Using his best-selling book, Jerusalem Countdown, his internationally broadcast television program, and the viral marketing offered by a network of mega churches whose pastors have signed on to his new lobbying effort, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), [Texas televangelist John] Hagee has spent the past six months mobilizing popular support for a war with Iran. Based on his end-times prophecy, a supposed love of the Jewish people and the state of Israel, and false claims that Iran is just months away from a viable nuclear weapon, Hagee maintains that confrontation with Iran is necessary to fulfill God’s plan for the future of the world.

While it hardly seems like a sound basis for foreign policy, as the violence between Israel and Hezbollah escalates at the Israel-Lebanon border and beyond, Hagee’s view of Iran’s central role in a world-altering showdown seems to be catching on. And not just on the wingnut airwaves or among war-mongering chattering heads. It’s gaining momentum among certain Republican presidential aspirants, who, like all Republican presidential aspirants, count beans and feel compelled to bow to the will of American religious extremists to win.

The Jerusalem Post reported this week that remarks by Newt Gingrich and John McCain that the Israel-Lebanon violence marks the beginning of World War III have their roots in Hagee’s book. Knesset member Benny Elon told the Post that Gingrich and McCain “said this because they think it will lead to Iran getting involved, which they believe will set off World War III,’” adding that their “comments originated with American evangelist John Hagee.” As Hagee and his minions from CUFI descend on Washington this week to lobby Congress, armed with Hagee talking points claiming that Iran will have a nuclear weapon in six months, could it be a coincidence?

Full Sarah Posner piece here.