In Washington DC, if money isn't enough to grease the wheels of the war machine then the hand of God will suffice for Republicans. There is no excuse or rationalization that can escape the Christian nationalist lens. If its written in scripture it doesn't merely supersede morality, it is morality. The average Christian is simply living their lives, but put a fanatic in the seat of power and they results will be monstrous. Two prevailing Christian prophecies are unfolding before our very eyes. To Christian nationalists, these events represent their salvation and the destiny of humanity as told in the book Revelation. For them, it is the beginning of their ascent to heaven. To non Christians it is the global condemnation of non-believers to the depths of hell. For all of us, its the apocalypse.
How is it that some of the most overtly bloodthirsty rhetoric on Hamas' latest attack in Israel have been American Republicans?
“Hamas must be eradicated & Israel must respond DISPROPORTIONATELY to this & to any futures attacks from any enemy,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
“Do whatever the hell you have to do to defend yourself. Level the place,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News on Tuesday night.
“This is sick, and we have to treat sick people the way they deserve to be treated and eliminate them,” former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley
Not only is the Republican leadership cheering on the war, the evangelical voting block vehemently agrees. 86 percent of white evangelical Protestants have a “favorable” view of Israelis, according to a 2022 Pew Research survey, which is higher than any other Christian group. 70% of white non-evangelicals have a favorable view of Israeli's alongside 58% of Black Protestants. Sen. Lindsey Graham identifies as a Baptist, Nikki Haley converted from Sikhism to Christianity to appease the Republican base, and Marco Rubio is a proud Catholic. As a result of the deep seated Christian nationalism that makes up the Republican party, the bible acts as a touchstone from which all their beliefs stem.
Pastor Robert Jeffress, a prominent evangelical pastor, told CNN: “Jerusalem has been the object of the affection of both Jews and Christians down through history and the touchstone of prophecy, but, most importantly, God gave Jerusalem — and the rest of the Holy Land — to the Jewish people.” The movement of Christian Zionism is just as fervent and fundamentalist as its original Jewish counterpart and runs rampant within the Republican party.
A LifeWay research poll which asked if "God's promise to Abraham and his descendants was for all time." had over 60% of evangelicals responding with a resounding "strongly agree." This question necessitates Israel as the Jewish homeland now and forever, the Palestinians could never be considered legitimate when the bible is the final appeal. But that's not all. Pastor Nate Pyle informed Newsweek of the second half of the prophecy. “What kick-starts the end times into motion is Israel’s political boundaries being reestablished to what God promised the Israelites according to the Bible." The same LifeWay poll confirmed that 80% of evangelicals believed that the creation of Israel was a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and a precursor to the return of Jesus Christ and the apocalypse. These beliefs necessitate the removal of the Palestinians in some way shape or form for Israel's boundaries to be 'properly re-established' for the Jewish people.
This latent belief in biblical prophecy bleeds into all aspects of Christian nationalist politics. Deceased Republican donor and prominent religious thought leader Reverend Jerry Falwell claimed:
"If I decide here as the pastor and our deacons decide that we’re going to get caught up in the global warming thing, we’re not going to be able to reach the masses of souls for Christ, because our attention will be elsewhere. That's pretty wise for Satan to concoct... Now how long will the earth remain? It will remain until the new heavens and the new earth come. And that won’t happen until, well, over in the last two chapters of the Bible–after the tribulation, after the thousand-year reign of Christ, then new heavens and new earth. Why? Because the former things are passed away. The earth will go up in dissolution from severe heat. The environmentalists will be really shaken up then, because God is going to blow it all away, and bring down new heavens and new earth.”
Falwell was the founder of an American political organization called The Moral Majority which was a reaction to the advancement of civil rights for the underprivileged. Christian fundamentalists were alarmed that civil rights would undermine the traditional moral values of America. Advancements in rights for Women, gay rights, and black rights were all demonized within the movement. The Moral Majority was the true conservatism driving the Reagan movement. It advanced conservative social values, notably opposing abortion, pornography, the feminist Equal Rights Act, and gay rights. In addition, the organization supported increased defense spending, a strong anti-communist foreign policy, and continued American support for Israel. In many ways, Falwell's political efforts created the evangelical voting block and paved the way to Reagan's election.
