Thursday, July 08, 2004

Zunes on Zionisms

Here is a good article by Stephen Zunes on the stranglehold the Christian Zionists have over the White House, and the pernicious effect this has had on American policy towards the Middle East. Zunes writes:

". . . it is important to recognize that the rise of the religious right as a political force in the United States is a relatively recent phenomenon that emerged as part of a calculated strategy by leading right-wingers in the Republican Party who - while not fundamentalist Christians themselves - recognized the need to enlist the support of this key segment of the US population in order to achieve political power."

This has been a spectacular success for both the Republicans, whose policies should make them a very marginal political party, and the Likudniks, who literally can't believe how compliant the American government is to their wildest outrages. How can this problem for the United States and the world be fixed? Zunes concludes:

"Those who support justice for the Palestinians - or even simply the enforcement of basic international humanitarian law - must go beyond raising awareness of the issue to directly confronting those whose acquiescence facilitates current repressive attitudes. It will not be possible to counter the influence of the Christian Right in shaping US policies in the Middle East as long as otherwise socially conscious Christian legislators and other progressive-minded elected officials are beholden to fundamentalist voting pressures. It is unlikely that these Democrats and moderate Republicans will change, however, until liberal-to-mainline churches mobilize their resources toward demanding justice as strongly as right-wing fundamentalists have mobilized their resources in support of repression."

Are the moderate Christian churches of the United States - the churches whose fundraising isn't a sleazy business based on apocalyptic visions of the rapture, and the churches which comprise the vast majority of American religious believers - willing to take the righteous steps required to counter the millenarian evil of the Christian Zionists which is causing so much destruction in the world? Who is speaking moderation from the pulpit? The Catholic Church, which is in dire need to find something useful to do to counter its other problems, should be all over this, as there is no question that the Pope himself deplores American policy in the Middle East. And where are the moderate Protestant churches? Is it the right thing for religious people to sit idly by while other religious nuts cause immense harm and suffering in the name of God?