Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Book of Ezekiel

Dan Froomkin is a good guy, but does not understand how insane the Bush administration really is. Hence he keeps getting surprised--here, for example: Joel C. Rosenberg, who writes apocalyptic fiction, tells me that he was invited to speak at a White House Bible study group last year about current events and biblical prophecy. Rosenberg says he got a call last year from a White House staffer: "He said 'A lot of people over here are reading your novels, and they're intrigued that these things keep on happening.... Your novels keep foreshadowing actual coming events.... And so we're curious, how are you doing it? What's the secret? Why don't you come over and walk us through the story behind these novels?' So I did. I can't tell you that the people that I spoke with agree with me, or believe that prophecy can really help you understand what will happen next in the Middle East, but I'm not surprised that they're intrigued."

See also Rosenberg: "Now I have to say, Pat, I believe that Ezekiel 38 and 39;&version=31 -- the prophecies that we're talking about -- I think this is about the end of radical Islam as we know it. God says He's going to supernaturally judge Iran, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, these other countries. We're talking about fire from heaven, a massive earthquake. It's going to be devastating and tragic. But I believe that afterwards there's going to be a great spiritual awakening. We're seeing more Muslims coming to Christ right now than at any other time in history. But I think that's just the beginning. We've got dark days ahead of us. But I believe there's a light at the end of that tunnel."

But this should not surprise anybody. It's been going on for years. For example: June 07, 2004: Clueless in Gaza

One of the big problems with being on the American right is that one has to spend a lot of time convincing one's political allies that no, Jesus Christ will not be really angry, sulk, and stay away longer if Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip. See Perlstein's article in the Village Voice.... What does it say about me that my first reaction on reading the Village Voice article and learning that Eliot Abrams had reassured the constituents that they did not need to worry because Gaza was not part of "historic Israel" was, "What a liar!"? I was (momentarily) genuinely irate that Abrams would pretend that the city in which Samson died was not part of "historic Israel"--not part of what the sixth-century priests said that The One Who Is had granted to Abraham and Moses in fee simple forever....

Here's Perlstein in the Village Voice:

The Jesus Landing Pad: Bush White House checked with rapture Christians before latest Israel move by Rick Perlstein May 18th, 2004 10:00 AM

It was an e-mail we weren't meant to see. Not for our eyes were the notes that showed White House staffers taking two-hour meetings with Christian fundamentalists, where they passed off bogus social science on gay marriage as if it were holy writ and issued fiery warnings that "the Presidents [sic] Administration and current Government is engaged in cultural, economical, and social struggle on every level"—-this to a group whose representative in Israel believed herself to have been attacked by witchcraft unleashed by proximity to a volume of Harry Potter. Most of all, apparently, we're not supposed to know the National Security Council's top Middle East aide consults with apocalyptic Christians eager to ensure American policy on Israel conforms with their sectarian doomsday scenarios.

But now we know.

"Everything that you're discussing is information you're not supposed to have," barked Pentecostal minister Robert G. Upton when asked about the off-the-record briefing his delegation received on March 25. Details of that meeting appear in a confidential memo signed by Upton and obtained by the Voice.

The e-mailed meeting summary reveals NSC Near East and North African Affairs director Elliott Abrams sitting down with the Apostolic Congress and massaging their theological concerns. Claiming to be "the Christian Voice in the Nation's Capital," the members vociferously oppose the idea of a Palestinian state. They fear an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza might enable just that, and they object on the grounds that all of Old Testament Israel belongs to the Jews. Until Israel is intact and Solomon's temple rebuilt, they believe, Christ won't come back to earth.

Abrams attempted to assuage their concerns by stating that "the Gaza Strip had no significant Biblical influence such as Joseph's tomb or Rachel's tomb and therefore is a piece of land that can be sacrificed for the cause of peace."... In an interview with the Voice, Upton denied having written the document, though it was sent out from an e-mail account of one of his staffers and bears the organization's seal.... Affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church, the Apostolic Congress is part of an important and disciplined political constituency courted by recent Republican administrations. As a subset of the broader Christian Zionist movement, it has a lengthy history of opposition to any proposal that will not result in what it calls a "one-state solution" in Israel.

When I sought to confirm Upton's account of the meeting with the White House, I was directed to National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones, whose initial response upon being read a list of the names of White House staffers present was a curt, "You know half the people you just mentioned are Jewish?"... When asked whose job it is in the administration to study the Bible to discern what parts of Israel were or weren't acceptable sacrifices for peace, Jones said that his previous statements had been off-the-record....

The Middle East was not the only issue discussed at the March 25 meeting. James Wilkinson, deputy national security advisor.... Tim Goeglein, deputy director of public liaison.... Matt Schlapp, White House political director and Karl Rove's chief lieutenant.... Kristen Silverberg, deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy.... Goeglein, who was asked, "What can we do to assist in this fight for these issues and our nations [sic] foundation and values?" and who reportedly responded, "Pray, pray, pray, pray."...

Apostolics believe that only 144,000 Jews who have not, prior to the Second Coming of Christ, acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah will be saved in the end times. Though even for those who do not believe in this literal interpretation of the Bible—-or for anyone who lives in Israel, or who cares about Israel, or whose security might be affected by a widespread conflagration in the Middle East, which is everyone—-the scriptural prophecies of the Christian Zionists should be the least of their worries. Instead, we should be worried about self-fulfilling prophecies...

Once again (as so often happens in these days), only Fafblog! can treat this at the level at which it deserves:

Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog: Juan Cole has pointed out an article in the Village Voice about apocalyptic Christian groups meeting with the White House to make sure that its Israel policy is compatible with Jesus coming back to end the world. Which is an interestin' thing to think about. How many refugee camps does Jesus want bulldozed in Gaza? Will Jesus give up Gaza for more settlements in the West Bank? And what if we are completely missin' the mark here an' Jesus touches down in the Sinai peninsula forgettin' all about the Camp David Accords? Will Jesus get mixed up an' make the Muslim end of the world happen instead? That would be horrible, no one would be happy then!


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