The World Of White Evangelicals, Part IX/ Their Influence Over President’s Iranian Policies

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PRESIDENT TRUMP NIXES IRAN DEAL

For a disclaimer, as a person of faith, I’m in agreement with almost nothing of the US White Evangelicals’ religious teachings. I’m not an expert of this subject, however, I’m curious as to how the Evangelical thinking is influencing the politics of today. I’ve had to rely on a myriad of sources including my daughter who’s an ex-Evangelical, to be able to write about this subject.

This is my ninth post in a series on this subject of White Evangelicals and their effect on US culture, especially at White House.

The White Evangelism community in the USA has become powerful, even though its population comprises a minority at about 26% of the US population who self-identify themselves as Evangelicals; however, its members have voted in 2016 for the republican President Donald Trump by a margin of 80%, plus, they continue to approve of his presidency at rates that exceed 70%. They add up to over 35% of the president’s base of voters.

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In addition, the president relies on a group of Evangelical Christians for spiritual guidance. There are 2 key members of the Evangelical faith who work with President Trump, his Vice President Mike Pence and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Remember that both these men are of the belief that the republican President Donald  J. Trump has been sent by God to champion and to deliver the goods on their causes.

As per a 5/15/2018 Quartz report, “Christian evangelicals “don’t like Trump because they think he is holy,” explains Ziegler. “They like him because they think he’s God’s tool.”

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The following write-ups detail how Evangelicals’ have been instrumental in the president’s decision to withdraw the US from the 2015 US-Iran Nuclear dea,l and their antipathy towards Iran, as a major sponsor of terrorism (true.) This stance is not matched when it comes to Saudi Arabia which also sponsors terrorism groups but its officials purchase arms from the USA.

On May 8, 2018, Walker Robins, the post-doctoral fellow at Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University penned the following the Washington Post report, “The withdrawal from the Iran deal signals a new power player in Washington: Christian Zionists” 

Excerpts:

“America’s Christian Zionists are on a roll. In December, they scored a major political victory with President Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiating the relocation of the U.S. Embassy there. In March, evangelical supporters of the Jewish state notched another win with the inclusion of the Taylor Force Act in an omnibus spending bill. The act makes certain funding to the Palestinian Authority conditional on the PA cutting stipends to families of dead or incarcerated terrorists.”

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EVANGELICALS IN WHITE HOUSE

“But their latest victory — Trump’s announcement that he is withdrawing the United States from the Iran deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) and reimposing sanctions against Iran that the deal had lifted — could have dramatic geopolitical consequences. Though shocking, the president’s decision has long been expected. After lobbying Trump vigorously in support of the deal during a state visit to the White House last month, French President Emmanuel Macron left convinced the president would withdraw from the JCPOA “for domestic reasons.”

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“What are those domestic reasons? One of the main reasons is also the most overlooked: Many among Trump’s most loyal backers, white evangelicals, have demanded it. Evangelical supporters of Israel have long been among the leading domestic opponents of the Iran deal. The same organizations that lobbied for the Jerusalem move — including both Christians United for Israel (CUFI) and American Christian Leaders for Israel — lobbied against the JCPOA when it was being negotiated and have called for its renegotiation or reversal ever since. They have also agitated for the appointment of the deal’s opponents to the administration, such as new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.”

“Why have Christian Zionists opposed the deal? It is not simply a desire to bring on the apocalypse, as some critics have charged. While some evangelicals see Iran as a central actor in various End Times scenarios, most Christian Zionists are motivated by a more basic belief that Jews remain God’s chosen people and that Christians should support the world’s only Jewish state. More specifically, many believe God will bless those nations that “bless” Israel and curse those nations that “curse” it, a belief rooted in Genesis 12:3.”

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“For Christian supporters of Israel, opposing the JCPOA has provided an opportunity to bless Israel or — perhaps more accurately — to avoid cursing it. Of course, Genesis 12:3 does not on its own suggest a particular stance on the JCPOA. But a half-century of developments in the United States and the Middle East have convinced Christian Zionists that the JCPOA poses a threat to Israel, which, in turn, means that supporting it would run afoul of the biblical teaching.”

“JCPOA is designed to prevent the Iranian government from obtaining nuclear weapons. But Christian Zionists fear that it will fail, As Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened Israel’s destruction, the implications of a nuclear Iran seem clear. To Christian Zionists, this is not just overheated rhetoric — it’s an existential threat to the Jewish state.”

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Christian Zionist/ Evangelicals

“They also worry that the JCPOA does not address Iran’s material support for Israel’s enemies, especially Hezbollah, a longtime client of Iran that has harassed Israel from southern Lebanon since the early 1980s, and Hamas, which has initiated repeated rounds of rocket attacks against Israeli population centers since seizing control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Indeed, Christian Zionists argue that the JCPOA’s sanctions relief has actually allowed Iran to increase funding to both groups (an argument Trump seemed to parrot in his speech announcing U.S. withdrawal from the deal).”

