Christian Fundamentalism, the Global Crusade and Muslims

Yoginder Sikand, the Indian analyst sent me this well written expose on problem that we all confront – of coping with fundamentalism. Now let us make it clear, Sikand is no rabid Mullah; in fact, he is a non-Muslim Indian who espouses simple secularist values. His piece is illuminating inasmuch as it raises the issues that mainstream media dare not…

If Christian fundamentalists are to be believed, America’s invasion of Iraq and the consequent brutal slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians in that country are all part of a grand divine plan that will finally culminate in the ‘second coming’ of Jesus Christ.

Establishing an empire that will extend all over the globe, Christ will rule like a powerful monarch, saving those who believe in him and dispatching non-believers, all non-Christians and non-conformist Christians, to everlasting perdition in hell. This is no childish nonsense for millions of Christian fundamentalists, who sincerely believe this to be predicted in the Bible. Not surprisingly, American Christian fundamentalists are today among the most fanatic supporters of Bush’s global imperialist wars, in Iraq and elsewhere, which they see as in keeping with the divine mandate. They are no eccentric or
lunatic fringe elements, for today Christian fundamentalists exercise a powerful influence in American politics. Among them is George Bush himself, who insists that the American invasion of Iraq has been sanctioned by God, with whom he claims to be in personal
communication.

While the Western press is awash with stories, real and exaggerated, about ‘Islamic fundamentalists’, rarely is mention made about Christian fundamentalists, who, with their vast resources and close links with the current American administration, are a potentially more menacing threat than their Muslim counterparts. According to newspaperreports more than a third of Americans are associated with one or the other Christian fundamentalist outfit, most of which are fiercely anti-communist, anti-Muslim and are passionate advocates of free-market capitalism, global American hegemony and the myth of the civilizing mission of white America. In recent years, these fundamentalist groups have been engaged in aggressive missionary work in other countries as well, including in the so-called ‘Third World’.

Fired by a passionate hatred for other religions, which they dismiss
as ‘false’ and even ‘Satanic’, they are today among the most
well-funded missionary groups in large parts of Asia and Africa.
Crusading for Christ, these fundamentalist groups are not simply out
fishing for souls. Rather, for them Christianity is only part of the
agenda, which also includes aggressively promoting American and
Zionist interests. Today, these groups preach not only Christ but also
Pax Americana and even American-led imperialist wars, which they bless
as holy causes to usher in the final arrival of Jesus.

Texas-based author and preacher Michael Evans is one of the most
notorious American Christian fundamentalist preachers today, a
passionate advocate of war in the name of Christ. In a recently
published book, titled Beyond Iraq: The Next Move-Ancient Prophecy and
Modern-Day Conspiracy Collide (Whitestone Books, Florida, 2003), he
spells out a grand design for American global hegemony, blessed in the
guise of a holy global war. Key players in this ‘divine’ plot include
the CIA, the American government and army, and Israel, besides various
Christian fundamentalist outfits. The book is dedicated, among others,
to what Evans describes as ‘two old friends’, Ehud Olmert, former
Israeli Vice President, and the former Israeli Prime Minister,
Benjamin Netanyahu. Equally revealingly, the book begins with a
quotation which graces the lobby of the original headquarters of the
CIA.

Evans is no petty crank who claims to be God-possessed, although his
writings might seem to suggest that. The jacket of the book describes
him as a ‘TIME magazine best-selling author’, who has appeared on the
BBC and on American television channels and who has written for such
papers as the Wall Street Journal and the Jerusalem Post. He hobnobs
with the highest of American and Israeli politicians and religious
leaders, and is evidently taken very seriously in Christian
fundamentalist circles. That Evans is also a passionate Bush-backer is
amply evident in his clam that, ‘I know, from a first hand, personal
interview with him that Bush is a man of faith who believes in the
Bible’.

