What John Hagee teaches us about politics
Since I'm a rare Millennial evangelical here, I'll give my two cents:
1. Christian Zionism is always and everywhere a Boomer phenomenon. I've intentionally brought up the topic with Millennial and Zoomer conservative Christians of my acquaintance many times. All I've ever heard is utter apathy towards the state of Israel. It might as well be Myanmar as far as they're concerned. Those raised in Christian homes will sometimes think of it as this weird or funny thing that dad is into that causes them to roll their eyes.
2. Within the church, this generational change seems to be driven by a combination of the rise of Reformed theology (which has historically taken a dim view of Dispensationalism and assorted premil eschatological weirdness) and the rise of more "seeker-friendly" non-denominational churches that try to stay away from eschatological weirdness for more tactical reasons.
3. It's worth noting that guys like Hagee do not interface with -- and exist independently from -- what we might call "core evangelical institutions". Hagee doesn't interface with what's known as "Big Eva", i.e. the evangelical establishment: The Gospel Coalition and the like. Nor is he part of the SBC. To my knowledge he's not at all allied with, nor does he overlap with, what we'd think of as the various "celebrity pastors" that sometimes generate followings and controversy.
4. I have heard a fair amount of over-the-top, religiously-grounded Zionism and philo-semitism when I talk to Boomer Southern Baptists (many of whom have never really interacted with a Jew; I live in a county with zero Jewish places of public worship). I have such an acquaintance that tells me his top three issues are "pro-America, pro-life, and pro-Israel".
But like Inez, I've never heard the end-times arguments as a reason for support. By far the verse most commonly cited is Numbers 24:9: "Whoever blesses Israel will be blessed, and whoever curses Israel will be cursed." For the record, I understand the church to be Israel and therefore understand this as a reference to the church, not to the post-1948 secular state.
Hagee represents millions of delusional Boomers who will soon pass into the long night. Hagee is not winning over EHC or young people. Even most young conservatives are repulsed by these freaks.
Not sure getting on the Ziocon train this late in the game is going to work out. Especially with US demographics pointing away from pro-Israel policies and Israeli demographics pointing towards some form of theocratic Jewish fascism. Eventually, the exemption Israel was given to pursue ethnonationalism will be revoked and the only ones defending Israel will be Shtetlbillies, evangelicals and Richard Hanania.
Dispensationalism absolutely _does_ serve the cathedral, specifically the Military-Industrial Complex.
I completely disagree with this view. The likes of Hagee were viewed by Reddit liberals as a serious Republic of Gilead type threat in the 2000s and now a couple of decades after all the idiocy and failed wars and corruption and gay scandals are now near universally regarded as weird freaks and too marginal to even actively mock and make fun of. They do obviously have their low IQ boomer followers who are not insubstantial in number but the decadal #downonly charts of religiosity and Zionophilia in the US tell the story. That story is one in which the Hageesphere has consistently lost intellectual debates, because it is stupid and evil, and been deserted by youth, the computer literate, and ever broader masses of society.
John Hagee pushes The Prosperity Gospel (Heresy)
And as for "The End Times". I became a Christian in May of 1973. At that time Everyone I hung with KNEW these were The End Times and Jesus was Returning..Soon. Needless to say we wee a bit off on that. Some years later I was volunteered to teach on The End Times in a Small Bible Group I was a member of (this will teach me to miss a meeting! :-)). Imagine my surprise to discover 4 different schools of thought on this. They are mutually exclusive and All have Scripture to back them up. So now when the topic comes up, my reply is 2 words, Or...Not.
Do you believe Jesus died for your sins? Do you believe He will come again to judge the living and the dead? If not -- or even if you merely "believe" in an abstract intellectual sense -- then you don't understand evangelical Christianity. I mean, if it's actually true in a literal, historical sense, then it's kind of a big deal! WSJ opinion page never asks him to write for them because they know most non-believers can't imagine anyone could take this seriously. Besides, true believers really don't care what you think.
One thing libs used to be right about was that conservatism as preached on AM radio was very different from newspaper conservatism. Those lines have blurred a bit now but it is still *kinda* true that the person who gets their political views from Mark Levin on SiriusXM* is looking at things very differently from someone immersed in the discourse. There are certain areas of overlap on things like wokeism but your average satellite radio boomer is tuned into Israel stuff in a way that even a Twitter power user couldn't wrap their head around. They also tend to be much more anti-socialism in terms of rhetoric: even if they want to keep their social security they absolutely despise welfare in a way that would make Ronald Reagan blush.
*I had a rental car a couple of years ago and checked out 'Sirius XM Patriot'. While I agree with Mark Levin on many things politically, it was such a mean-spirited and above all *dumb* show that I began to understand my educated lib relatives' complete disdain for the movement. I'm convinced several, if not most, of his call-ins were fake, too.
I feel like you are overestimating Hagee's influence. "Christians for Israel" is going to seem pretty non-objectionable for most Christians and I wonder how many of his "followers" even know of a connection to a belief that Jewish people being in control of Israel will hasten the end times.
I think lots of Christians just have an affinity for Israel because it looks very obviously non-barbaric and their moral view is going to align with Israel's in general where as what they see of Hamas and Hezbollah seems barbaric and contrary to their moral views. Certainly the commonality of religion doesn't hurt, but it would mean nothing if Israel was going around and using citizens as shields and committing acts of terror and proclaiming that they were going to exterminate Palestinians. It's not like there isn't some commonality between Christianity and Islam.
To the extent he is getting play from republican politicians, I think it's simply because he supports what they already want to do, not because he is influencing them.
So what's popular is not always what's important. Some things never change.
Good post. Some well constructed surveys would be good, to find out what regular voters care about, what influences them, what their information sources are, etc. Twitter will be low on the list for most actual voters, is my guess. Embarrassed to say I had not heard of Hagee, though I knew about Dispensationalism and the Christian basis for widespread support for Israel. That sort of thing makes liberal Jews of my acquaintance uncomfortable. I tell them any friend in a fight is good to have.