IF YOU'RE A JEW, put the paper down now, run to your door and lock it. If some beaming Ned Flanders type with a big helpful smile on his face rings your doorbell and says, "Is there a Jew in this house I can hug?" advise him to vacate the premises immediately, or you will sic upon him Baal, your starving Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Whatever you do, do not invite the Christian Zionist into your house. Because as much as he claims to love you and all of your fellow tribesmen, it's a different kind of love than you might expect. More like the love that the Manson Family had for Sharon Tate and her party guests.
Ned and about 65 million other fellow American Evangelical cultists love Jews for one simple reason: They hope to bundle every hairy Jewish ass up, air-freight them to the West Bank and East Jerusalem (once those areas have been cleansed of Muslims), and use the Jews as bait to bring upon the Rapture, as kindling in the Apocalypse, the final battle that will bring Jesus back to Earth. None of this can happen until every last Jew is penned into the occupied territoriesand the Jews won't get there unless the far-right runs Israel and America. Currently 65 million American cultists are using everything in their power, from prayer to politics, to make this Helter Skelter scenario come true.
Under this Evangelical "end of days" scenario, there's some good news and some bad news, depending on which cult you belong to.
First, the good news: The Rapture be bery-bery-good to Evangelical Christians. When that day arrives, they all get sucked up to heaven body, clothes, mobile phones and all. Here is a stunning description of the Rapture in Evangelical cult leader Michael D. Evans' new bestseller, The American Prophecies (Warner Faith Books, $18.95):
[I]magine for a moment sixty-five million Americans vanishing in the twinkling of an eyepeople flying planes, driving cars, steering ships, driving trains and subways, manning nuclear power stations and nuclear silos, navigating submarines filled with nuclear missiles, and so on Realize, also, if that happened today, it would take our president.
If you sense that Evans actually enjoys the thought of nuclear chaos for those of us left behind, you're absolutely right. Here is his "Dear Santa" holocaust wish-list, in gradated order: "Yes, this is my hope. Not that the terrorists get us, nor even that we side with Israel in the final battle (though I would greatly prefer that to option one!), but that God gets usall of us."
Note that Evans, like all Evangelicals, wouldn't mind it if terrorists got usit's just that he prefers that God get us first. All of us.
Nuclear weapons and President George W. Bushand Jewsare the only earthly things that Evans and his fellow Evangelical cultists genuinely love. The nukes above all. More than once Evans quotes the lines in Zechariah that Evangelicals believe prophesy a nuclear holocaust: "Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet/Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets/And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths." (Zechariah 14:12)
A few years after the Rapture comes the Apocalypse. This is the bad-news part of the Evangelical equation, for some people anywaythe part of the buddy flick where the one buddy says to the other, "Sorry friend, it was either you or me."
The funny thing about The American Prophecies is that while Evans quotes extensively from Zechariah, he leaves out the one passage that every Evangelical secretly prays for:
And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith Jehovah, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. (Zechariah 13:8, 9)
In other words, two-thirds of the world's Jews, now crammed into the dusty West Bank, go to the woodchipper, and the surviving third (or perhaps as few as 144,000, depending on how you read your Bible) gets forcibly converted to Evangelical Christianity. Number nine, number nine
This is why Jews should beware. Michael Evans and the 23 percent of the American population he represents need a Greater Israel in order to get sucked up into God's DustBuster. But to get to the "end of days," they need the Jews' cooperation. Which is probably why Evans left this part of the script out of his book. Today, Evangelicals' strategy is something like this: "Hey, maybe we've been scaring the Jews away all these years, with pogroms and quotas and stuff. Maybe if we act all nice, they'll come out from under the bed and go to Judea and Samara. Heeeeere Jew-ie Jew-ie. Nice Jewie!"
The Evangelicals' late-20th-century strategy of embracing Jews as their biggest, bestest friends in the whole wide world reads like an updated Hansel and Gretel, with Evans playing the witch luring Hymie and Gilah into his West Bank lair in order to cook them.
Or, it has a King Kong quality to it, like tying up Fay Wrayberg to a Hebron IDF outpost in order to cajole Jesus Kong out of the heavenly jungle so that he can lord over the cross-chucking savagesexcept that at least Fay Wray survives in the original. Not so the Jews of Michael Evans' fantasy.
After reading The American Prophecies, the direction our country has taken over the past 30 years makes depressing sense. This book takes you into the bizarre, sick and oftentimes hilarious mindset of the people who have quietly assumed power. Face it: America today is ruled by the cross-chuckers. Most secular Americans live in denial of this terrible truth, preferring instead to accuse their rightist enemies of living in denial about far smaller matters (the Iraq debacle, Bush corruption, etc.).
