Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Gospel According To Matt

More from The Great Derangement, written by the man who is rapidly becoming my new hero, Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi (h/t to TBogg at firedoglake for the quote and the link), talking about St. McBBQ's BFF John Hagee (who, just in case no one is paying attention, has received pretty much zero attention in the corporate media versus the interminable days and nights that they have recently spent parsing every single goddamn sentence Jeremiah Wright has ever uttered in his entire life and those of a few others). Hagee:

"This is the Pale Horse," he warned. "He is the color of rotting flesh. He will be given the power to destroy twenty-five percent of the population. This is going to happen during the Tribulation. You do not want to be there."

From here Hagee went into a long spiel about the difference between the Christ of the Gospels and the Christ of Revelation. This is an important point for people who are not fundamentalist Christians and want to undertsand them. The Gospels Christ is basically a long-haired, touchy-feely hippie who goes around being nice to people... The Christ of Revelations is built like the Rock and roams the universe braining sinners with lead pipes. Fundamentalists clearly prefer the Revelation Christ. Hagee explained:

"In Matthew he is the lamb being led to the slaughter. In Revelation he is the LION OF JUDAH! He is going to rule with a rod of iron!"

And when that rod-bearing Christ comes back, us unbelievers had better fucking duck:

"How is Jesus going to crush secular humanism and liberalism and anti-Semitism and atheism?" Hagee asked. "He is not going to ask the Supreme Court to put the Ten Commandments up in our courthouses. He is going to tell them, and they will bow down to him like children."

The crowd roared.

"And those judges who let men get married - he is going to cast them into the pit of Hell to be roasted for all of eternity like they deserve!"

I raised my hands in a full Freeze-Motherfucker. Go Jesus! Waste those judges.

But just when it seemed that Hagee had his crowd right where he wanted them, he switched gears and began talking about Iran and Israel. Hagee is a subtle operator. Whenever he mentions the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmandinejad, it is always not moments after a long tirade about Satan. He will give hints about the Antichrist's identity - he is not an American, says Hagee, but he is a smooth talker.

"He will come preaching peace," said Hagee, "and he will sign treaties that he has no intention of keeping."

"Like Muslims!" someone behind me whispered.

And just as the crowd was ruminating over the possible identity of the Antichrist, Hagee switched gears and dropped a bombshell on the crowd. "Iran's president is planning a nuclear holocaust, and how our empty-headed leaders in Washington don't see that, I don't know!" he grumbled.

From there he went on for a while about Israel and Iran. I felt the energy leaving the hall. The people in this church come to services for help in dealing with their own problems, which of course are legion. They are there to find a reason for living amid the financial struggle, the constant battles with sin and despair, or romantic disappointments, loneliness, abuse, addiction. They could give a shit about Israel and they could give a shit about Iran. And so, while Hagee worked himself up into a frenzy about Iran, the crowd only cheered politely. This was even true at the climax.

"And now comes a new Hitler," roared the pastor, "and his name is Ahmandinejad. Iran MUST BE STOPPED!!!"

Polite clapping from the crowd.

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