Inside the CUFI Conference

The American Prospect gives the inside scoop on John Hagee’s most recent Christians United for Israel Conference:

Afterward, I headed over to the CUFI on Campus meet and greet. The room was filled with approximately 250 students from 138 universities, and we were greeted by Hagee’s wife Diane and lauded as “the dream” and the “Joshua’s generation.” Mrs. Hagee launched into a speech about biblical rationale to support Israel. At one point she mentioned that Hitler could be reborn. Across the table, a suspiciously old-looking “student” guffawed. “Hitler reborn? Hitler has been reborn,” he said, pausing for effect, “and his name is Obama.”

Hagee’s speech was a hodge-podge, comparing the relationship between the land of Israel and the Jewish people to a marriage and warning various evildoers like Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia of ominous divine intervention. Discussion of end times and the pastor’s signature fire-and-brimstone preaching was notably absent until an awkward rhetorical pivot, seemingly designed to please the crowd: “The terrorists will produce a bloodbath that will make 9-11 look like a walk in the park,” Hagee proclaimed in a booming voice. “The Lord’s vengeance shall soon come.”

During the Q&A, one woman asked about forming a “Christian militia.” Hagee grimaced; “militia” implied taking up arms. “We are in a spiritual dogfight,” he said, suggesting that she use “the weapon of prayer” and “concerts of prayer” to affect “spiritual revival.”

It was easy to see why the militia-monger was confused, though. The conference was never short of military jargon. We were told to establish “facts on the ground in our fight to take back America’s campuses” and reminded that “you are in a war, a battle for your mind.” We were “prayer warriors,” set upon by many foes: the media, liberal professors, popular culture, the cultural elite, secular society, Europe, the United Nations, and, of course, the Islamo-Fascists.

That afternoon, right-wing darling former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania laid the situation out clearly: We are not at war with terror, he said, we are at war with Islamism — a significant though small portion of the Islamic world. “Secular relativistic” liberals, he explained, “don’t believe, and if you don’t believe, you can’t understand.” To my left, a middle-aged woman with ginger-blondcolored hair dutifully scribbled in her notebook. “Eliminate Iran,” she wrote.