God's foreign policy
By Lee Russ
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 at 03:01 PM
For all those who say, "what's it hurt to bring religious beliefs into the realm of government?"From today's NY Times article titled "For Evangelicals, Supporting Israel Is `God's Foreign Policy'"
As Israeli bombs fell on Lebanon for a second week last July, the Rev. John Hagee of San Antonio arrived in Washington with 3,500 evangelicals for the first annual conference of his newly founded organization, Christians United For Israel.
At a dinner addressed by the Israeli ambassador, a handful of Republican senators and the chairman of the Republican Party, Mr. Hagee read greetings from President Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and dispatched the crowd with a message for their representatives in Congress. Tell them "to let Israel do their job" of destroying the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah, Mr. Hagee said.
He called the conflict "a battle between good and evil" and said support for Israel was "God's foreign policy."
The next day he took the same message to the White House.
Many conservative Christians say they believe that the president's support for Israel fulfills a biblical injunction to protect the Jewish state, which some of them think will play a pivotal role in the second coming. Many on the left, in turn, fear that such theology may influence decisions the administration makes toward Israel and the Middle East.
Administration officials say that the meeting with Mr. Hagee was a courtesy for a political ally and that evangelical theology has no effect on policy making. But the alliance of Israel, its evangelical Christian supporters and President Bush has never been closer or more potent. In the wake of the summer war in southern Lebanon, reports that Hezbollah's sponsor, Iran, may be pushing for nuclear weapons have galvanized conservative Christian support for Israel into a political force that will be hard to ignore.
For one thing, white evangelicals make up about a quarter of the electorate. Whatever strains may be creeping into the Israeli-American alliance over Iraq, the Palestinians and Iran, a large part of the Republican Party's base remains committed to a fiercely pro-Israel agenda that seems likely to have an effect on policy choices.
Mr. Hagee says his message for the White House was, "Every time there has been a fight like this over the last 50 years, the State Department would send someone over in a jet to call for a cease-fire. The terrorists would rest, rearm and retaliate." He added, "Appeasement has never helped the Jewish people."
This time Elliott Abrams, the White House deputy national security adviser who met with him, essentially agreed, Mr. Hagee said.
Leaving the White House offices, "we felt we were on the right track," he said.
Now, in tandem with the Israeli government, many evangelical Christians have focused on a new villain, Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Evangelical broadcasters and commentators have seized on Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments questioning the Holocaust and calling for the abolition of the Israeli state. And many evangelicals now talk of the Iranian leader as a "mortal threat" to Israel.
Some evangelical leaders say they are wary of reports that a panel including former Secretary of State James A. Baker III might recommend negotiating with Iran about the future of Iraq. "It certainly bothers me," said Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and one of the most influential conservative Christians. "That has the same kind of feel to it as the British negotiating with Germany, Italy and Japan in the run up to World War II."
To state what should be obvious: you cannot hope to be successful in foreign policy when your policy is based not on the rights & wrongs and practical limitations of a real situation existing in some real place at some real time, but solely on some very fallible human being's interpretation of Biblical passages.
What harm, indeed.