The Zion Connection: Common Enemies
The Time: April 20, 1999, 11:21 a.m.
The Place: Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado
The Event: Twelve Students and One Teacher Murdered
The Assailants: Two Boys, Both Dead of Self-Inflicted Gunshots
Possibly the most disturbing event in our nation’s recent history took place in a cozy mountain state in upper middle-class America. At a time when young people concern themselves with test scores, term papers, and final exams, students were fearing for their lives as others were being gunned down by fellow-students in their own school.
Jefferson County, Colorado Sheriff John Stone gave a chilling answer to a reporter’s question as to how such a thing could have happened. “It was a Nazi thing to do,” he replied. Stone later reported that the assailants had, for more than a year, been planning their suicide mission to coincide with Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
Witnesses who were inside the school while the youthful murderers were carrying out their shooting frenzy heard them laugh as they discharged more than 900 rounds of ammunition. An eyewitness stated that Cassie Bernall was shot after she confirmed to the killers that she was a Christian.
Members of a group known as the Trenchcoat Mafia, the shooters habitually listened to a German techno-band called KMFDM, whose lyrics undermine Judeo-Christian values: “I have come to rock your world, I have come to shake your faith. Anathematic Anti-Christ, I have come to take my place. Kill everything, kill everything, bomb the living bejeepers out of those forces” (Philadelphia Daily News, April 23, 1999).
In March 1999, the Associated Press ran a story titled “Web is filled with new lexicon of hate.” It exposed a relatively new phenomenon called “cyberhate.” Sites on the Internet now offer instructions for building bombs inside tennis balls or bananas, bounties for killing police officers, and opportunities to purchase racist music.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, a representative for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, reported the results of research after logging onto these sites for more than 5,000 hours. He told of one site that plays the sound of Adolf Hitler’s growl whenever someone logs on. Another site provides access to hate music with songs that contain anti-black and anti-Jewish lyrics.
For years, the Jewish community has been concerned about the activities of right-wing racist groups and has closely monitored them. Unfortunately, Christians, believing that their God-given mandate is to communicate Christ to all people, are often placed in the same category as these fringe groups. Some Jewish people have mistakenly stated that evangelism is a form of Nazism.
Conversely, many Christian believers are on record as possessing an unconditional, God-given love for the Jewish people. Unfortunately, in some cases, that love is for the Jewish people in the pages of Scripture more than it is for their Jewish neighbors. Too often these followers of the Jewish Messiah are uninformed concerning God’s Chosen People.
Jewish people know that Christians read the Bible, visit the Holy Land, and believe that God promised the Jewish people the land of Israel in perpetuity. Many, however, are skeptical, believing that Christian motives for such beliefs and practices will hasten the return of Christ. Certainly a lack of information exists in both groups. There is a need to become better acquainted with each other and find some common ground (see William Sutter’s article).
One unfortunate thing that Jewish people and Christians share is a growing list of common enemies. Daniel Pipes, a prominent Jewish scholar, states, “The real and present danger is by no means the pro-Israel Christian Coalition but the rabidly anti-Semitic Muslim Arab Youth association; not [evangelicals] but Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman; not those who wish, at the very worst, to convert Jews, but those who, with every means at their disposal, intend to do them harm, who have already acted on those violent intentions, and who if unchecked will surely do so again” (Commentary magazine, May 1999).
If you are Jewish, Christian, or, for that matter, just a person who wants to live a quiet, peaceable life, these are your enemies.
White Wolves, a group strongly identifying itself with Adolf Hitler, has claimed responsibility for three “race-cleansing” bombing attacks in London that left several dead. Before the bombings, hate mail was sent to black parliamentarians, Asian magazines, and Jewish deputies warning that all non-whites and Jews who fail to leave Great Britain before the end of 1999 will be exterminated. Reuters Emergency Net reported that these kinds of threats also have arisen in Germany, Austria, and America.
Newsweek has reported that more than 80 neo-Nazi groups exist around the United States. There is nothing new about their philosophy; it is merely a reconstruction of the Nazism of Hitler’s Germany.
