Pastor Hagee’s Criminal Faith

Historically, ardent Christians have been among the most bloodthirsty of religious believers, justifying wars and genocides around the world, ironically, in the name of Jesus, an avowed pacifist. Now, many devout Christians rally to Israel’s side in its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the Holy Land, Lawrence Davidson notes.

By Lawrence Davidson

On March 18, Pastor John Hagee’s Christians United For Israel, an organization founded in 2006 with the goal of “realizing the political potential of tens of millions of evangelical Americans who support Israel,” announced the registration of its millionth member.

CUFI, which has as much influence with the Republican-controlled Congress as does the Jewish Zionist lobby AIPAC, can also be said to have the goal of destroying, in the name of God no less, the legitimate political aspiration of Palestinian statehood.

Pastor John Hagee from his Facebook page

Why should the devout Mr. Hagee and his one million followers be so enamored of Israel? Actually, they have no rational reasons, but they do have a number of non-rational ones. For example, “We support Israel because all other nations were created by an act of man, but Israel was created by an act of God.”

Hagee and his followers do not know that this is so. They just ardently believe it is so. Yet there is a difference between demonstrable fact and belief. Though such religious beliefs are often presented as immutable – unchanging over time – what people ardently believe, what might be called faith, actually has proven to be widely variable demonstrating profound changes over the centuries.

Thus, for a considerably longer period of time than the life of Hagee’s particular brand of Christianity (in fact for thousands of years), vast numbers of people ardently believed in the reality of Olympian and other mythical gods. For almost 1,200 years, countless individuals, every bit as assured of their faith as Pastor Hagee is of his, came to the shrine at Delphi to prey to Apollo and, through his oracle, the Sibyl, petition for the God’s advice and favor.

There is no more hard evidence for Hagee’s faith than for that of the Sibyl. It’s like the lottery. Despite people’s belief in their own “lucky numbers,” every number has an equal probability of turning up. In the same way, when John Hagee dies, he has an equal chance of finding himself on the shore of the River Styx as he does at the gates of heaven or hell.

Of course, this comparison is not completely accurate. There is also the chance – some would say a certainty – that no number turns up at all, and Mr. Hagee, like all living things, simply dissolves into worm food.

Whatever Hagee and his followers may believe, there is no hard evidence that Israel was created “by an act of God.” The Bible stories are just that, stories, and quoting them as if they constituted evidence beyond the realm of faith just won’t do. (As for modern Israel, the deed was done by a combination of Jewish militias, the British Empire and the General Assembly of the United Nations.)

Today, no one credits the stories told in Hesiod’s Theogony (the story of the origin of the Olympian Gods) as proof positive of the existence of Zeus and Apollo. Pastor Hagee would counter that the Theogony was “created by an act of man” while the Bible is, allegedly, the divinely inspired words of God. And, indeed, it appears that up to one-third of the adults in the United States agree with him.

Unfortunately, it is quite possible that as high a percentage of people now believe in the literal, divine truth of the Bible (and therefore the divine origin of Israel) as people once believed in the reality of Zeus and his Olympian clan. However, it bears repeating that belief, no matter how ardently held, does not make something true. And, it does not matter if it is the belief of one person or a million. The situation is the same. Faith is not the same as fact.

Unfortunately, this does not put an end to our subject. Faith may not move mountains but it can move the masses. It can move Hagee’s million and many others to actions that are very real indeed. It can move people to empty their wallets in an effort to financially support their alleged certainties. Worse yet, it can move them to take up arms and slaughter their neighbors – or at least cheer on others who do so.

I have a strong suspicion that if the Israelis some day evict every last Palestinian from Pastor Hagee’s “Holy Land,” killing thousands in the process, the pastor will shout “Hallelujah” and salivate in anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ.

It may just be his personal opinion, mind you, but if you believe so strongly that you are willing to underwrite murder and mayhem, you constitute a real danger to world peace. As such you should be preaching your defense before the International Criminal Court rather than spurring on the multitude.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

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14 comments on “Pastor Hagee’s Criminal Faith

  1. Hillary on said:

    Pastor John Hagee the demented Christian who with his Evangelical followers helped make their holy man G.W.Bush US President and together with Tony Blair the UK holy man marshalled the Christian Crusade against Iraq and Islam all supposedly willed by a Christian God.

    Gog Maygog Bible Prophecies and End Time scenarios were used and Iraq was laid waste with Depleted Uranium and millions of human beings murdered ,crippled , orphaned , displaced, etc……all willed by a Christian God.

