children are our enemy.  And we are defeating them.

"I'll tell you why I voted for George Bush," a friend of mine said.  "I voted for George Bush because he had the courage to do what Al Gore and John Kerry would never have done."

I've been thinking about that one.

Osama Bin Laden is still alive.  Sadam Hussein is still alive.  Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is still alive.  Baghdad, Mosul and Fallujah are burning.  But my government has the courage to kill children or their parents.  And I'm supposed to be impressed.

That's an unfair assessment, of course.  A lot of young soldiers have died, too.  A lot of weekend soldiers are maimed for life.  A lot of our kids went into the military only to get a college education and are now shattered in soul by what they had to do to other bodies.

A lot of adult civilians have been blasted out of their homes and their neighborhoods and their cars.  More and more every day.  According to U.N. Development Fund for Women, 15 percent of wartime casualties in World War I were civilians.  In World War II, 65 percent were civilians.  By the mid '90s, over 75 percent of wartime casualties were civilians.

In Iraq, for every dead U.S. soldier, there are 14 other deaths, 93 percent of them are civilian.  But those things happen in war, the story says.  It's all for a greater good, we have to remember.  It's all to free them.  It's all being done to spread "liberty."

From where I stand, the only question now is who or what will free us from the 21st century's new definition of bravery.  Who will free us from the notion that killing children or their civilian parents takes courage?

A Benedictine Sister of Erie, Sister Joan is a best-selling author and well-known international lecturer.  She is founder and executive director of Benetvision: A Resource and Research Center for Contemporary Spirituality, and past president of the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  Sister Joan has been recognized by universities and national organizations for her work for justice, peace and equality for women in the Church and society.  She is an active member of the International Peace Council.

© 2005 The National Catholic Reporter

Sunday, 6 April, 2003
Bush puts God on his side
By Tom Carver
BBC Washington correspondent

Before September 11, President George W Bush kept his evangelical Christian beliefs largely to himself.
President Bush speaks to marines and their families at Camp Lejeune in the US
Bush convinced God wants him to engage the forces of evil

He had turned to God at the age of 40 as a way of kicking alcoholism, and his faith had kept him on the straight and narrow ever since, giving him the drive to reach the White House.

But all that changed on the day of the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

Those close to Mr Bush say that day he discovered his life's mission.

He became convinced that God was calling him to engage the forces of evil in battle, and this one time baseball-team owner from Texas did not shrink from the task.

'Angels' country'

"We are in a conflict between good and evil. And America will call evil by its name," Mr Bush told West Point graduates in a speech last year.

In this battle, he placed his country firmly on the side of the angels.

"There is wonder-working power in the goodness and idealism of the American people," he said in this year's State of the Union address.

This concept of placing America in God's camp sticks in the throat of a lot of American clergy.

"It is by no means certain that we are as pure as the driven snow or that our international policy is so pure," says Fritz Ritsch, Presbyterian minister in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Reverend Ritsch says it also makes their job as clerics harder by giving Christians in America an easy way out.

They do not need to examine their souls because their president has told them they are on the side of good.

"There is an opportunity here for spiritual enrichment in this country that is just getting missed."

Battle with anti-Christ

In fact, nearly all the mainland churches in America oppose this war, including Mr Bush's own church, the United Methodists.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
Does Bush believe he fights a titanic battle with the anti-Christ?

Mr Bush is certainly not the first president to invoke God in time of war, but his approach is markedly different from his predecessors.

During America's Civil War, Abraham Lincoln did not claim that God was on his side.

In fact, in his famous second inaugural address, he said the war was a curse on both armies: "He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offence came."

Yet Mr Bush's rhetoric does have a huge audience.

One in three American Christians call themselves evangelicals and many evangelicals believe the second coming of Christ will occur in the Middle East after a titanic battle with the anti-Christ.

Does the president believe he is playing a part in the final events of Armageddon?

If true, it is an alarming thought.

But he would not be alone, as 59% of all Americans believe that what is written in the Bible's Book of Revelations will come to pass.

Winning formula

Tim LeHaye is an evangelical minister who has written 10 best-selling novels based on the Book of Revelations.

With exquisite timing, his 11th, called Armageddon, will be published next week.

By combining the apocalypse with a Tom Clancy style, Mr LeHaye has found a winning formula.

After the attacks on the World Trade Center, the minister became America's best-selling novelist in 2001, beating even John Grisham.

In his latest novel we see the anti-Christ, armed with nuclear weapons, setting up camp at New Babylon in Iraq.

The millions of Americans who believe in the biblical prophecies see this war in a very particular way and among them, George Bush's stark talk of good versus evil plays very well.

If America prevails, millions will say it was divinely ordained.

But many others will suspect that it had more to do with the power of American weaponry than the active intervention of the Almighty.

February 2, 2005
God and the Oval Office
Bush's Brand of Christianity
S ince the night of September 11, 2001, when George W. Bush quoted Psalm 23 and declared the day's events to be the opening salvo of a cosmic struggle of good vs. evil, administration officials and supporters have claimed that this president's mixture of religion and politics is nothing new in the presidency.  Just last month in speaking to journalists, Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson offered this viewpoint.