Timothy McVeigh, the terrorist convicted of the Oklahoma City bombing, was an avid reader of the Turner Diaries, a fictional account of a guerrilla war against blacks, Jews, and the federal government. He also associated himself with a neo-Nazi group in Arizona. McVeigh’s friends recall that he constantly asked them to read a book detailing a truck filled with fertilizer and fuel oil that exploded an FBI headquarters at 9:15 in the morning (Response magazine, Summer 1995, Weisenthal.com).
The group claiming responsibility for the deadly attack in Tokyo’s subway system that killed 12 people had previously published a 95-page book titled Manual of Fear, which declared war on the Jewish people. Many of the quotations in the publication came from the rabidly anti-Jewish, fictional document called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The group blamed the Jews for “promoting mindless popular culture and fomenting endless wars of attrition in order to weaken the gentile nations of the world and turn non-Jews into docile cattle” (Response magazine). They also charged that the Talmud is homicidal and that Jews were responsible for mass murder in Cambodia.
Christian Identity Movement
A number of loosely knit organizations operate under the name Christian Identity. These groups are anything but Christian, although many of them use the word church as part of their names, such as World Church of the Creator. Other well-known groups are Sword and Arm of the Lord, Covenant, and Aryan Nations. Claiming numbers in the thousands, these groups do not shy away from using violence for their cause. For them, the Jewish people are the root problem of all evil, and the United States government has become the synagogue of Satan because, they believe, it is being used as a tool of the Zionists. Christians should be aware that these groups regard any minister who is not part of their movement to be an anti-Christ.
Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam
On October 16, 1995, in Washington, DC, a crowd amassed that stretched two-thirds of the way from the Capitol Building to the Washington Monument. The “Million Man March” was the brainchild of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Praised by some for his dubious “positive message” to the black community, Farrakhan preaches against drugs, prostitution, and gangs. He also advocates hard work, personal responsibility, and avoiding government.
But Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam have mixed the promotion of some positive elements with spreading outrageous fabrications about the Jewish people. Farrakhan blames the Jewish people for the social problems in the black community. According to him, Jews are “bloodsuckers, coming from the synagogue of Satan, possessing a gutter religion.” He is on record as stating that the State of Israel is an “outlaw nation, that the Jews masterminded the slave trade and currently are injecting black babies with AIDS.”
Farrakhan’s theology is alarming to many Christians. He teaches that God started as an atom of life who created Himself out of the material of the darkness. He has named Elijah Muhammad as the Messiah, maintaining that Jesus is cold and dead in the grave. Further, Elijah Muhammad (who died in 1975), or perhaps Farrakhan himself, will do what both claim Jesus could not do—that is, return to the earth.
Among the greatest threats to personal safety and national stability today are the radical Islamic cells operating in many countries of the world. America is not immune to their threats and terrorist activities. On the Palestinian Radio broadcast Voice of Palestine, Palestinian Authority Mufti Ikrma Sabri prayed that Allah would destroy America. As part of his prayer, he called Israeli settlers “descendants of monkeys and pigs” (July 11, 1997). On March 1, 1999, the Federal District Court in Brooklyn sentenced Ghazi Ibrahjim Abu Maizar, a Muslim, to life imprisonment for conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. He hoped to detonate a bomb on a subway line that runs from the northern tip of Manhattan to Coney Island because many Jewish people ride that train.
In 1994, Rashid Baz opened fire on a van carrying Orthodox Jewish boys across the Brooklyn Bridge, killing one of the boys. In 1997, another Islamic radical, Ali Hasan Abu Kamal, shot seven tourists on top of the Empire State Building. According to some U.S. officials, such atrocities may be a warning of future events similar to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the near-bombing of the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels in New York.
These same radical Islamic groups also have been responsible for a worldwide, under-publicized war against Christians. A group of concerned Jewish people has been outspoken about this anti-Christian activity. The organization continually brings to the surface accounts of the persecution of Christians in Vietnam, Ethiopia, Egypt, Cuba, and Sudan. Radical Islamic regimes and terrorist groups in secular Arab countries have been responsible for the deaths of approximately two million Christians.
The events in Colorado last spring serve as a reminder of past and future realities spoken of in Scripture: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against…spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). Cassie Bernall was a martyr. Her crown awaited her in heaven.
The terrible tragedy at Columbine High School brought about something widely believed to have been outlawed by our own Supreme Court—prayer in school. As the boys hunted down their victims throughout the building, students and teachers huddled in prayer. Let us do the same. It is our greatest line of defense.