    “This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins”.
    http://www.alternet.org/story/140221

  2. Steve on said:

    This crap reminds me of the Y-Indian Guides, of which I was a member at something like 8 years old in the L.A. Suburbs, circa. 1958. Barely tolerated by the ritz-’Crackers’, even a that age, I felt a little more sympathy for the crushed Natives of America, murdered by the thousands on my TV screens and now honored like some dark ‘Wise Men’ in the Nativity Play that had been held at my Elementary School. Being born in L.A., I remember ‘thinking niggers&jews’ was one word. Then by the late ’60s, I found myself considered ‘White’. Now these same RedNeck’s love Jews, like they love picking out a nice Turkey for Thanks-Giving their lord, who created them in His image, but had ‘chosen’ people a few shades darker. Are you fu**ing kidding me. Can this be for real in the era of Mars Rovers & IPads. Maybe Israel, Palestine and the Vatican could be the first test cases of a United Nations governed territories. I would sure like to have international historians take a peek at the Vatican’s diary of a raped planet.

    • Gregory L Kruse on said:

      I just started reading “The Clockwork Universe” by Edward Dolnick. The apparent madhouse we live in now is quite livable compared to the shitty madhouse of 17th century Europe when everyone was either a devout Christian or dead, and even the most brilliant minds were imprisoned by fealty to a God who lived “up there” somewhere. It was all they could do to turn God from an angry asshole into a mathematician. Though one mind can be changed in an instant, it takes longer for all minds to change. If it were not so, “madhouse” would be a mild description of the consequent worlds.

  3. incontinent reader on said:

    What hath this salmon smoked?

  4. Gregory L Kruse on said:

    Oh, do go on!

  5. Steve Meikle on said:

    Because I have more regard for the Law of God (the book of Exodus forbids the people of Israel from oppressing or vexing the non Israelite in their land)than Hagee ever had, I am no longer a member of his chorus which cheers on Israeli crimes.

    Even if Israel was created by act of God (and I still tend to this) that does not give it a license to do what it pleases. Violence and lawlessness is what got Israel exiled in the first place – but this is something the Zionists conveniently ignore

    Actually the logic Hagee expresses shows hatred for Israel. If you love some one you do not endorse and applaud things which will destroy them.

    By biblical logic Christian Zionism is shown to be idolatry. it is a pity the author here seeks to undercut Zionism by denying the scriptures. it seems to indicate that if he believed that Israel were created by act of God then he would have to endorse Israel’s crimes; and this shows ignorance of the Bible as deeps as Hagee’s

  6. J.B.Gregorovich on said:

    ‘Ethnic cleansing’ is a euphemism for ‘genocide’.

  7. While I lean towards Steve Meikle’s views it’s very difficult to make a historical and geographical jump of nearly 1900 years to argue that the current state of Israel is the “Israel” of the Old/New Testament era. Far too many cultural, political and historical factors shaped the growth of the biblical Israel to simply assume that today’s Israel is anything resembling the Israel of the 10th century BCE to 2nd century CE.

    Furthermore, the massive and univocal oppression of ALL Palestinians and increasing land grab on the part of Israeli settlers and the Israeli government becomes less and less defensible except for Dominionists or whatever else may characterize the belief system of Hagee and his church.

  8. Pingback: Lawrence Davidson – The Criminal Religion of the Bloodthirsty Pastor Hagee

  9. Morton Kurzweil on said:

    With friends like these, who else are our enemies?
    Benighted bigots of belief insist on violence when every family wants the same peace and self respect denied by religious subjugation.

  10. Susan on said:

    Are you rapture ready? Check out this frightful video – this was in 2008:

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/03072008/watch.html

    BILL MOYERS: Washington. July 17th. A Night to Honor Israel.

    SINGING VOICE: Blow the trumpet in Zion, Zion!

    BILL MOYERS: Over 4,500 people from every state in the union and ten countries …celebrate their solidarity with Israel…They call their organization Christians United for Israel…Most are evangelical Christians…CUFI — as it’s known — is not even two years old, and it’s already a force to be reckoned with. The man behind it is pastor John Hagee.

    JOHN HAGEE (at NIGHT TO HONOR ISRAEL): When 50 million evangelical bible-believing Christians unite with five million American Jews standing together on behalf of Israel, it is a match made in heaven.

    BILL MOYERS: Pastor Hagee is one of the Christian right’s most powerful preachers. Israel is his passion.

    JOHN HAGEE: Let us shout it from the housetops that a new day has been born in America. The sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened. If a line has to be drawn, draw the line around Christians and Jews. We are united. We are indivisible. And together we can reshape history.

    BILL MOYERS: Christian Zionists believe Jews are God’s chosen people, that God promised the land of Israel to their patriarchs and their descendants. They say that the bible requires Christians to give unconditional support to the Jewish people, to be a “good friend” to Christianity’s “big brother.”

    GREG STEPHENS: Israel is the only country that God ever established. Every other country has been established by a king or a queen or a congress or a parliament. It’s the only country that God ever established

    BILL MOYERS: John Hagee says you need look no further than the scriptures…

  11. Susan on said:

    Rapture Ready: The Unauthorized Christians United for Israel Tour

    http://vimeo.com/251385

  12. Gerhard Falk on said:

    The issue is not Hagee. The issue is that Lawrence Davidson would like to see the desruction of Israel and he slaughter of anothe 6 million Jews in another Holocaust.
    Those who criticize Israel fool no one. They are the Nazis of today.