Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 27, 2008
By: Cheryl Rofer

LIEBERMAN HEARTS HAGEE....Joe Lieberman is scheduled to address Pastor John Hagee's national summit on, I guess, Armageddon in July.

If you want to petition Joe not to go, you can sign up here.

I have to confess that I find the whole thing bizarre, from Hagee's crowd's making pets of Jews in preparation for the Rapture, to the willingness of Jews to take that status. Throw in the recently uncovered remarks from Hagee about Hitler doing God's will, and you've got quite a mixture.

Cheryl Rofer 2:26 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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As was noted at the Volokh Conspiracy, many Orthodox Jews share Hagee's interpretation of the Holocaust: it was God's plan to bring about the founding of Israel. I can't say exactly what Lieberman believes, of course.

What does seem a little much to me is complaining about Hagee's theology (or theodicy) by people who don't believe in God at all, and consider Judaism to be nothing more than a 5000 year mistake.

Posted by: y81 on May 27, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure this has been discussed a million times, but it sure would be nice if the good people of CT could dump this duplicitous wretch from their congressional delegation.

Posted by: Trypticon on May 27, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Don't sign that petition. Let Leiberman go and speak for Hagee. Paint him as the bigot he is and let the chips fall where they may.

Posted by: Gustof on May 27, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Don't sign that petition. Let Leiberman go and speak for Hagee. Paint him as the bigot he is and let the chips fall where they may.

Posted by: Gustof on May 27, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

y81,

Are you saying that because I don't personally believe in God I can't criticize the lunacy to which some peoples' theology leads them? Because if that's what you're saying, you're mistaken.

To put it another way; I might believe that Judaism as a religion is not a true belief, but I will fight for anyone's right to practice their religion with the same energy with which I'll fight for my own right to publicly disagree with them.

Posted by: thersites on May 27, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking from a theological point of view, everything that happens is God's fault.

Posted by: Jimmy on May 27, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Someone who is fattening you up to eat you is not your friend.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf on May 27, 2008 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Petition him not to go?

No, no. By all means, Joe, go to Mr. Hagee's little bonfire. Please. That will provide just a bit more evidence that those who opposed you weren't acting from an attack of Kos-itis.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on May 27, 2008 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Can't blame George and Dick on GOD. WE borned them, WE raised them, WE hired them to do what ever it is they do, and WE must LOVE them as WE won't IMPEACH them. (and WE give them the BEST of everything, care, life, position, power, and yes, even roomservice)(1-202-225-0100--DEMAND IMPEACHMENT)

Posted by: Mike Meyer on May 27, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Lieberman is nothing but a serial shark jumper. Tune in to next week's episode, when the wacky Senator, in an interview with Ha'aretz, reveals his plans to run for Prime Minister of Israel -- because, you know, Olmert has gone all soft on terra. Quoth the Senator: "We can't afford to wait for the cloud of smoke that could appear in the form of a mushroom gun."

Posted by: junebug on May 27, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

What does seem a little much to me is complaining about Hagee's theology (or theodicy) by people who don't believe in God at all, and consider Judaism to be nothing more than a 5000 year mistake.

I am not sure why this seems "a little much" to you. I can only speak for myself of course, but to the extent that I care about Hagee at all, which is not much, my concern is not whether or not his interpretation of scripture is correct. It is whether the politicians who seek his endorsement are willing to stand by the world view that follows from his interpretation of scripture.

What I see in the criticism of Hagee, to the extent that it is really directed towards him at all, is not some theological discussion over the proper understanding of "God's" interaction with the world. It is a pointed question to McCain and Lieberman about whether they are willing to accept the implications of such a world view in the context of their own political orientation toward key world issues like Israel. That seems to me to be a perfectly legitimate question regardless of one's religious beliefs or lack thereof.

As for the petition, I agree with Gustof. Why on Earth should anybody sign a petition to stop Joe Lieberman from telling us what he really thinks?

Posted by: brent on May 27, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Really junebug, did he say "a mushroom gun"?

I never knew that we had to shoot mushrooms before harvesting them. I never thought mushrooms dangerous. I guess the ones I get in the grocery stores have already been defanged and declawed.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 27, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Keep the mushroom gun away from the neighbors.

Posted by: thersites on May 27, 2008 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

It is a free country. Joe can talk to any group of hateful religious bigots he wants. Since he was just reelected there is little for him to worry about.

I just don't want either Joe or Hagee to blow anything up to hasten the end of the world.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 27, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Why on earth would any liberal/dem want to sign a petition stopping Lieberman from speaking? Let him. It's where he's comfortable at.

Posted by: RS on May 27, 2008 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Al is strangely silent. But Y81 has given me my quota of lunacy for today.

