BREATHLESS FOR THE APOCALYPSE, FROM SAN ANTONIO TO TOLEDO. As talk of war with Iran intensifies, it�s hard not to see the bated breath of the Armageddon brigade fogging up the windows of the White House. John Hagee, the San Antonio televangelist and leader of Christians United for Israel, has used every twist and turn of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah to promote his vision of a world-ending confrontation with Iran. Almost two weeks ago, he told his followers that the shaky ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah will �only be a pause before the coming storm between America and Israel and the rogue nation of Iran.� Written just four days after Bush said on national television that America �is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation,� Hagee�s missive included this dire warning: �The people of America do not want to admit Islamo-Fascism is a threat to this nation. It is! They don't want to believe that Iran would use nuclear weapons against mighty America! They will!�

CUFI, though, was dismayed when Bush, who had come under criticism for the using the term �Islamic fascists,� failed to use the term again in his press conference on Monday. In an e-mail the next day, CUFI asked its followers to call the White House to �congratulate� Bush on the phrase and urge him to continue to use it. �Pastor Hagee and our national leadership have decided that it's important for President Bush to hear not only from his critics, but also from people who appreciate his moral clarity. Therefore, we've sending a letter to President Bush from our leaders thanking him for his important statement.�

Just how much influence did they have on Bush�s lexicon? It�s probably too early to judge, but Wednesday night, at a Toledo fundraiser for Ohio gubernatorial hopeful Ken Blackwell, Karl Rove referred to a global war against �Islamic fascists.� Blackwell�s own �moral clarity� patron, Rod Parsley, one of CUFI�s national leaders, has been, like Hagee, predicting this is the war to end the world. If we are indeed living in the last days, it seems that Ken Blackwell wants to spend them at a fancy country club, hugging Karl Rove.

--Sarah Posner

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