Evans is the founder of the ‘Jerusalem Prayer Team’, which, he says,
he established after having been visited by God in a vision. Among
those who participated in the inauguration of his outfit were such
names as Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, all
notorious American Christian fundamentalist leaders, Governor Dick
Perry and Representative Dick Armey, and Benjamin Netanyahu, former
Israeli Prime Minister. Thousands of others in America and elsewhere,
so he claims, have joined his movement in the aftermath of 11
September, 2001. His ultimate aim, he writes, is to have one million
‘intercessors praying daily for the peace of Jesus and God’s
protection for Israel’ so that ‘demonic powers will be defeated by
holy angels in a battle that cannot be seen with the natural eye’.

A fierce Christian Zionist, Evans has close links with the Israeli
establishment. The book’s jacket states that he received the
‘Ambassador Award’ from the government of Israel and relates that he
has been ‘a confidante to most of Israel’s prime ministers and to both
of Jerusalem’s mayors’. The jacket quotes Benjamin Netanyahu as
praising Evans for having ‘consistently demonstrated the moral clarity
that is necessary to defend Israel from the lies and distortions of
its enemies’. This is no empty boast: the book contains pictures of
Evans with Menachem Begin endorsing his first book, ‘Israel: America’s
Key To Survival’, praying with Shimon Peres, comforting Jewish victims
of a bomb blast in Israel, launching the ‘Jerusalem Prayer Team’ along
with Jerusalem’s mayor, pledging support to Israel before Yitzhak
Shamir along with half a million signatures of fellow Christians,
championing Israel’s cause at the royal palace in Madrid and keeping
company with American soldiers in Lebanon and Somalia. *

Christianity, War and the ‘Defence’ of Israel

For Evans, and numerous other rabid Christian fundamentalist preachers
of hate like him, one of the most crucial purposes of America’s
invasion of Iraq is the ‘defence’ of Israel, which he regards as a
solemn Christian duty. If till recently Jews were routinely reviled by
the Church as ‘Christ-killers’, and, accordingly, hounded by Christian
authorities, many of today’s Christian fundamentalists, like Evans,
are passionate advocates of the state of Israel. This does not,
however, represent any shift in their fervent belief, intrinsic to
mainstream Christianity, that non-Christians, Jews included, are
destined for Hell. Rather, it is part of a wider conversion agenda.
Jesus, they believe, will return to the world to rule only once the
Jews have ‘returned’ to Palestine and have rebuilt the temple of David
that was destroyed almost two thousand years ago. After this momentous
event, many Jews will convert to Christianity and those who refuse to
will be sent to hell. Till then, Christian fundamentalists argue, the
Jews and their state must be passionately defended from their
‘enemies’, who are invariably identified as Arabs and Muslims.

The ‘defence’ of Israel, a central point in the Christian
fundamentalist agenda, is typically argued in racist terms. Israel,
Christian fundamentalists believe, are God’s ‘chosen people’, and they
quote the Bible as making this claim, suggesting, therefore, that
non-Jewish peoples are somehow lesser beings. Evans, too, makes this
point and argues that according to the Bible ‘God will bless those who
bless Israel’ and will ‘curse those who curse it’. ‘History records’,
he says, ‘that God deals with nations in accordance with how those
nations deal with Israel’. Hence, in the ‘defence’ of Israel,
Christians, Evans argues, have no choice. If they are true to their
faith, he says, they must join hands with America in its war for
‘defending’ Israel, and must ‘support Israel in every possible way’.
‘We must either choose Mount Zion [Jerusalem] and be among those who
obey the voice of the Spirit of the Lord’, he writes, ‘or we will be
left to the passions of our flesh, drinking the wine of her [Bablyon's
or Iraq's] fornication’.

The invasion of Iraq, and the broader American ‘war on terror’, is,
Evans says, is akin to ‘divine light [.] proclaiming like a trumpet a
spiritual battle of monumental proportions’, pitting Babylon, the
Biblical Iraq, the ‘spiritual centre of darkness’, against Jerusalem
or contemporary Israel, the ‘spiritual centre of light’. But so that
this ‘divine light’ should spread beyond the confines of Babylon,
Evans pleads for America to extend its war all over the globe, to
every country that dares to challenge American supremacy and the state
of Israel. This war, he says, should aim at the elimination of all
‘terrorists’, defined as those who refuse to support Israeli and
American interests. In this, the invasion and occupation of Iraq is of
vital importance, Evans says, because it will ‘become a US base’ to
destroy ‘terrorist’ networks elsewhere in the Middle East and
eventually to usher in what he calls ‘the apocalyptic battle’ of
Armageddon, ‘the final battles of the ages’ as allegedly ‘prophesied
in Daniel, Jeremiah and Revelations’, chapters of the Bible.

