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CUFI and the Ugly Face of Hagel's Opposition

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Cross-posted from Wallwritings

Chip Somodeville:Getty Images

This nation's foreign policy is, for this weekend at least, in the pious hands of John Hagee, a  Christian fundamentalist preacher from Texas.

To be sure, Hagee is not the only policy-shaker whose minions are roaming the hallowed halls of the nation's capitol. But he is certainly the most conspicuous and overt religionist participating in the US senate battle over President Obama's nominee for defense secretary, former Senator Chuck Hagel.

Hagee created Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in February, 2006. Seven years later (a divine period which in biblical years led to the release of slaves), CUFI is buying television ads in four states, each of which has a Democratic senator who could be vulnerable to defeat in 2014.

That reads more like the creation of, rather than the release of, slaves, but then, divine commands may more often than not, be in the minds and hearts of the divine command transmitters.

At any rate, it is not seven years, but six years (the term of office for a US senator), which John Hagee assumes is on the minds of four Democratic senators who are up for reelection in 2014. The states and the senators are Arkansas (Mark Pryor), Louisiana (Mary Landrieu), Colorado (Mark Udall) and North Carolina (Kay Hagan).

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The goal of CUFI's ads running in those states, and the strong Christian fundamentalist religious pressure behind them, is quite simple: Threaten, intimidate and warn these four Democrats that they could pay a price for voting in favor of Hagel.

And, it must also be noted, the ads let other senators know CUFI is watching.

JTA, the Global News Service of the Jewish People, describes the Washington political/religious scene this week:

"CUFI's affiliated Action Fund also has rallied hundreds of Christian pastors and leaders to Washington this week to lobby against the former Nebraska senator's bid to succeed Leon Panetta.

"And on Tuesday, as the pastors were swarming Senate offices, CUFI published four ads in states where Democratic senators are thought to be vulnerable in 2014: Arkansas, Louisiana, Colorado and North Carolina.

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"'We pray you vote against confirming Senator Hagel,' said the ads, addressed to each state's senators."

CUFI is not targeting Republican senators with prayers and threats. No need, prayers and threats have long since done their work.

No CUFI ads ran in Texas, for example, a state already safely in CUFI's clutches. Indeed, the Lone Star state, which has sent two Bushes to the White House, has two Republican senators now leading the vitriolic political/religious charge against Hagel.

Sen. John Cornyn, the senior Texas senator, was the first senator to come out against Hagel's nomination. He did so, he acknowledged, at John Hagee's behest during a meeting this Monday.

Cornyn set the tone for the Hagel hearing with his egregious declaration, "I cannot support a nominee for defense secretary who suggests we should be tougher on Israel and more lenient on Iran."

The second Texas senator, Ted Cruz, now beginning his first term, is shown in the picture above, talking to Democratic Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin, right (with Hagel behind them). During Thursday's hearings, Cruz fired a series of prosecutorial questions at Hagel in the eight hours the nominee endured in his grilling before the committee.

Some Democrats on the Armed Services committee were supportive of Hagel, but they were careful not to give any hint that they had any doubts about their love and devotion to Israel.

They are, after all, fully aware of the leitmotif (an anglicization of the German Leitmotiv, literally meaning "leading motif," or perhaps more accurately, "guiding motif") constantly ringing in their political ears back home through media, donors, voters and alas, religious groups from mainline Protestants to the right wing fundamentalist CUFI crowd.

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http://wallwritings.wordpress.com/

James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced Jim's writings over (more...)
 

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