Can Ethnic Cleansing Bring Back Jesus?

Rick Perlstein of the Village Voice acquired a damning memo (“you’re not supposed to have that”) demonstrating the hold the loony Christian far Right has on Bush Middle East policy. The gem in the article is the account of how Iran-Contra criminal mastermind and current National Security Adviser Elliot Abrams tried to reassure the Christian Zionists that an Israeli “withdrawal” from Gaza will not interfere with Jesus coming back because it wasn’t part of ancient Israel. Actually, this is right. Gaza was in Philistia, not Judah, which was to its east. But for that matter, when the kingdoms split, the West Bank wasn’t in “Israel” either, it was in Judah. So the loony tunes Christians who are trying to kill and dispossess the poor Palestinians to drag Jesus back may as well just give it up. He wasn’t treated well enough by humankind the first time to want to come back, so we’re on our own, and we may as well stop being barbaric to one another in his name.

It has for some time been obvious to me that the Bush foreign policy in the Middle East is driven by irrational and often puzzling considerations. But I hadn’t stopped to consider, until Perlstein’s excellent piece, that the White House is trying to bring about an apocalypse that would hasten Christ’s return. And a damn fine job they’re doing of it, if that’s what they are up to. Why, the place is more apocalyptic every day. The one downside for Bush is that he is beholden not just to the far right Christian loony fringe but also to Wall Street, and the latter can’t actually be very happy with the roller coaster ride his policies are producing for their investments. Unlike poor people, moreover, the moneyed both vote and give to political campaigns.