America, as Evans sees it, must be ready to sacrifice itself to
protect Israel, because that, he says, is precisely what the Christian
God wants. Hence, Palestinians resisting the illegal occupation of
their land and all those who opposed to Israel and its imperialist and
expansionist policies must be crushed with the might of American arms,
he insists. The Christian God does not brook any peace with such
people, he argues. The Bible, he announces, says that those who fight
against Israel, God’s supposedly chosen people and recipients of His
‘special blessing’, would be destroyed by God Himself. He quotes the
Bible as declaring: ‘And this shall be the plague with which the Lord
will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: 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’.

Given this supposed divine backing, Evans exhorts America to invade
and subjugate all countries opposed to Israel, specifically naming
Lebanon, Syria and Iran. The ultimate agenda, he says, is to destroy
these countries and establish what Zionists call Eretz or Greater
Israel, extending to and including Iraq. This is because, Evans quotes
the Bible as saying, God allegedly gave this vast stretch of land,
from the Nile to the Euphrates, to Abraham and his son Isaac and his
descendants, ancestors of the Jews, as a covenant and as their
‘everlasting possession’. Echoing hardliner Zionists, Evans insists
that there can be no peace with the Palestinians at any cost, because,
he claims, the Christian God is opposed to this. If Israel and America
are to faithfully abide by the Christian God’s will, he says, they
must not let anything get in the way of the establishment of Eretz
Israel. Thus, various peace proposals that involve any territorial
concessions on the part of Israel are ruled out. This is because, as
Evans alleges, God has given the entire territory to the Jews till
eternity.

Christianity and the New Anti-Muslim Crusade

As for the Arabs and Muslims more generally, Evans seems to suggest
that the Christian God desires that they be humiliated, subjugated and
crushed. Thus, he quotes the Bible as saying that while God specially
blessed Isaac and his descendants, the Jews, he had a different plan
in mind for the Arabs, descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s other son.
Referring to Ishmael Evans quotes the Bible as saying, ‘He will be a
wild man; His hand shall be against every man and every man’s hand
against him’. This racist stereotype, so deeply rooted in traditional
Christian discourse about Muslims, is held by Evans to be what he
calls ‘a fitting description of the Arab terrorist’ and, presumably,
as justifying the annihilation of the Arab people, as well as other
Muslims. Evans goes so far in vilifying Arabs and Muslims as to call
Muhammad a proto-terrorist, alleging that he had banished and killed
Jews for not believing in him. ‘Terrorism’, he claims, is a logical
consequence of Islam, and he argues that ‘Muhammad set a sordid
example for his present-day disciples, the Qadafis, Khomeinis, Arafats
and bin Ladens and Husseins of this world’. Claiming knowledge of the
unseen, he even announces that Islam is ‘a malevolent manifestation of
a religion conceived in the pit of hell’.

Evans thus equates Islam with the forces of the ‘Anti-Christ’, against
whom he appeals to Christians to marshal all the resources at their
command. Ironically, while spewing hatred and calling for a global
war, he presents Christianity as peace-loving, contrasting it with
Islam, which he equates with ‘terrorism’. ‘Christianity differs from
Islam as day differs from night’, he claims, completely unmindful of
the sordid and blood-soaked history of the faith he claims to
champion. In the same breath as he issues a general summons to
Christians to wage war in the name of their faith he refers to the
Bible as instructing Christians to ‘turn the other cheek’ when
slapped, in order to argue that, unlike Christianity, Islam is an
inherently vile religion, equating it with what he terms ‘the law of
the bullet, militancy, treachery, terrorism and violence’.

