The Theology of Empire
By Geoffrey Cook, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
Berkeley–Some time ago I heard an enlightening sermon by a priest at the local Episcopal Seminary. Basically, his words shed light on the errors of the Christian Fundamentalists, who make up about 20% of the American â€œChristianâ€ population, and, unfortunately, they vote regularly to the Far Right (i.e., anti-Muslim). Besides their misinterpretation of the Prophet Issaâ€™s comment on the necessity to be â€œBorn Againâ€ to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Gospel of Saint John), they base their argument on Revelations, the biblical chapter which describes the apocalyptic ending of the world.
The misunderstandings of these apostates have caused much suffering for Muslims and Palestinians in particular. Besides the learned priest above, I would like to base my thesis to you on the comments of Don Wagner, who is the leading expert on this Movement, and the response of Rrosemary Radford Reuther at the Sabeel Conference here in Northern California last weekend â€“ both academics from the Chicago area who are expert on the Middle East.
The Priest/Professor from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in the city of Berkeley argued that the Fundamentalists believe that the reemergence of the State of Israel is a sign of the Second Coming of Christ. The Second Coming is a basic doctrine within all Christianity, but has nothing to do with a new Israel â€“ besides the ability to read DNA patterns has presented confusion over the ancestry of the Ashkenazim a.k.a, Ashkenazi), the European Jews who founded their modern Levant State. As the Wikipedia Encyclopedia puts it:
â€œBoth the extent and location of the maternal ancestral deme from which the Ashkenazi Jewry arose remain obscure. Here, using complete sequences of the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), we show that close to one-half of Ashkenazi Jews, estimated at 8,000,000 people, can be traced back to only four women carrying distinct mtDNAs that are virtually absent in other populations, with the important exception of low frequencies among non-Ashkenazi Jews. We conclude that four founding mtDNAs, likely of Near Eastern ancestry, underwent major expansion(s) in Europe within the past millennium:
Note this quotes shows that the ethnic group that dominated the founding of contemporary Tel Aviv arose in the proto-historic-Near East â€“ not the Middle East which demonstrates that the Palestines are the probable ancient mothers of the land.
Zionism has to be seen within the purview of contemporary Empire, and the centrality of the Jewish State is the material manifestation of the right to Empire by the Imperial powers â€“ especially the United States where Zionism has willingly become its lackey. The States are a hegemony, and Israel is a big part of Washingtonâ€™s â€œsuccess.â€
Theologically, a Zionist (Christian or Jewish) makes literal scriptural interpretations that split the world between good and evil. (Much of it comes out of a fanatic version of ancient Jewish tribal history that is attached to the land they violently snatched from the primordial residents after their [mythic?] Exodus from Egypt.) Since the Jews themselves were driven off their nation during the Babylonian Exile — and later during the late Roman period, there has been a Romantic longing for a return to that land — especially Jerusalem. This symbolism has resonated powerfully within the Orthodox and Nationalistoc Jews and Fundamentalist Christians (who are fullly conspirators). After the Roman purge of the Jews from the Holy Land in the late Roman period, some were able to remain, and curiously, their DNA is closer to their contemporary contesting Palestinians.
Unfortunately, this Zionism has slowly but steadily been seeping into fringe elements of American Christianity demonizing the rationality of the mainstream Churches â€“ several of which are in active dialogue with Islam.
In the U.S. the theological doctrine of Rapture (which came from England, and is the basis of Christian Zionism) snuck into the U.S. religious vocabulary about a hundred years ago. The infamous Neo-Conservatives (Neo-Cons) are mainly Jewish Zionists trained at the University of Chicago, but their non-Jewish fellow travellers are often Cristian Zionists. The Christian Zionists become mighty tools for the pro-Israeli Lobby (AIPAC). The Arms Industry is very sympathetic to their cause, too, for they help promote their business interests. The Military are, further, linked to their ideology.
Christian Zionism cooperates closely with (the) Likud (Party). Further, most of American Christian Zionism advocates War on Iran! They also support the expansion of Settlements on the West Bank. They emphatically do not hold onto a two State solution. They believe Israel must fully occupy Palestine eternally. Ramallah must be wiped off the map as the ancient States that the Judaic clans overran in the First Millenium B.C. Empire must have a global reach! The ideology of Empire is based on perpetual War! This will lead to a loss of our democracies and bankruptcy of the (Metropole; i.e, the Imperial Homeland) itself!
The American non-Jewish Zionists are mainly Evangelicals, but, although they claim they are the entire Evangelical branch of the Protestant Church, they only represent a small minority of those â€“ 20%. Yet they use the State of Israel as sort of a theology. Their average age is thirty-nine. Disturbingly, they are â€œmole-ingâ€ their ideology into the mainline Churches. Now, the movement is emmigrating throughout the world alienating the indigenous within those nations, for â€œThey feel they have to â€˜rescueâ€™ those there â€“ both Christian and non-Christian [including Muslims].â€ This leads to the destructions of societies and religious structures. These missionaries believe this will lead to a Christian society abroad, and destroy native traditions.
Although he was an anti-Semite, Lord Balfour (the author of the agreement that permitted the Jews to make a State out of Palestinian territory) was an Imperialist Zionist himself. Former President Jimmy Carter, who probably has done more out than in office, has clearly stated that â€œThe Palestinians have a right to a homeland!â€ This has turned the down-home Chiristian (Zionists) against him. Surprisingly, the amoral Ronald Reagan believed in the Rapture and Armageddon. Christian Fundamentalists hold to what is described very dramatically in Revelations will happen in the future wheras learned mainline Western religious theologians maintain what is described and prophesied in the book concerns the then contemporary Roman persecutions of the Second Century. In it, a massive final battle (between good and evil?) unfolds. This battle and the horrid yet poetic end is known as Armageddon, in which two thirds of the population of the earth are expected to perish. After this, according to Christian teachings, Jesus (as) will appear again, and Godâ€™s Kingdom on Earth will be established. Christians want to support Israel only in order to expedite these events. Politically, in the United States, the Christian Right is eating away at our First Amendment rights. The American Rightist Movement is definitely Islamaphobic and even anti-Semitic.
The respondent Rosemary Reuther stated that the treatment of the Palestinians is criminal. The spectre of the Holocaust makes it hard for the West to critize Israel, but we cannot repent of former generations anti-Semiticism. Therefore, we have been hijacked to not â€œCritize the State of Israel.â€ Thus, we are sacrificing Palestine for the sins of our â€œfathers.â€ Therefore, we have legitimized those Walls of Silence (a lyric reference to Tel Avivâ€™ towering fences through Ramallahâ€™s land). We assume that Zionism and Judaism are one and the same: Not to accept this is to accept the Holocaust! The truth is there is a disconnection between Zionism and Judaism. (Most Jews do not endorse the policies of their religionâ€™s State!) Regarding the relation between the Palestine crisis and the Holocaust, â€œYou shouldnâ€™t pay for one crime with another!â€