On the living-in-denial scale, secular humanists who still dismiss or ignore the Evangelical Christian takeover of America are little more than Baghdad Bobs: "Go back to your cafes, everyone! The Evangelicals don't really matter! America is a land of rational, enlightened citizens, not insane cultists!"
Meanwhile, the cross-chuckers have taken over every facet of American life, leaving tiny "safe havens" like liberal arts departments and alternative newspapers to the secular humanistshavens as safe as Srebrenica and Tuzla.
THIS PAST APRIL, just as President Bush ordered the retreat from Fallujah, he also announced that for the first time America no longer insisted that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders. Why did he make that change? How did that serve America's interests?
Until recently, I was convinced that his pro-Israeli-hard-right policies were aimed at securing the American Jewish vote. But personal anecdotal evidence, along with polls which showing that among Jews he still scores in the low 20s compared to Kerry's high 60s, prove that Bush is loathed by Jews more than ever. So I asked a contact of mine (non-Jewish) in the Defense Department what was behind the policy change.
"Electoral politics. That was aimed at shoring up the biggest vote bloc of all," the DoD official said.
Indeed, in American Prophecies, after raising the specter that Bush may not be genuinely "born-again" (because he didn't ask Israel to join the coalition's attack against Iraq, and because Bush earmarked American money to rebuild Iraq, which Evangelicals believe should be destroyed and razed as per the Revelations), Evans adds an Afterword praising Bush's April policy shift: "President Bush stated that Israel would not have to return to its pre-1967 borders [W]ith character and courage, he made a biblically based, moral decision to stand with the nation of Israel. I believe this decision by President George W. Bush was prophetic, and will echo throughout eternity."
This is why American Prophecies, and the hundreds of bestsellers like it, is an important book. Christian Zionists like Evans have ingratiated themselves into every layer of the Republican party apparatus and into civil society in general. One reason why they have had more success pushing the Republicans into supporting the Israeli far-right than they have on issues like school prayer or abortion is that they have a powerful alliance with AIPAC and other American Jewish organizations.
When I pointed out to a Jewish cousin of mine the insanity of this "alliance"in which the Christian Zionists are using Jews in order to help God massacre themhe laughed. "I know, they're a bunch of freaks and weirdoes."
Then he added: "But we're just using them."
I wonder. Who's using whom? The Evangelicals must be saying to each other, "Can you believe these Jewish lunatics? They're actually working with us to bring about their own annihilation! They think what they're getting is increased aid and support for Israel, when really we're just using them to bring Jesus back. Those poor fools"
In fact the entire pro-Israel Jewish-Evangelical alliance comes down to not talking about "It"the Apocalypseor about how they're both using each other and both consider the other equally insane.
So what do they talk about when they get together? In American Prophecies, you get a good taste. Most of it is depressing old hyper-hysteria about anti-Semitism, hatred of Islam, the EU and the UN, and a lot of talk about not forsaking Jews and Israel.
Old-hat stuff, but as a Jew it makes me nervous to hear it from the mouth of someone who believes I shouldand willburn with about 10 million fellow Jews so that he can get a VIP pass to heaven.
AMERICAN PROPHECIES is, by design, an evangelical book. It wants to convert while at the same time preach to the converted. Structurally, the book starts out trying to sound sane while instilling enough fear and urgency to hook the reader in.
The ostensible thesis of the book is that America was prophesied in the Bible, and its biblical role is to support a Greater Israel against its enemies. Evans wants us to know that he's not some nut like "those other" types who say America was prophesied:
[F]or decades, I tended to be skeptical of attempts to come up with schemes to plug America into prophetic interpretations. I have often referred to such teachers as 'Pop Prophecy Peddlers.' But, after thousands of hours of research, I am totally convinced that America is found in prophecy...
There you have it; stare at the Bible long enough and you'll see America everywhere, like one of those psychedelic-pattern illusions you stare at until the hidden image appears.
What, then, is America's role? Evans:
"America has married two brothers, both descendants of ancient Abraham, who was told by God to get out of Ur of the Chaldees (modern-day Iraq)." Leaving aside the obvious America-as-homosexual-marriage-counselor image, his point is this: America is poised between Isaacthe Jews, who are good; and Ishmaelthe Muslims, who are evil. We have nurtured both, and now we stand at a crossroads, with the Rapture near, and we must decide which to support, and which side we'll fall on.
For much of the book's first half, Evans imitates, almost to the point of burlesque, the fashionably aggressive right-wing tone of secular boozers like Ann Coulter: "Israel must root out the terrorist organizations in the territories, and they will have to do it themselves." He titles his chapter on Bill Clinton "Treason" and says that under his presidency, "Arafat received the keys to the White House while Israel was nailed to the cross."