Posted by: John Emerson on May 27, 2008 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

It is kind of silly for Joe Lieberman to embrace a wacko who thinks Hitler was an avenging hunter sent by God to push Jews out of Europe and back to Israel. Joe seems to be on a downward slop to his own personal hell. I wonder if he sees the faces of any of Hitler's "prey" when he dreams.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 27, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that it's really strange how cynical some Jews are on this -- who cares why Christian Zionists support Israel unconditionally as long as they support Israel unconditionally. It reminds me of Marcus Garvey's meeting with the grand wizard of the KKK; after all, both men's groups wanted to get black people to leave America. From Hagee's perspective, Israel is of ultimate importance as the site of Christianity's future triumph over all the world's false religions, including Judaism. Those Jews who realize this and choose to become Christians will be saved (precisely 144,000 of them if you read Revelations literally); those who want to remain, well, Jews, will have to suffer eternal damnation while Christians inherit the "true" kingdom of Israel in heaven. Maybe we should ask Joe where he thinks he'll be when Hagee's vision for Israel comes to pass, or if he's just cynically allowing himself to be appropriated by a Christianist bigot because he thinks its worth selling out the integrity of his faith for the short-term interests of the Likud party.

Posted by: jonas on May 27, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Why wouldn't we want him to go? Now, a petition to make sure he doesn't ever come back, that's worth signing.

Posted by: polo on May 27, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I suspect Hagee is every bit as horrible as our reports make him. Still, I want to say that it is possible that Hitler was doing God's will. Don't take that the wrong way -- it is not an endorsement of Hitler, but the idea that history, for all its horrors, uses people to achieve God's (very mysterious) ends.

I know, it don't make sense unless you believe in a divine personality. But it is a mainstream thought that Caesar Octavius, whom the Bible does not at all like, is credited with "doing God's will" -- it was his census decree that placed Jesus' family in Bethlehem at the time of his birth, where they HAD to be.

And why is it unthinkable that God's chosen people might be chosen to suffer greatly? Jesus was God's son, according to the story -- and he sure didn't get a free ride.

I know it is an unpleasant thought -- but might the Holocaust have been a hellish fulfillment of God's plan -- just as Israel is it aftermath? I'm just saying.

Posted by: Mike Finley on May 27, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Mike Finley,
If everything that happens is God's will, why have Jews been so vigorously persecuted for the Crucifixion of Jesus (by Roman soldiers)? Wasn't that part of God's plan, too?

Just asking.

Posted by: thersites on May 27, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Mike Finley wrote: I know it is an unpleasant thought -- but might the Holocaust have been a hellish fulfillment of God's plan -- just as Israel is it aftermath? I'm just saying.

I guess the question this raises is why anybody would want to believe in or honor a God that operated this way. It's as though we gave a father of the year award to a guy who threw gasoline on his young son, set him on fire, but the kid survived and went on to use his pain and suffering to become a successful author and poet. The trauma certainly played a key role in shaping that person's experiences and talents, but it would be just morally disgusting to praise the father for having had the foresight to mutilate his child to those ends. Again, WTF?

Posted by: jonas on May 27, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Lieberman just wants to play with the feathery toy that they put on a stick and wave about his head like a birdy. See how his eyes light up, see how he swats at it. Yes, Joe, yes, that's the way!

Even in his golden years, he's just like a kitten.

A bile-drooling, snake-eyed little kitten from the bowels of hell that you'd like to kick in the head.

Posted by: Anon on May 27, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

jonas,

The Lord works in mysterious ways. Just like when he created the world 5000 years ago, and threw in a billions-of-years-old fossil record just to test our faith.

Posted by: thersites on May 27, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

These are all good questions, and I don't have satisfactory answers. My problem is that I experience all these coincidences in my life -- and I don't believe in Jung. It's a little like alien abduction -- they just leave you in the field and you know you'll be a laughingstock from that point on. ::sigh::

Posted by: Mike Finley on May 27, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

thersites,
indeed, although people have a pretty odd notion of what the word "mysterious" means in this context.

Posted by: jonas on May 27, 2008 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Hagee claims it's not like he's spent the last thirty years praying for another holocaust. Yet as a literal believer of the book of Revelations who cannot wait to see the second coming, that is exactly what he has been praying for.

Posted by: fafner1 on May 27, 2008 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Joe Lieberman doesn't agree with Hagee's views regarding the Holocaust. Maybe he is the keynote speaker at the upcoming CUFI Summit (and also has regular quarterly conference calls with Mr. Hagee) because he shares the belief that the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for a planned Gay Pride Parade.

Posted by: Eric on May 27, 2008 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Finley & Jonas -

The problem with the "mysterious ways" argument is that it:
a) reduces good & evil to complete meaninglessness (no act can be considered good or bad, because we can't know the "ultimate outcome")
OR
b) limits God's omnipotence. For if God is all-good AND all-powerful, It should be able to bring about a positive end without burning children in gasoline fires.

