Tuesday, May 15, 2018


As you probably know by now, a large number of American evangelicals are delighted with the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem because they believe that the relocation of the embassy will hasten the arrival of the end of the world. Vox's Tara Isabella Burton explains:
For many evangelical Christians — including those who have Trump’s ear — moving the embassy to Jerusalem isn’t just about temporal political goals. Rather, the embassy move is one that will yield cosmic, and catastrophic, results. Evangelicals who subscribe to the quintessentially American tradition of premillennial dispensationalist theology, Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem is a necessary step in bringing about the apocalypse.

... books like Hal Lindsey’s 1970 work The Late, Great Planet Earth (as well as the wildly popular Left Behind series of Christian apocalyptic action novels) popularized a general vision of the end times many evangelicals today share. By and large, these visions ... share a common shape. Jesus’s return will immediately follow the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and the restoration of Israel as an exclusively Jewish state.

... Apocalypse is to be hoped for because it presages Christ’s return.

... For many evangelicals, only a fully Jewish Jerusalem will satisfy the prophetic preconditions necessary for the desired end times.
What happens to non-Christians in the End Times? Pastor Robert Jeffress, a Trump favorite who was invited to speak at the opening of the embassy, has made that clear:
He's said that "religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism ... lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell." He's called Islam an "evil, evil, religion," referred to Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as "false religions," and said Catholicism is a "counterfeit religion" that rose from a "cult-like, pagan religion." Jeffress said of Judaism: "Judaism, you can't be saved being a Jew, you know who said that by the way, the three greatest Jews in the New Testament, Peter, Paul, and Jesus Christ, they all said Judaism won't do it, it's faith in Jesus Christ."
So the hoped-for End Times will be awesome for Christians of this particular stripe and will presumably be terrible for everyone else.

This is a contemporary right-wing politics in a nutshell.

How do right-wingers decide which policies to support? It's simple: They support whatever infuriates or actively harms their political enemies -- and they don't care what happens to society as a whole. They support President Trump's saber-rattling in the Middle East because it enrages their domestic enemies and inflames the region -- but they assume no harm will personally come to themselves as a result of the policies. They like loose gun laws that result in increased American bloodshed, because they know they won't die in the high-crime cities they never visit, and they assume their kids will never die in a school shooting or a gun suicide. They like voter ID laws because they can easily obtain birth certificates and driver's licenses, so who cares what the laws do to democracy in America? They're fine with police brutality against non-whites because they're white and so they don't have to worry about it. They want Obamacare repealed because most of them have employer-paid insurance or Medicare, and who cares what happens to America when other people can't afford to stay well?

Pre-millennial dispensationism is the ultimate right-wing religious belief: Let's do what we can to make the end of the world arrive sooner, even though other people will go to hell, because we won't. We don't care about the majority of our fellow humans -- all we care about is ourselves and our tribe. We'll happily make things catastrophic for everyone else if it means we can get what we want.

That's really the definition of modern conservatism.

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