Evans is not only a scholar on the science of prophesy, but also history and diplomacy. He goes so far as to rank the evil of each modern president.
Jimmy Carter is the root of evil, accused by Evans of having intentionally overthrown the Shah of Iran and putting into power the Ayatollah Khomeini. Carter, you see, lacked "moral clarity" and was swayed by the Antichrist. It was this alleged pro-Khomeini putsch initiated by Carter that eventually led to 9/11:
"If America had maintained moral clarity," Evans writes, "Iran might have continued to be a pro-Western country."
Iraq might never have gone to war against Iran The U.S.S.R. might not have invaded Afghanistan, and America would not have armed and trained thousands of terrorists throughout the Middle East to fight the Soviets The truth is, America might never have ended up in this mess if we had maintained our conservative policies of not negotiating with terrorists.
There you have it: the world according to 23 percent of the American population. One is tempted to argue, noting Reagan's famous triple-layer birthday cakes that he regularly sent to the Ayatollah in the hope of melting his hard villainous heartbut arguing with Evans point by point is pointless.
When I lived in Kentucky a few years ago, I was shocked by how many locals wanted to claim me as their pet Jew. I had Bibles shoved into my face at every turn, including a little gold-trimmed number given to me by a guitar player in a Lynyrd Skynyrd-type band. This must have been how Jews in occupied Holland and France felt just before the Allies landed: Suddenly everyone wanted one of their own!
The Bible is a very dull, primitive book, written by primitive desert hicks for a primitive desert-hick audience. It contains only a few interesting moments: Genesis with its eerie Kafka-like atmosphere, the powerful Judges-Samuel-Kings trilogy and the black-comedy filler of Job.
I was most shocked by the New Testament. Even though I'd spent so much time in churches and chapels as a child, I don't ever remember hearing actual passages from that half. That's because the book is insane. For one thing, it is violently anti-Jewso much so that I can't imagine how anyone could read that book, accept it as Truth, and not want to hop on a horse and go trampling through the Upper West Side or Sherman Oaks with a whip and a torch.
After reading it, I pointed out to one of the Bible-pushers in Kentucky something I never knew: that Jesus commands specifically against the sin of divorce. No talks about this today, even though they make a lot of noise about Jesus' opposition to homosexuality. But Jesus is clear on divorce, perhaps more clear on divorce than on any other sin.
When I raised that point, my Evangelical friend replied, "The Bible also says, 'Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's.' You are supposed to follow the laws of the country in this life."
"So if we were born into the Soviet Union, it would be right to persecute Christians and destroy churches?"
"Oh, Mark, you're just using your rhetoric on me."
This is essentially how Evans glosses over one of the most difficult-to-ignore problems in the Jewish-Evangelical relationship; namely, Matthew 27:25, in which the Jews mockingly cry out to the bleeding, condemned Christ, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!" It wasn't just one Jew who shouted that, it was "all the people" according to the Gospels. While few may know about Zechariah's prophesy of the Jewish Holocaust, every Jew has heard about the blood libel, particularly after Mel Gibson's movie.
Here's how Evans casually dismisses it: "I have stood in the courtyard where that happened, and you could fit no more than a hundred people in it Plus, that was an awfully long time ago."
He really says that on page 203. How can you argue with the 23 percent of the population that accepts this logic: that on the one hand you frame your entire world view from a 2000-year-old book written by desert hicks on the fringes of the Roman Empire as Truth, except when you don't like what's writtenthen you dismiss it because it happened so long ago.
INSANITY, COMEDY and total conviction in one's comic insanity are the mud and straw of American Prophecies.
I actually made a list of the funniest moments of this book. Some of the best arise due to the Republicans' alliance with kooks like Evans, whom they have to humor occasionally in order to stay in power. From the Reagan years:
[I]n 1981, I was willing to use what I knew about the Middle East to help President Reagan's staff act with moral clarity... My arguments were mostly pragmatic, but I had so much intelligence that they let me speak. When I inserted a Scripture into my short speech, I was flagged with this question: 'What does God know about foreign policy?'
I replied to the question, 'He is foreign policy!'
That reads like a lie, but I like to believe it really happened, imagining Al Haig and Cap Weinberger grimacing, using all of their human strength to keep from ordering the Secret Service to bonk Evans on the head with the butt of a gun. "You've got to remember, we need these lunatics to stay in powerjust keep cool, Cap, keep cool"
(Scenes like these, imagined over and over a million times, make me glad I'm not a politician, no matter how many millions they get to steal.)