Long before and well after his participation in politics was his time as a preacher. He founded the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg in 1956. The congregation grew from some 35 members to more than 20,000 by the time of Falwell’s death. In 1971 Falwell founded Lynchburg Bible College—later Liberty University, a fundamentalist Christian university—which he led until his death.
The early oil men of the United States believed in similar apocalyptic traditions to Falwell. Historian Darren Dochurk analyzed the nature in which Oil and religion intersect. In his book Anointed with Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America he states that the culture within the boardrooms of oil executives is an open embracement of theology.
“Oil companies “openly embraced the theological imperatives that informed their chief executives, aligned their boardrooms with biblical logics, and sacralized their operations as modes of witness and outreach.” Because of the heavy investment of the industry in religious faith, oil, has become more than just a commodity or an energy source. Its “grip on the human condition” is “total”; it has become “an imprint on America’s soul.””
John D Rockafeller was a pious Baptist who believed the responsibility of those with riches was chosen by God to enforce a social order. Rockefeller taught Sunday school weekly for sixty years. When Standard Oil was at its prime, he described the business as the “salvation of the oil business.” and provided “collective salvation for the industry.” He referred to his executives as “missionaries of light.”
Four of the largest oil companies today: ExxonMobil, Chevron, British Petroleum, and Marathon Oil were all split from Standard Oil being broken up by antitrust laws. That same Rockefeller spirit of biblical scripture divinely powering the righteous purpose of these businesses remains ingrained in each boardroom which currently decides the future of the human race.
In opposition to Standard Oil were the independent oil men. These oil men believed in differing versions of Christianity which were more fringe than those of Rockefeller. An example is Lyman Stewart, one of the founders of Union Oil. He believed in an interpretation called premillennialism which believed that the end times were nigh and the arrival of Christ was imminent. Stewart, like Rockafeller, went on to donate money supporting religious education and publish fundamentalist Christian texts.
This nature of Christianity entwined with Oil drilling was the cultural law of East Texas during the oil boom. Oil was discovered, just as the Great Depression was beginning to take hold. This felt like a divine intervention that blessed the region of East Texas. The Texan’s believed that they lived in the end times, due to a mix of Christian fundamentalism and the economic hardship sweeping the nation. They believed that God gave them this new oil spring as a sign to build the kingdom of Heaven on earth. Independent oil producers operated the majority of these new wells, as the hunt for oil grew more frantic across East Texas. Church lots were littered with oil derricks as ambitious oilmen sought to drill wherever they could, while enterprising ministers dreamed of striking it rich.
This fervor of religious mania driving American oil continued into the post WW2 era. Within the oil companies, the culture prospered. A manager of a Rockefeller oil field in Saudi Arabia reported that whenever his Muslim workforce paused for prayer, he did too: “Each day when the Arabs take time to pray, I take time to read a verse or two from the Bible.” The money continued shaping the proselytization of Christianity. From The Boston Review:
“Texas oilmen helped to build the Christian right and to support fundamentalist colleges in the postwar years. The manufacturer R. G. LeTourneau, who built heavy machinery used by oil refiners, funded evangelical ministers, including Billy Graham and Charles Fuller, while also championing the cause of free enterprise inside the National Association of Manufacturers. LeTourneau used the factory as a space to proselytize as well, holding lectures and chaplain services to teach workers how technology and faith could rhyme—how grades of steel, for example, mirrored Christian development. LeTourneau went on to acquire land in Liberia and Peru that he would use to found Christian communities organized around industrial development.”
The presence of Christian thought in modern day business and politics is a overlooked undercurrent without an answer. It influences major decisions that affect the masses of people at the whims of a prophecy not everyone subscribes to. Those who believe that climate change and Israel are the necessary lead ups to a long desired apocalypse get to dictate government policy. The runaway train has left the station.