Evidently, America’s evangelical Christians think so. What’s more, one of their deacons induced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to say as much, according to CNN:
In an interview in Jerusalem, the Christian Broadcast Network’s Chris Mitchell asked Pompeo, ‘Could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?’ Esther is the main heroine of the Jewish holiday of Purim, which was celebrated this week. ‘As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,’ Pompeo said.
It’s a lie
As a Christian, I believe that’s BS. But I fully appreciate why it makes sense to evangelical Christians who also believe Trump was “chosen by God” to “Make America Great Again.” All of these hosannas to Trump would be laughable if so many Christians were not gullible enough to believe them.
To be fair, Trump seems to cast a cult-like spell over nearly everyone who works for him. Only this explains an erstwhile intelligent man like Pompeo joining this delusional evangelical chorus.
This secretary of state seems as oblivious as those evangelicals to the geopolitical contradiction and danger inherent in America recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel.
Far from enhancing Israel’s security and regional stability, Trump is not only upending decades of stability between Israel and Syria; he is also undermining what little remains of America’s role as an honest broker (and guarantor of peace) in the Middle East.
Putin intimidates Trump
In this vein, America is now having to compete with Russia for the kind of sphere of influence throughout the region that defined the Cold War. Nothing indicates how much Trump has weakened America’s status as the world’s only superpower quite like Russian President Vladimir Putin daring to do this right in its backyard, according to the BBC:
Two Russian military planes landed in Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday, reportedly carrying dozens of troops and large amounts of equipment. …It comes three months after the two nations held joint military exercises. …Russia has also vocally opposed moves from the US to impose sanctions on the government of Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.
Arguably, this is Trump’s version of the Cuban missile crisis. But instead of standing up to Putin the way President John F. Kennedy stood up to the USSR’s Nikita Khrushchev, Trump is appeasing Putin the way British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain infamously appeased Adolf Hitler.
Just imagine the outrage among chicken-hawk Republicans if Putin had done this during Obama’s presidency. I digress …
Doesn’t know or care
The Middle East has a bonafide reputation for being a hornet’s nest. But Trump has shown time and again that he either has no clue or couldn’t care less about the consequences of his actions.
Only this explains why he seemed unbothered about setting the region abuzz when he “formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing nearly seven decades of American foreign policy and setting in motion a plan to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to the fiercely contested Holy City,” as published in The New York Times on December 6, 2017
Much has been made of the way Putin interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Trump win. But with his tweet on the Golan Heights, Trump has interfered far more brazenly in the upcoming Israeli prime-ministerial election to help Netanyahu win. It’s an indication of how Trump continually normalizes abnormal presidential behavior that nobody over here or there seems to care.
Still, the real shame in this case is the way ostensibly proud Israeli Jews continually invite American crusaders to make a mockery of their faith and “Promised Land” with evangelical presumptions.
Israel is clearly willing and able to protect itself. Not only is it the most powerful nation in the Middle East but, despite existential threats from its Muslim neighbors, it is the only one with the nuclear arsenal to wipe any other country off the map.
This is why I have wondered for years why Israelis subjugate themselves to this Christian condescension, as the following attests in a column I wrote on May 4, 2015:
I’ll spare you my sermon on the ‘biblical’ alliance between these two polarizing religious sects. Suffice it to consider the condescension/ bigotry inherent in these Christians deeming it an article of their faith – not only to protect Jews (whom they hail as ‘God’s chosen people’), but also to convert them to Christianity to ensure they make it into Heaven.
Never mind the contradiction inherent in God needing self-professed evangelicals to convert his chosen people for his rapture.
My daddy was himself an evangelical deacon. Therefore, I know all too well the religious presumptions Christian jihadists like those at the Christian Broadcast Network are proselytizing.
They’ve been traducing the political alliance between the United States and Israel with their eschatological fantasies ever since the latter’s founding in 1948. But this is the first time they have a president of the United States who couldn’t care less.
Trump has shown time and again that all he cares about is doing whatever will get people to sing his praises and fund his family businesses. This preternatural narcissism and self-interest explain his willingness to:
- coddle a Saudi Crown prince who butchered an American resident to death;
- declare his love for a North Korean dictator who tortured an American student to death;
- curry favor with a Zionist Israeli prime minister who marginalized not just Palestinians but non-Jewish citizens of Israel as well; and
- strike common cause with a Russian dictator who seems hell-bent on destroying not only the democratic institutions that made America
great,but also the Western alliances that gave the world an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity.
In short, Trump is recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel because evangelical Christians hail him as a latter-day Queen Esther and the Israeli prime minister hails him as a latter-day King Cyrus. Accordingly, the Mideast peace process, as well as America’s geopolitical interests, be damned.
Evangelicals should beware
Evangelicals betraying their Christian values to support Trump should beware that their kids might end up disrespecting and resenting them. They need only look at the parents who were ensnared in “Operation Varsity Blues, the sensational cheating scandal that has tainted many of America’s elite universities. Their kids not only resent and disrespect them now, but are taking to social media to let the world know just how much.
This is how one should expect kids to feel about parents who so willfully betray core values that once made them seem so respectable as to be perfect.
Anthony L. Hall is a native of The Bahamas with an international law practice in Washington, D.C. Read his columns and daily weblog at www.theipinionsjournal.com. Click on this commentary at www.flcourier.com to write your own response.