“Coloring these assessments are relationships forged between conservative evangelicals in America and the Israeli government since the 1967 Six-Day War. Over the past half-century, Israel has actively worked to build alliances with American evangelicals, a process that intensified after the conservative Likud Party first came to power in 1977.”

Evangelicals’ Fear and loathing Of Iran…

On 5/9/2018, Steven Hurst of the Conversation published the following report, Why does the American right hate Iran so much?

Excerpts:

“Many on the conservative wing of American politics tend to see the world in stark Manichean terms of good versus evil. To paraphrase George W. Bush, you are either with them or you are against them, and if you’re against them, no compromise is possible.”

“In a world divided into good guys and bad guys, any kind of accommodation with the bad guys amounts to an unacceptable surrender. The notion that the US might choose to tolerate the existence of a hostile regime because the alternative would be far worse is fundamentally alien to this mindset.”

Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, is a longtime advocate of military action against Iran. EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

(“This thinking) holds true for the American right’s hostility to Iran, and to the 2015 nuclear agreement. It’s clear that many on the right are simply more intensely fearful of the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran than those who do not share their worldview.”

Israel first

“There’s another factor besides that’s helped turn the American right against Iran since the revolution: the rise of politically engaged evangelical Christians.”

“Evangelicals have been a pillar of the Republican electoral coalition since the rise of Ronald Reagan, and as the 2016 election proved, they still are. Their influence explains a lot about the way American conservatism has changed over the decades – not just its general rightward shift, but specifically its increasingly unconditional support for Israel.”

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“Since they fundamentally believe that God gave the land of Israel to the Jews, most Christian evangelicals take an uncompromisingly “pro-Israeli” stance. That stance has in turn become the default position of the Republican party. The upshot is that the Israeli government’s profound and growing hostility towards Iran, which it sees as the primary threat to its security, has been mirrored on the American right in general.”

“Taken together, this heady mix of historical grievance and deeply held ideology explains why American conservatives’ hatred of the Islamic Republic is so vitriolic. And so long as the Republican party’s base subscribes to a fearful, black and white worldview, it will never revise its opinion of what it still considers the US’s most dangerous enemy.”

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On April 8, 2019, AP published the following report, “The Latest: US labels Iran’s Guard a terrorist organization”

Excerpts:

“The Latest on the Trump administration’s stance on Iran (all times local) as delivered by the Secretary of State Mile Pompeo:”

10:15 a.m.

“President Donald Trump says the U.S. has designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a “foreign terrorist organization” as part of an effort to increase international pressure on the country.”

“It’s an unprecedented move because the U.S. has never before used the designation for an entire foreign government entity.”

“Trump said in a statement Monday that the move “recognizes the reality” that Iran is a state-sponsored supporter of terrorism and that the Guard is an active participant.”

“Administration officials have said the step will further isolate Iran and make clear that the U.S. won’t tolerate Iran’s continued support for rebel groups and others that destabilize the Middle East.”

“But the designation may also have widespread implications for American personnel and policy in the region, as Iran has threatened to retaliate.”

Iranian revolutionary guard soldiers march at annual military parade in Tehran, Iran. File Photo by Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE

1:20 a.m.

“The Trump administration is planning to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a “foreign terrorist organization” in an unprecedented step to ramp up pressure on Tehran.”

“U.S. officials say an announcement could come as early as Monday (4/9/2019) and the move could have widespread implications for U.S. personnel and policy in the Middle East and elsewhere.”

“The Trump administration has escalated rhetoric against Iran for months, but this’ll mark the first such designation by any American administration of an entire foreign government entity.”

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SALAMI

Two U.S. officials and a congressional aide confirmed the planned move and spoke on condition of anonymity.”

The designation comes with sanctions, including freezes on some assets and a ban on Americans doing business with the group.

2 comments

  1. Hello Gronda. While the tRump crew hopes to further isolate Iran, the real effect could be to further isolate the US. The rest of the world doesn’t seen to want to go along with the US sanctions and both Germany and France have taken steps to provided payment methods for companies doing business with Iran so they wont fall to US sanction pressure. This was really bad news for the US as this is the first time such work around had been done by US allies. The US is working it self into becoming a pariah nation. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Scottie,

      I’m in agreement with your thinking. I was hoping that the other countries which signed off on the 2015 US-Iran Nuclear deal would stick by this agreement and not give in to US pressure.

      That doesn’t mean that I’m not cleared eyed about Iran being a sponsor of terrorism. Iran is a country which has not earned the trust of the USA. It’s a country that we don’t trust where verification is he only game in town.

      But then the USA is supposedly in the business of selling nuclear capabilities to Saudi Arabia, another major exporter of terrorism and where most of the jihadists who attacked the US on 9/11/2001 were from Saudi Arabia and not Iran.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

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