You might remember godly huckster John Hagee from the 2008 election. He was close to the McCain-Palin maverick juggernaut, and caused them some minor trouble when journalists discovered he held standard evangelical views. You know the sort of thing: God flooded New Orleans for being gay, etc. Oh, and the Holocaust was a necessary part of God’s Plan, because it hastened the creation of the State of Israel, which sets us up for the return of Jesus and the incineration of the world. Hagee’s new book, Can America Survive?, is a helpful guide to those End Times, which he thinks are happening right now because of various Muslims he’s seen on the news. So pour yourself a (final?) G&T, put your ear to the ground, and let’s listen together for the sweet music of clattering apocalyptic hooves.
Actually, no. Hagee’s apocalypse indicators are 9/11, Iran’s tinkering with the Bomb, America’s “insane addiction to political correctness and commitment to socialism,” and the usual Israel-vs.-whoever wackiness. These things will soon bring on the charismatic Antichrist (which could be anyone: Barack Obama, J.K. Rowling, Arianna Huffington, etc.) and then the “Tribulation period.” But not before all Christians disappear during the Rapture, so they can watch the fun from heaven.
As Hagee explains:
The Rapture is the Great Escape! Escape from what? Escape from the Great Tribulation that will happen as soon as the church leaves the earth. Walk with me through the pages of Revelation…and let me describe the living hell you will avoid by being part of the rapture.
Which he then does: a fourth of humankind slaughtered and a third of the earth’s vegetation burned, hallelujah! Elsewhere, Hagee writes:
Satan’s seduction of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, leading to its destruction in the genesis of time, may have provided the oil that seduces the nations of the world to follow Russia and Iran into the Battle of Gog and Magog, and ultimately to Armageddon.
Makes perfect sense. He continues:
Russia must have oil to become a military superpower again … God makes it clear that Russia will be the leader of the Russian-Iranian Islamic coalition.
Now this is interesting. Russia is known to fight the occasional colonial war against Muslims, and doesn’t seem especially Islamic, but if the Prophet Hageezekiel says so…we’re not too surprised that Iran will form a grand alliance with the Sunni states, and probably with hippie Rumi-readers and Manhattanite mosque-builders as well. All the Muslins are alike, after all.
According to Hagee, the Russian-Islamic army of whirling dervishes and dancing bears will descend on Israel, specifically the hill of Megeddo or whatever, and just cold nuke the place, killing millions. But don’t worry: Christ and the Americans arrive to save the day, and the Arab-Turkish-Persian-Indonesian-Russian-Chinese-North African infidels die in a divine massacre where “blood will flow to the height of a horse’s bridle for two hundred miles.” Then the Jews who are still alive will finally stop being so stubborn and recognize Jesus as their Lord, which will begin a thousand-year block party, blessedly sans salacious dancing.
This is all very fascinating in a mind-melting sort of way. But all of these Apocalypse Soon think-pieces are centered on a nagging fundamental contradiction: everything is predestined in Biblical prophecies, BUT these books present themselves as warnings so that we don’t bring about the inevitable apocalypse, which will be glorious anyway, so uh, what’s the point again? So confusing.
But maybe this is a minor objection. After all, Hagee has a huge following of sad hopeless dunces who believe his every word. He also has more influential admirers, like Benjamin Netanyahu (the prime minister of Israel, in case anyone forgot) and Sarah Palin, who will probably run for President in 2012.
Can America Survive? 10 Prophetic Signs That We Are The Terminal Generation by John Hagee, Howard Books, 288 pages, $15.63
SPEAKING OF THE APOCALYPSE, hasten it by e-mailing book review suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Operatives whose suggestions are reviewed will receive pre-emptive Purple Hearts for their service in the Battle of Gog and Magog.