Occassional AmSpec contributor Sean Higgins emails:
I’ve heard the basic argument that Christian evangelicals who support Israel do so because of some sort of apocalyptic “End Times” belief too many times to count – and always from liberals like Wonkette’s Layne who dislike Israel or evangelicals or both. Never have I actually heard this We-Must-Support-Israel-Because-The-Rapture-Is-Coming stuff from evangelicals themselves … and I come from a family of them.
I’m not saying there aren’t some evangelicals out there talking this way, but I think this is a case of the fringe types getting the most media exposure. I’m not aware of any poll suggesting that most evangelicals accept this “The End Times Will Happen in Jerusalem Next Tuesday” stuff.
In my experience, the evangelicals who support Israel do so for more secular-leaning reasons. They think Middle Eastern Muslims are mostly crazy jihadists who want to destroy Israel (Imagine that) and therefore sympathize with Israel. I think that when some Imam calls for blasting Israel off the map and putting the world under Sharia law, evangelicals take it more seriously that some other folks because they understand very well how faith can move people to action. 9/11 only reinforced this thinking.
I guess for a lot of Liberals the idea of right-wingers, especially the Christian Right, defending Israel is just a bit too baffling to fully grasp. After all the Christian Right are supposed to be intolerant bigots and closet anti-semites. The rapture stuff squares this circle. Evangelicals are still bigots, it’s just that their insanity exceeds their bigotry.
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