Neither of those are really acceptable options to religious people, so they just have to clap harder.

Posted by: inkadu on May 27, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

***

Posted by: mhr on May 27, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

If you want to petition Joe not to go, you can sign up here.

Where do I go to petition Joe to go and publicly associate himself as tightly with Hagee as is possible?

Posted by: cmdicely on May 27, 2008 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

The usual explanation for why God supposedly lets terrible things happen is that that is the only way humans can exercise free will. But this just doesn't make any sense. Suppose a person owns a vicious dog, and lets the dog run free outside his home. The dog attacks someone and kills them. What if the owner said they had to let the dog run free so the dog could have "free will"? Would anyone buy this as a defense? Of course not. The owner would be considered criminally responsible for the persons' death because they knew something like that could happen and they let the dog out anyway.

How is there any real difference between this scenario and what most religious people say about God?

And if God should let even murderous humans have free will, what right do we have to keep someone like Charles Manson in prison? Shouldn't he be allowed to exercise his freedom, even if he wants to kill innocent people?

The whole thing makes no sense whatsoever.

Posted by: Lee on May 27, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that it's really strange how cynical some Jews are on this -- who cares why Christian Zionists support Israel unconditionally as long as they support Israel unconditionally.

I don't find this strange at all. If someone believed that I had to live like a queen on a tropical isle for the rest of my days in order to make Jesus come back, at which point he would fling me into a volcano, I'd be hard-pressed to refuse if they offered to set me up thusly.

Or maybe not, depending on what baggage came along for the ride, but it sure would be tempting.

Posted by: Lucia on May 27, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

might the Holocaust have been a hellish fulfillment of God's plan

Pardon me for sharing a fever dream revelation. The Holocaust was the Rapture. From an earthly point of view the victims of the Holocaust experienced Hell, but from a Heavenly point of view the Jews killed by the Nazis were raptured and now sit with the Messiah in Heaven. We are living in a post Apocalyptic world.

Posted by: Brojo on May 27, 2008 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

None of you guys are really good theologians are you?

My partner and I often argue about religion. He believes in a sort of theological determinism. Since his God is all powerful and all knowing, all that has happened, is happening and will happen is his to control. He finds it comforting to believe that we are all little actors in a giant, but carefully scripted play. His is a clockwork good.He never stops to explain why God isn't just another actor in the pre-ordained play.

I find his vision of God to be extraordinarily depressing because I don't want to be a puppet on a string. I want to be a real live boy.

For the longest time science was trapped by material determinism. If you knew the starting point of something and all the physical rules you could know the outcome with absolute certainty. Then science found quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle and chaos theory. Everything changed. Nothing in science has been the same since.

I have a hunch theology is on the brink of a similar redefinition. Otherwise, no God, let alone man or woman is truly responsible for his or her actions. Hagee's is right. Hitler was an instrument of God and God wasn't even to blame. How depressing.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 27, 2008 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Lucia wrote: If someone believed that I had to live like a queen on a tropical isle for the rest of my days in order to make Jesus come back, at which point he would fling me into a volcano, I'd be hard-pressed to refuse if they offered to set me up thusly.

I didn't say it was illogical, I said it was cynical. What guys like Lieberman really believe of course is that Hagee and his ilk are just a bunch of rubes who buy into some New Testament gobbledygook about the Apocalypse, but that for the time being they can serve as useful idiots in the project for securing a Greater Israel.

Posted by: jonas on May 27, 2008 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Pretty weird, with conservative Christianity saying Jews will be sent to Hell in a final version of the final solution, but fawning on them nevertheless. Just the sort of irrationality you'd expect from the far right crowd.

Posted by: !!! on May 27, 2008 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

I think old Joe's secured his reputation for historical purposes, but he hasn't reached the bottom yet. So don't petition, let him continue to probe the depths until he's revealed his grovelling duplicity in all it's glory.

Posted by: on May 27, 2008 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Given the antics that the Deity seems to get up to, I never understood the attraction of prayer. You WANT to attract the attention of an omnipotent entity with such a history of interacting with His believers? (Read Job, for instance. Carefully. Now read it again, keeping in mind the caveat that some Biblical scholars think the happy ending was tacked on later.)

Posted by: grumpy realist on May 28, 2008 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

Cheryl Rofer might want to consider that she might be wrong in her belief that Hagee is an anti-semite. Maybe a quote or two taken out of context don't give a fair overall picture of the man. Maybe Joe Lieberman, being a Jew, is a better judge of who is an anti-semite.

Posted by: David on May 28, 2008 at 2:58 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe David is wrong about Lieberman, .

Posted by: Brojo on May 28, 2008 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK
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