This week in Washington, DC, Pastor John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) held its annual convention to promote the religious-right’s support of Israel. Amid an evening featuring Gary Bauer and Rod Parsley and the bashing of the United Nations, European Union, State Department, and Jimmy Carter as enemies of the state of Israel, rumored presidential candidate Newt Gingrich provided a relatively innocuous keynote address. Well, relative in the sense that Gingrich outlined his hawkish post-9/11 worldview as opposed to discussing Israel’s role in the impending rapture.
Most of the CUFI constituents in the audience appeared to agree with Hagee’s views regarding the rapidly approaching judgment day. As we highlighted earlier this year when John McCain was courting CUFI, Hagee’s apocalyptic foreign policy views aren’t exactly mainstream. So what explains Gingrich’s presence at an event hosted by Hagee, whose judgments are shaped by a belief in a biblically predestined war between Israel and Iran, and the worldwide rule of the Antichrist in the form of the head of the European Union?
Gingrich, who offered up a slightly modified stump speech, making mention of the need for strength and perseverance in the face of war and references to the importance of America’s Christian heritage, is apparently looking to build right-wing support for a potential presidential bid without publicly embracing the conferees’ most extreme ideas.