Christianity, America and Oil

Christian fundamentalists are ardent advocates of free-market
capitalism, having played a key role in America’s war against
communism during the Cold War. Christ, capitalism and American
supremacy go together, Evans believes, and so, while announcing that
an American-spearheaded global war is precisely what Christ mandates,
he approvingly quotes Isser Harel, founder of the Israeli secret
services’ organization Mossad, who speaks of the ‘terror’ threat to
America’s ‘freedom’, ‘capitalism’ and ‘power’, and exhorts America to
take appropriate defence measures. Evans goes so far as to advise the
America to capture all the oil wealth in Arab lands in order to
prevent ‘terrorists’ from using oil wealth to target Israel, home to
God’s supposedly ‘special people’. A more ingenuous excuse to justify
American greed could hardly be devised!

Since Muslims, especially the Arabs, are branded virtually as agents
of the Devil, Evans argues that America, as self-appointed agent of
Christ, should have no qualms about invading oil-rich Arab lands. This
would, he says, break America’s dependence on Muslim countries for oil
which. If America seizes all Arab oil-fields, it would, he says,
sharply reduce oil prices, forcing Muslim countries ‘to their knees’,
giving them only two options: ‘cooperate with the war on terror or go
bankrupt’. At the same time as he exhorts America to invade and occupy
all the countries, no matter what the human cost, Evans warns that it
should not be serious about its rhetoric of exporting ‘democracy’ to
the Middle East, for, he argues, it would lead to anti-American and
anti-Israeli Islamists taking over.

Invasion of Iraq and the Ushering in of Global Christendom and Pax-Americana

Evans sees America’s invasion and occupation of Iraq as the unfolding
of a divine plan for the world. It is not nothing less than what he
calls a grand ‘spiritual battle’, between Christianity and Satanic
forces and ‘demons’, as represented by Muslims and other
non-Christians. Accordingly, he fervently welcomes America’s invasion
of Iraq and pleads that America should expand the theatre of war by
invading various other, mostly Muslim, countries.

The murder and destruction that America has wrought in Iraq is nothing
to grieve about, Evans seems to suggest. It is a price, he argues,
that God is supposedly exacting from Muslims for having been ‘coerced’
by Satan to ‘loathe’ the Jews, ‘God’s Chosen People’. It is also a
divine punishment, he says, for Iraq having allegedly possessing
‘deadly chemical, biological or nuclear weapons’, echoing the bogus
claim made by Bush, Blair and their henchmen which they used to
justify their invasion of that country. Weak-hearted Christians who
might disagree are advised to all in line, for, Evans says, this is
precisely what the Bible predicts and what God mandates. ‘I will raise
against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country,
for she has sinned against God’, the Jewish prophet Jeremiah is said
to have announced, and Evans takes this as evidence of his claim that
the American invasion of Iraq is demanded by God and that all America
is doing is to faithfully follow God’s will.

Iraq, the Biblical Babylon, Evans insists, represents the forces of
Satan, and hence deserves to be crushed by America, God’s agent,
through invasion and war. ‘Babylon is fallen, that great city, because
she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her
fornication’, he quotes the Bible as saying. ‘I will rise up against
them [.] I will cut off from Babylon her name and survivors, her
offspring and descendants [.] I will turn her into a place for owls
and into swampland. I will sweep her with the broom of destruction’,
Evans quotes the Biblical God as having declared. He marshals other
Biblical verses to press the argument about Iraq being allegedly
inherently ‘evil’ and hence deserving harsh repression at American
hands. Eve and Adam are said to have committed the ‘first sin’ there;
it was in Iraq that occult and astrology were invented;
Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of Babylon, conquered Israel and enslaved the
Jews; the Babylonians built the Tower of Babel, thereby defying God by
trying to reach heaven without His permission; and the Bible describes
Babylon as the ‘seat’ of the Anti-Christ and the ‘Beast’, the ‘seat of
Satan’s evil’, in contrast to Jerusalem, the ‘seat of God’s
righteousness’, against whom it is destined to be pitted in the final
battle that will usher in Jesus’ ‘second coming’.

