It is not only because of insatiable greed for oil, or because of Americas addiction to war or because of Bushs obvious mental instability that America and its allies now seem hellbent on attacking Iran, although these factors are certainly important. Equally crucially, the current wave of fervent warmongering in the West directed against Iran owes to the enormous clout wielded by Western Christian fundamentalist organizations who, following the invasion and destruction of Iraq, which they had so fervently abetted, are now calling for a repeat performance, this time in Iran. These bloodthirsty votaries of the cult of unmitigated violence consider Iran to be the major challenge to American and Zionist imperialism, which they regard as enjoying divine blessing. Insisting that America and Israel should invade Iran at once, they regard this as a Christian necessity.
They also believe that this would herald a global war of cosmic proportions that would, so they believe, usher in the end of the world and Jesus Second Coming, something that they passionately await.
A key American Christian fundamentalist ideologue is the Texasbased televangelist John Hagee. He is said to be close to top leaders of the American Republic Party as well as Israeli intelligence officers and politicians. He is the pastor of The Cornerstone Church based in San Antonio, and also heads the multimillion dollar Global Evangelism media company that broadcasts his daily programmes on 172 television and 82 radio stations throughout the USA and around the world. His fervent appeals to Christian simplicity obviously are not intended to apply to himself he is said to be one of the wealthiest men in his city, and the trust that he has named after himself, The John Hagee Rabbi Trust, includes among its various assets a ranch spread over almost 8000 acres.
Hagee is one of the principal ideologues of what is called Christian Zionism, which is said to be the fastest growing religious cult in America today. Hagee is known for his fervent support for Israel, for he considers this a Biblical duty binding on Christians, and has been opposed to any peace deal that might cause Israel to give back any occupied land to the Palestinians. He works closely with several American and Israeli Jewish groups, and is one of the architects of a Christian evangelicalZionist alliance. Author of numerous Christian fundamentalist texts, Hagees latest book, Jerusalem Countdown A Preclude to War encapsulates the Christian fundamentalists case for a joint AmericanIsraeli invasion of Iran. In order to build up his argument, he portrays Iran in the most lurid colours. Iran, he insists, without adducing any evidence (for in Christian fundamentalist circlesand in the West more generallysuch evidence is not needed) is the command post for global terror (p.vii). Under President Ahmadinijad, Hagee argues, Iran is building up a nuclear stockpile, which it intends to share with the rest of the Islamic world.
Since Iran, so he claims, is motivated by hatred for Israel and America without limitation, it might use these weapons to attack both these countries and their allies and to completely destroy Western civilization (pp.45). Hence, before this can happen, America and Israel, he insists, must invade Iran and destroy the nuclear bombs that it supposedly possesses.
As Hagee and his ilk see it, Irans opposition to America and Israel has nothing whatsoever to do with American aggression and imperialism or to Zionist occupation and Israeli crimes against humanity. Rather, this opposition is attributed squarely to the fact that most Iranians are Muslims. It is, Hagee claims, Islam as a religion that is the cause of the supposed hatred of Muslims (including Iranians) towards America and Israel. Here, he conveniently ignores the fact that most ruling regimes in Muslim countries, some of which, such as Saudi Arabia, spare no effort to display their supposedly Islamic credentials, are decidedly proAmerican and are little more than appendages of the West. Obviously, conceding this inconvenient fact would seriously undermine his argument.
Tracing the cause of antiWesternism simply to Islam, Hagee claims that Jews and Christians, on the one hand, and Muslims, on the other, are presently engaged in nothing less than the final battle for global domination, and that, in fact, World War III has already begun. Since this is, as he characterises it, a religious war, a war, as George Bush describes it, between good and evil, there can be no compromise or settlement between the supposedly contending parties.
In order to justify what is nothing short than a global antiIslamic crusade, in which a proposed invasion of Iran is just one step, Hagee repeats many of the wornout, tired clichs about Islam that were, and still are, part of the stock vocabulary of Christian fundamentalism. Islam and Christianity are poles apart, he insists. He claims that Muslims and Christians do not even worship the same God, and that Allah is actually the moon god of Mecca (p.2). While Christianity is said to teach peace and love, Islam, he contends, does precisely the opposite. He claims that Islam was spread by the sword by the Prophet Muhammad and his followers, while, ignoring the centuries of Christian aggression, he writes that Christianity was spread through love and charity.
Iranian/Muslim opposition to America and Israel thus being said to be entirely a result of alleged Islamic teachings, rather than having any political or economic causes, the solution that Hagee offers is also expressed in religious terms unleashing what is virtually a second crusade against Muslims the world over. The first step that America must do in this regard, he argues, is to admit and announce that it is engaged in a religious war against Islam, which he says, is totally dedicated to Americas destruction (p.35). Accordingly, he advises that the American government must firmly tighten control on Muslim immigration to that country. He even goes so far as to suggest that all American Muslims are real or potential terrorists or terroristsympathisers, and claims that sleeping terrorist cells have been set up in mosques and Islamic centres across the country. (p.63).
Hagee sketches out the chain of events that would follow from the American attack on Iran which he claims the Bible predicts in fine detail. No sooner does America invade Iran, that a massive Muslim army, hundreds of thousands strong, will attack Israel with Russian assistance in order to destroy it. This army would unleash nuclear weapons against America and Israel, and, in this way, would cause what he calls a nuclear Armageddon. (p.53). This, Hagee insists, is not something that can at all be prevented. In fact, he seems to suggest that this global war is something to be wildly celebrated by Christians because, he claims, it has been ordained by none other than God Himself.
The combined RussianMuslim force that attacks Israel as soon as America and Israel attack Iran will cause widespread death, Hagee says, but then God will intervene and cause his fury to explode against those who have gathered against the Jews, for God, Hagee claims, considers the Jews His chosen people.
But no sooner has the RussoMuslim army been quashed than another major opponent appears this time in the form of the AntiChrist, the Son of Satan, who will, through his powers of black magic, conquer the entire world. He will enter into a sevenyear peace treaty with the Jews ostensibly in order to protect them from the Muslims and the Russians, but after three and a half years have passed he will break the treaty and will turn on the Jews, seeking to obliterate them. In this task, Hagee writes, he will be assisted by what the Bible calls the Man from the East, which he identifies as China.
This represents the culmination of the final battle that heralds the end of the world, so Hagee (like other Biblical literalists and Christian extremists) believes. In this war against the AntiChrist and China, the West will join forces with the Jews, at a place call Armageddon, a narrow valley outside Jerusalem, which the Bible describes in considerable gory detail. Just before the battle is about to begin, a miracle Jesus would then ascend his throne in Jerusalem, from where he would rule the entire (and, if Hagee is to be believed, the bythen entirely Christian) world for a thousand years. A Golden Age of Peace is how Hagee characterizes this era, although how nonChristians could ever consider it so is something that he obviously does not bother about. Rejoice and be glad, he excitedly announces, celebrating the gory chain of events that he describes with such passion that he says will unfold in the wake of an American invasion of Iran, The best is yet to be. That best that Hagee and his fellow Christian extremists so fervently pine for, is nothing less than the destruction of the entire world. (Full version on www.islamicvoice.com)