Friday, November 30, 2007

Bill Moyers examines Christians United for Israel


Today, Friday, Nov. 30, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS examined the Annapolis peace talks. The major focus of the program was Christians United for Israel under evangelical Pastor John Hagee. The was a lot of rhetoric to the effect that Israel is the only nation explicitly created by God or Jehovah (other countries were created by monarchs or wars) and that the Palestinians never had any right to the land that was taken, because God had given it to the Israelites (hence, in their frame of reference, no legitimate "property rights" were violated). Their extremist rhetoric also refuses to allow negotiation with the Palestinians or any of Islam, and they talked a lot about Islam as the enemy. One pastor said that the scourge caused by Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for allowing any damage to his chosen nation of Israel.

The second part of the show interviewed Evangelicals for Social Action President Ronald J. Snider, and Israel Policy Forum director M J Rosenberg.

There is, it seems, in the extremist rhetoric, "a desire to be right." (The same is true within radical Islam.) If one is "right" according to the Scriptures, then it does not matter who is injured by the process. Religious extremism often creates a psychology where the individual perceives himself, his family, sexuality (usually in monogamous marriage) and faith as a continuous entity that cannot exist if any piece of it is seriously challenged by others. Within the confines of that life, there can sometimes be a lot of caring (for each other in the family and faith) and good, but sometimes there is a refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the outside world.

Individualism, when coupled with the idea of karma, can become very much like a religion -- certainly an ideology and belief system that is capable of its own self-righteousness, to the extent that individually many people can be left out, im any family. All very interesting.

Bill Moyers Journal is here.

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