APOCALYPSE NOW? Self-identified Christocrat Rod Parsley has officially hitched his wagon to the Armageddon addicts at Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Parsley, a member of CUFI�s national leadership, was in town last week to lobby members of Congress on his zest for an apocalyptic showdown in the Middle East.
Like his friend and CUFI�s leader, John Hagee, Parsley professes a deep love for Israel and the Jewish people. But a few minutes of a sermon reveal that Parsley, like Hagee, only loves Israel as the site of Armageddon and the Second Coming.
In his most recent production, Iran and Israel: Impending Apocalypse, Parsley pronounces us �living in the final moments of human history,� owing to Iran�s nuclear program. Although a webcast of the sermon is available online for free, Parsley nonetheless hocks the DVD for a �love gift� of cash. And to lend divine credibility to its contents, he claims that �[j]ust days before the July 12 incidents which began the current situation of war between Israel and Hezbollah, God gave Pastor Rod Parsley a prophetic word about events in the Middle East and the importance of key players in the end-times drama!�
Following a nearly incoherent account of Middle East history, replete with maps and diagrams, Parsley warns that an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel �could take place at any moment,� and counsels vigilance. Despite his scary pronouncements about Tehran�s nuclear ambitions and the threats of Islamic terrorists, he ultimately isn�t too worried about Israel being wiped out by an Iranian nuke. �Watch,� he beseeches his audience, �for you do not know the hour that the man of God cometh.� Then, face contorted, looking upward, he begs, �Oh, God, send a fire not so that we can entertain ourselves, but [to] give us a revival unparalleled in human history!� Sweaty and overwrought, the televangelist pleads, �We�re standing on the precipice, on the brink, on the verge, of the . . . last moments of human history. Are you ready?� The audience stirs, and Parsley thunders, �Jesus is coming!�
Was RNC Chair Ken Mehlman waiting for Jesus when he told CUFI�s banquet last week that �If you love freedom, whether you are Christian, Jewish or Muslim ... whether you are American, Japanese, or Indian ... today we are all Israelis�?
It would take only a modicum of cynicism to realize, of course, that Jewish Mehlman was just trolling for evangelical votes. But if he has his eye on Ohio, he should take note of Parsley�s diminishing esteem in his home state. In 2004, Parsley was largely credited, along with his friend, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, with turning up the volume on homophobia and bringing out votes for Ohio�s gay marriage ban, and, by extension, Bush. But even Blackwell�s church pandering, campaign contributions from Christian right bankrollers, and affiliations with Swift Boaters hasn�t helped his current gubernatorial campaign. While Parsley thinks the world is plunging toward Armageddon, the same could be said of Blackwell�s poll numbers: He currently trails Democratic rival Ted Strickland by 20 points.