George Bush is here to set you free

So what’s George Bush up to these days? I know you’re wondering. He’s up to converting the Jews, that’s what. Sarah Posner explains at Mother Jones.

Next week, former President George W. Bush is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser in Irving, Texas, for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that trains people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The organization’s goal: to “restore” Israel and the Jews and bring about the second coming of Christ.

I have to wonder how one goes about “training” people to convince other people to accept Jesus as the Messiah. I do. I wonder because training seems like a secular sort of activity, in the sense that it needs to be tethered to reality at some point in order to do the job. Training means teaching people how to do something the right way. I wonder how one goes about training people to convince other people of bullshit. I know it happens, I know people do it, I just wonder how it works – if there’s ever any wink-wink nudge-nudge “this is the best way to fool people” type of thing.

Based in Dallas, the MJBI claims that it acts like the Apostle Paul in helping to “educate Christians in their role to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy and thus save some of them (Romans 11:11-14).” It has Bible schools in 12 countries, an online school of “Messianic theology,” and programs to train Messianic rabbis and pastors. Its logos feature a star of David and a menorah, and its website promotes the weekly Torah portion, a “Yiddish Mama’s Kitchen,” and links to purchase Judaica and books, such as Christ in the Old Testament. The nonprofit organization brought in approximately $1.2 million in revenue in 2011, the last year for which records are available.

At the November 14 event, which will be held at the Irving Convention Center, Bush will discuss his White House experiences, according to promotional materials. Bush, the group says, will “share his passion for setting people free.” Last year, Glenn Beck was the star of the group’s fundraiser, which was held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

That’s Bush’s idea of setting people free? Yikes.

Maybe that’s because he’s an addict. Is that it? He found Jesus helpful in getting free of addiction to alcohol, so he sees Jesus as setting people free in general? But one problem with that would be that not everyone is an addict.

At last year’s MJBI fundraiser, Beck received a “Defender of Israel” award. During Beck’s time as host of his Fox News program (which ended in 2011), hundreds of Jewish leaders denounced his on-air rhetoric as anti-Semitic—particularly his repeated invocation of Nazis and the Holocaust to demonize political adversaries and his accusation that George Soros is a “puppet master” who collaborated with the Nazis. “One of the reasons why I love Israel so much is I’m a guy who’s for the underdog,” Beck told the audience. “I’m a Mormon, which is kind of the Jew of the Christian world.”

Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas, which Beck attends, introduced Beck as a “prophet” at the event. Morris told the crowd that his church has supported MJBI because “when we do this, the Bible tells us, it’s going to change the whole world. That it’s going to hasten the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it’s going to bring about worldwide revival.”

That’s where it gets dangerous.


  1. Pen says

    It’s a classic bait and switch. Many Jewish people actively seek out Jewish culture, events or organisations and have a high level of trust for other Jews. Many of them ‘tinker’ with those aspects of Judaism they practice or believe in or not. This organisation displays all the signs of being Jewish or at least very pro-Jewish in its symbology. The people within it will have a great deal of knowledge of Jewish culture and expectations (hence the training). They will know how and where Messianic concepts fit into conventional Jewish thought, how Judaism traditionally thinks about history, the hopes and expectations of Jewish people today. Plenty of stuff to learn there. What to say and what not to say.

    Their ideal victims will be over trusting, perhaps socially vulnerable… and when they’ve got them good and baited, they’ll make the switch. They will ideally have actual Jewish converts on display to make them feel extra comfortable. The local Jehovah’s witnesses pulled that one on us recently.

  2. ewanmacdonald says

    Between this and the think-tank with his name on it as SMU, Dallas is becoming quite the minefield for those who oppose Bush.

  3. Félix Desrochers-Guérin says

    George Bush is here to set you free

    The eight most terrifying words in the English language.

  4. rnilsson says

    Mindfield? GWB? Mindblowing.
    BTW, Dallas is Sallad if y’all toss it backwards. BBQ, RPM, ETC.

  5. Claire Ramsey says

    So the training apparently has this aim: “to educate Christians in their role to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy. . . ” And then the jealousy takes care of the rest.

    It really sounds nasty and dishonest and uncaring to me. What a crock. (I admit, though, that I’m curious to see their training materials, esp the talking points that cause jealousy. Also, jealousy of what, exactly?)

  6. johnthedrunkard says

    “Christ in the Old Testament.” ?
    Must be one of those blank books like ‘The Wit and Wisdom of Spiro Agnew.’

    Odd that the Xian tradition of drawing Texas Bulls-eyes around passages from Isaiah etc. could only have been established in a culture where the Actual Torah and Tanakh were only seen in corrupt Greek translations.

    The ‘Old Testament’ Christ hasn’t convinced anyone in almost 2,000 years.

  7. Parlyne says

    Let’s not skip the part of the apocalyptic theology where the reason that all the Jews (or, at least those who haven’t accepted Jesus) need to be gathered back into Israel is so that they (We? I’m guessing they don’t make too much distinction between people who practice Judaism and atheists who were raised Jewish.) can all be killed, which is what is supposed to set off the whole end of the world sequence of events.

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    … it’s going to hasten the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ…

    Cuz that dumbass clearly needs lots of pushing to work out his own schedule.

  9. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I guess I need another cup of coffee, because I read that title as George Bush is here to set you on fire.

  10. rnilsson says

    Beatrice, maybe you are actually an amateur psychic — I think that was the hidden, true meaning.

  11. says

    Glenn Beck being called a prophet, in an evangelical church? Proof that, since my day (the 1970s and early 80s), it’s become all about political tribalism, not faith.

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