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Baptists demanding pacifism, trashing Israel and hosting a “drag” prom? These Baptists definitely are not from your grandmother’s church! They are instead The Baptist Peace Fellowship, which is hosting its annual “Peace Camp” July 4-9 of several hundred activists at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Radical retired history college professor Irving Wesley Hall, who’s been angrily demonstrating in the streets since the 1950’s, excited the Baptist event with his searing denunciation of Israel. “Now the Israelis are the Nazis and the Palestinians are Jews,” he carefully explained. Hall was protesting the House Un-American Activities Committee more than 50 years ago and boasts of personal confrontations with Ronald Reagan and William Buckley during the 1960’s. More recently he’s been denouncing the Tea Party. Of course, he’s also a 9-11 “truther” who thinks the Bush Administration exploded the World Trade Center.
As a member of the Baptist Peace Fellowship, Hall perhaps disrupted the typical tranquility of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley with his biting expose of the conspiracy of Israeli agents, Christian Zionists and U.S. corporate interests that ensure America’s tilt toward Israel. (I’m indebted to the onsite reporting of my assistant Bart Gingerich,) Dismissing the “absurdity of Obama,” ostensibly for the President’s excessive sympathy towards Israel, Hall cited 1967 as the pivotal year when America solidified its support for “radically right-wing Jewish fascism.” After all, the U.S. military industrial complex was impressed by Israel’s military prowess in that year’s war. Also in 1967 was the publication of Hal Lindsey’s infamously popular The Late Great Planet Earth, which fueled Christian Zionism by describing Israel’s reputed role in the End Times.
Hall denounced the “deadly myth of the Promised Land,” where “God is the Divine real estate agent.” And he denounced Evangelicals, especially Southern Baptists, for an eschatology requiring “unconditional support of Israel.” He further denounced Orthodox Jews in the Israeli military who have become a “very dangerous Fifth Column in the military.” Naturally he also denounced America’s “Islamaphobia” as the new McCarthyism, while “Israel’s terrorists are our terrorists,” Americans supposedly believe. Hall concluded by bemoaning the “theft of the Florida election” in 2000 and darkly recalled the 9/11 internal demolition of the World Trade Center.
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