Wednesday, May 8, 2019

#2186: Joel Rosenberg

Joel C. Rosenberg is a fundie communications strategist, founder of The Joshua Fund, and author of the rather popular Last Jihad series. The latter details, in the form of novels, how Rosenberg, a Messianic Jew (or something similar), interprets terrorism in light of Bible prophecy. He also has written two ostensibly non-fiction books, Epicenter and Inside the Revolution, which also try to interpret current events in light of biblical prophecies. They are distinguished from his novels in terms of prose style and narrative structure, not by any grounding in facts or reality – here, for instance, is Rosenberg explaining how the war in Syria is obviously foretold in the Bible. It’s … a stretch, but Neil Cavuto on Fox apparently took it seriously. Here are (a commentary on) some other examples. Rosenberg is a former Rush Limbaugh research assistant, and used to share his thoughts with Glenn Beck.

Rosenberg currently lives in Israel, where he works to proselytize to Jews and convert them to Christianity; on his website, he states that “Jews are turning to Jesus in record numbers, and they are getting excited about His Second Coming.” This is important, as Rosenberg sees it, since we are currently living in the End Times (Rosenberg takes a dispensionalist view on these matters, for those interested) and headed into the rapture and the return of Jesus Christ brought about by an emerging Islamic caliphate. His novel The Twelfth Imam accordingly describes a near-futre where Iran has a nuclear weapon and “[m]illions of Muslims around the world are convinced their messiah – known as ‘the Twelfth Imam’ – has just arrived on earth.” He has also suggested that the only way Arabs and Israelis can reach a lasting peace is for “Jesus Christ – the Prince of Peace – to change men's hearts and reign in our hearts,” but we’ll leave it to readers to figure out whether this is something he would want to see happen, given that the conflict is an integral part of the mechanisms ushering in the return of Jesus.

In general, Rosenberg is fond of linking stuff together, which is rather easy to do if you don’t focus on details or whether the relata are connected by anything other than your own vecordious imagination. During GodTV’s 9/11 Wake Up Call, Rosenberg claimed that God let the attacks on September 11, 2011 happen “to shake America, to get our attention, to wake us up,” later pointing to America’s abortion rate, financial debt and pornography industry as national sins that should be blamed and which are leading to the destruction of America (legal abortion is worse than the Holocaust, claimed Rosenberg, and will be punished accordingly). Apparently conflicts in the Middle East are a result of abortion being legal in the US. Also, “God is trying to shake us” through earthquakes and hurricanes, including hurricane Sandy, because “He is trying to get us to let go of anything else, any form of ideology, philosophy, political belief, religious belief, material position, anything or anyone that we are holding onto other than Jesus Christ.” Later, he emphasized that people like Jon Stewart of The Daily Show must share the blame for the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting (and in general for the, uh, fact that “demons of violence and lawlessness are on the loose all across America”) because they have waged a “cultural war against Jesus and Christmas.” and tried to “drive [God] out of our society.” If you think the causal connection is a bit unclear, Rosenberg explains: God did not stop the Newton massacre because God is a “gentleman”: “If a nation tells Him to leave, He will leave.” Or, more pithily: if you disagree with Rosenberg on religious issues, you are to blame for school shootings. He is a little bit back and forth on whether God has removed his hand of protection or will do so if we don’t repent. Not even Rosenberg himself can really tell the difference, can he?

The Joshua Fund, where Rosenberg is the founder and president, is a not-for-profit charity that seeks to “Bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, according to Genesis 12:1-3.”

Diagnosis: Fanatic, zealous, angry and hateful rubbish, all of it. Yet Rosenberg seems to have the ear of plenty of people in power, and can definitely not be dismissed as rapidly and decisively as the contents of his claims. 

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