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3.19.2004

Lost In Translation

The current political alignment between American fundamentalists and the state of Israel is rich in irony and paradox.

The thumpers maintain that Christ is returning, and that, when he does, the Jews will cease to exist -- either they will convert to Christianity, or they will be destroyed. Or both. The melodramatic scenarios currently on the market probably allow both options, although I have to say I have not read them. Notwithstanding Christian disdain for money, those authors seem to be doing well enough financially that they don't need my nickels.

Imagine Tel Aviv being run by Southern Baptists. The mind boggles. Of course, you might not need your mind anymore anyway. Just your faith.

Jews, on the other hand, basically are not expecting Christ. Based on the first 2,000 years or so of his earthly kingdom, they probably shouldn't expect too much of him at this point. On the perfectly reasonable assumption that his followers resemble him, Jews really don't have much to look forward to in that department. Maybe Christ will come through in the clutch, like a great basketball player. (A great Jewish basketball player, that is . . . ) But the Jews are not planning on this.

It's a strange partnership, and yet it has the advantage of giving Israel some very strong American backers. Much silliness should be overlooked for this, I think.

The fundamentalists I have known have shown an increasing willingness to learn Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic precisely because of their need to know the original message. Anything that makes an American learn a non-English language can't be all bad, can it?

John O'Connor, fervent defender of fundamentalism

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