In all, then, Evan argues, America is simply acting as the Christian
God’s handmaiden in wreaking destruction and death in Iraq. Instead of
being blamed or castigated for this, he argues, it should be praised.
This destruction is Biblically mandated, he repeats, for the Bible has
announced that, ‘Babylon, the great, has fallen and has become a
dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage
for every unclean and hated bird [.] Therefore, her plague will come
in one day-death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly
burned with fire [.] Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall
be thrown down and shall not be found anymore’.

But this terrible destruction in Iraq is only the beginning of a
bloody trail of events mandated by a supposedly blood-thirsty and
vengeful God. According to Evans’ reading of the Bible, the American
invasion of Iraq is what he calls ‘the dress-rehearsal’ for the grand
global battle of Armageddon between the forces of Christ and Satan.
Prior to this battle, he quotes the Bible as saying, ‘demons and
spirits’ bound up in the Euphrates in Iraq will be released, and, with
an army of 200 million, will kill off a third of the world’s total
inhabitants through nuclear war. This grand battle, Evans writes, is
not far off. Hence, he appeals to Christians to ‘put on the armour of
God’ and ‘engage in spiritual battle’. Now, is the time, he says, to
prepare for the impending return of Christ. Presumably, after Iraq is
destroyed through the agency of the Americans, Christ will suddenly
appear in Jerusalem and establish his global empire, ushering in the
end of the world as we know it.

Horrendous as Evans’ views are, they do find a powerful echo in
Christian fundamentalist circles today, more so given their growing
influence in policy-making circles in the West, particularly in
America. If the world is to be saved from the Armageddon that Evans
and his ilk are bent on calling down from the heavens it is imperative
that Western imperialism and Christian fundamentalism be interrogated,
challenged and opposed, particularly by sincere Christians themselves.






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  • http://sidhusaaheb.blogspot.com Sidhusaaheb

    Somehow, ‘fundamentalist’ appears to be a much misused term, for it is, generally, used to describe those who have got the very fundamentals of religion wrong, be it Islam or Christianiaty or Hinduism or Sikhism or any other.

    It is used for those who have derived a twisted interpretation of the fundamentals of a religion, in order to be able to preach hatred and unnecessary violence, which, as far as I understand, were not among the purposes that the founders of any major religion had in mind for propagating it.

    What should the so-called ‘fundamentalists’ be called then? I’m not very sure, but how about ‘nutcases’? :D

  • Dastagir

    This channel of “hatred” is not new. It comes in different garbs, in different locations, in different languages, and different tones ! I read the whole of this essay ! Why have Laws when you have the Christian God on your side ? So Mr. Bush can go on invading foreign lands (to steal free oil). Yet, out of evil cometh good. I see the end of “capitalism” with America’s fall economically. It may take 20 to 25 years… but it is imminent. 3rd world countries must sit down and think about their interests. How to feed their own people. How to have good governance. How to manage within their means… etc. etc. If communism was bad, capitalism is worst. Bad governance leads to corruption that ushers in a revolution ! That is the lesson of history. As regards USA, countries must start distancing slowly… and go back to the drawing board. America cannot be trusted. Nations must think of their “interests” first… and not subjugate/ mortgage them in favor of American interests. American Friendship brings in nothing.. except jeans, plastic sun-glasses and vulgarity. This must be understood… Sooner the better. As regards Muslim societies., i will not say one word. Iqbal had written 75 years ago : “Musal`man ko Musal`man Kar diya… Toofan-e-Magh`reb Ne”… but the Muslims are in deep slumber…

  • http://naqsh.org/ned/ ned

    Have you read Chris Hedges’ book “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America”? He has a lot to say on this subject.

    It’s good to read your blog again!

  • Pingback: Christian Fundamentalists Believe - Dogpile Web Search

  • Vandana

    The gameplan is not restricted to Muslims alone.Read this to know more about the depth and reach of such chritian groups.
    http://sankrant.sulekha.com/blog/post/2005/12/the-conversion-war-and-religious-freedom.htm