When the Democrats had their floor fight about the Jerusalem the other day, it was an example of how evangelical Christian Zionists were able to intrude into American politics aided and abetted by inattentive journalists, ignorant of the ways religion and politics interact.
Jeff Sharlet writes:
The GOP attack on Dems Jerusalem platform isn’t about the Jews…
....It’s about Christians. In case you missed it, the Democratic Party dropped its longstanding insistence that Jerusalem is and will be the capital of Israel, despite the fact that most of the world doesn’t recognize it as such. Why not? Oh, the fear of setting off a never-ending, apocalyptic war.
But for some of us, that sounds terrific. Just what the world needs, in fact. They’re called Christian Zionists, conservative evangelical Christians who think they’re more Israeli than Golda Meir. They like to say they “have a heart for the Jewish people.” (They don’t say “Jews,” because they’re worried it sounds anti-Semitic, which, when they say it, it does. Because, when they say it, it is.)
And the heart, as one famous Jew said, wants what it wants. For Christian Zionists, that’s the return of Jesus to Jerusalem, followed by the Rapture of believers. There are differing views on what exactly that’ll look like — mega-selling Christian Zionist authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins think the tongues of Jews who don’t convert will explode, while milder types settle for the Battle of Armageddon — but however you cut it won’t be good for the Jews.
Of course, that’s not who the GOP is pandering to. Political reporters uninterested American religious demographics will report it as such, but who do you think really matters in an election — the two percent of Americans who are Jews, only a small proportion of whom vote based on Israel, or the tens of millions of conservative evangelicals for whom the end of the world — and Israel’s promised role in it — is a matter of ultimate concern?