Apparently, Evans was one of those fruitcakes who liked to cash in all of his political vouchers for access, taking his role very seriously, every politician's nightmare:
I remember standing up to Robert McFarland the national security adviser to Ronald Reagan. McFarland had said, 'The status of Jerusalem must be determined by negotiations.'
I said, 'Excuse me; I have the book on Jerusalem. God is not negotiating with you or anyone else.
You know that the Republicans would like nothing more than to just get all the Evangelical support anonymously and from afar, but it's not possible. These people are pushy; the bargain must be fulfilled:
In Madrid, I was the first to challenge then-Secretary of State James Baker over Jerusalem. I asked, 'Why can't America recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital?' Baker was hot at my remarks and said he refused to be entangled in a fruitless debate; the status of Jerusalem should be determined by negotiations.
Imagining Baker, under intense pressure during the peak of negotiations, forced to indulge a patent fool like Evans and then abruptly losing his patiencethat's classic slapstick.
Other funny moments come in Evans' cult-interpretation of the world. For example: "A brilliant and respected scholar whom I have known for decades told me: 'If you look at a satellite image of the city of Jerusalem, you will see the tetragrammaton YHWH. It is clearly visible from the photo. What does the YHWH mean? It is the Hebrew for Yahwehthe (unspoken) name of God!"
Sadly, Evans doesn't name this respected scholar of urban crop circles.
Another proof from Daniel that Rapture is nigh is even funnier: "Daniel's prediction of 'many shall run to and fro' could easily be interpreted as the 'rat race' of modern society; most scholars interpret it as the increase in travel and the speed of travel." I would interpret Daniel's line as foretelling the last crystal meth party I was at.
Then there are the crazy lines that literally leap out and stun you: "Today no one doubts that Russia would attack Israel." Or, "In [Lord Arthur James Balfour's] mind, the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70was one of the greatest wrongs of all time. This made him sympathetic to the Zionist cause, though he seemed to know little of the movement or its people."
Or this rambling mess, one of the strangest sentences in the book: "In September 1993, I sat in the audience as President Bill Clinton held a celebration on the White House lawn for what he called 'a brave gamble for peace,' where he forcedstanding with his thumb in the prime minister's backIsraeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to shake hands with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafatwho had probably just shaken Osama bin Laden's hand in the same way only months beforeover a blank sheet of paper that represented the Declaration of Principles, or Oslo Accords, which led to Israeli concessions to the Palestinian Authority that would be answered only with more H-bombs in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv."
This raving, non-sequiturial thinking is argument-proof, and it guides the reasoning of 23 percent of the American population, who then impose this same "reasoning" upon the world by virtue of their control over America's military, geostrategic and economic might. So Evans, speaking for his constituency, argues that the U.N., the State Department and liberals in general (and particularly Bill Clinton, because he played John Lennon's "Imagine" once in Israel, a song "which could be considered a theme song for moral relativism") are anti-Semitic traitors carrying out the wishes of the antichrist and pushing America into the arms of Ishmael (i.e., Islam).
The Evangelicals don't even necessarily like Americasome believe that America is Babylon itselfand even Evans wants to see the U.S. get nuked, by God if possible, by terrorists if necessary.
THE ELECTORAL WISDOM of Bush's unrepentant foreign policy is clear. The closer he pushes the country into ruin, the more solid his Evangelical base in key electoral states grows. When Democrats accuse the Republicans of preaching fear to the masses, it is as useless as accusing Britney Spears of preaching sexual desire to the youth. Fear is what the American electorate wants. And more still!
The question is: How do you fight these creatures?
Sorry, too late. They've been ignored too longa fatal strategy that has already ceded most of the nationand by extension the worldto their vision. The way secular humanists arrogantly dismissed the rise of the Evangelicals in America was as foolish as the way the cocky white SWAT man from the original Dawn of the Dead stopped taking the zombies seriously, mocking them for their slow movement and stupidityuntil one day one of the zombies bites the SWAT guy's calf off, and he's done.
Mocking them only convinces them of their righteousness. Jesus, after all, was mocked. As for oppressing them, Evangelicals are basically just hygienic Shi'itesoppressing them would be about as effective as dunking a Mogwai into a tub of water.
Truth is, we secular humanists, nihilists and the like no longer have a real claim to America. We're foreigners in a nation of cross-chuckers. We may live in the best partswithin 10 miles of the ocean coasts and a few enclaves in the interiorbut the same could be said for expatriates living in any Third World country. Like expatriates in the Third World, our good lifestyles are purchased at the expense of the credulous natives, who are easy to exploit, a little slow and easily diverted by their crazy superstitions. But in the end we are guests in their country. America is theirs, and we'd better get used to it. o