That simply is not so.  We have the data to prove it.

What makes Bush distinct from other modern American presidents is not that he believes in or refers to a supreme power in his public communications.  What sets Bush apart is how much he talks about God and what he says when he does so.  The pattern is so clear that we guarantee Bush will invoke God several times in his State of the Union address on Wednesday.

Consider that Bush referenced God seven times in his second-term inaugural address on January 20.  This came on the heels of 10 invocations of God in his first inaugural and another 14 references in his three State of the Union addresses.  No other president since Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933 has mentioned God so often in his inaugurations or State of the Unions.

The closest to Bush's average of 6 references per each of these addresses is Ronald Reagan, who averaged 4.75 in his comparable speeches.  Jimmy Carter, considered as pious as they come among U.S. presidents, only had 2 God mentions in four addresses.  Other also-rans in total God talk were war-time presidents Franklin Roosevelt at 1.69 and Lyndon Johnson at 1.50 references per inaugurals and State of the Unions.

God talk in these addresses is important because in these ritualized occasions any religious language becomes fused with American identity.  This is particularly so since the advent of radio and television, which have facilitated presidents' ability to connect with the U.S. public writ large; indeed, inaugurals and State of the Unions commonly draw large media audiences.

Bush also talks about God differently than most other modern presidents.  Presidents since Roosevelt have commonly spoken as petitioners of God, seeking blessing, favor, and guidance.  This president positions himself as a prophet, issuing declarations of divine desires for the nation and world.  Among modern presidents, only Reagan has spoken in a similar manner — and he did so far less frequently than has Bush.

This striking change in White House rhetoric is apparent in how presidents have spoken about God and the values of freedom and liberty, two ideas central to American identity.  Consider a few examples.

Roosevelt in 1941, in a famous address delineating four essential freedoms threatened by fascism, said: "This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God."

Similarly, Dwight Eisenhower in 1954, during the height of the Cold War, said: "Happily, our people, though blessed with more material goods than any people in history, have always reserved their first allegiance to the kingdom of the spirit, which is the true source of that freedom we value above all material things. ... So long as action and aspiration humbly and earnestly seek favor in the sight of the Almighty, there is no end to America's forward road; there is no obstacle on it she will not surmount in her march toward a lasting peace in a free and prosperous world."

Contrast these statements, in which presidents spoke as petitioners humbly asking for divine guidance, with Bush's claim in 2003 that "Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation.  The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity."  This is not a request for divine favor; it is a declaration of divine wishes.

Similarly, two weeks ago in his second inaugural Bush hammered home the ideas of freedom or liberty — using these words, in some form, 49 times, including this instance: "We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul.  When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner 'Freedom Now' — they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled.  History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty."

Some might wonder if all of these words should be attributed to Gerson, a graduate of evangelical Wheaton College who served as Bush's primary speechwriter in his first term.  The words are Bush's.  Bob Woodward, in his book about the administration's push toward Iraq, Plan of Attack, includes this quote from Bush: "I say that freedom is not America's gift to the world.  Freedom is God's gift to everybody in the world.  I believe that.  As a matter of fact, I was the person that wrote the line, or said it.  I didn't write it, I just said it in a speech.  And it became part of the jargon.  And I believe that.  And I believe we have a duty to free people.  I would hope we wouldn't have to do it militarily, but we have a duty."

The claim that the U.S. government is doing God's work may appeal to many Americans, but it frightens those who might run afoul of administration wishes-cum-demands.  This is particularly so when one considers how declarations of God's will have been used by European-Americans in past eras as rationale for subjugating those who are racially and religiously different, most notably Native Americans, Africans, Chinese, and African Americans.

Indeed, scholar R. Scott Appleby in 2003 declared that the administration's omnipresent emphasis on freedom and liberty functions as the centerpiece for "a theological version of Manifest Destiny."  Unfortunately, this twenty-first century adaptation of manifest destiny differs little from earlier American versions: the goal remains to vanquish any who do not willingly adopt the supposedly universal norms and values of white, conservative Protestants.  The result, by implication in the president's rhetoric, is that the administration has transformed Bush's "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists" policy into "Either you are with us, or you are against God."

To the great misfortune of American democracy and the global public, such a view is indistinguishable from that of the terrorists it is fighting.  One is hard pressed to see how the perspective of Osama bin Laden, that he and his followers are delivering God's wishes for the United States, is much different from Bush's perspective that the United States is delivering God's wishes to the Taliban or Iraq.

Clearly, flying airplanes into buildings in order to kill innocent people is an indefensible immoral activity.  So too, some charge, is an unprovoked pre-emptive invasion of another nation, the cost in casualties of which has been paid by U.S. military personnel sent to fight on the basis of erroneous intelligence and by Iraqi civilians — 1,429 (with 10,502 wounded) and 15,563 (with no reliable estimate of Iraqi civilian wounded), respectively, according to conservative estimates at this writing.

And that isn't freedom and liberty, no matter how many times you use the word or link it to God.

David Domke is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington.  He is the author of God Willing?   Political Fundamentalism in the White House, the "War on Terror," and the Echoing Press (Pluto Press, 2004).

Kevin Coe is a doctoral student in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Illinois.

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