Yesterday I did a story on the heavy Evangelical penetration of the US military. The concern wasn't about Evangelicals but, rather, religious coercion in the military and troubling questions Weinstein has raised about possible compromises in the US military's chain of command.
Reading this post, please bear in mind that belief, or the absence of belief, is extremely difficult to demonstrate although modern MRI brain imaging techniques can demonstrate activity, or the lack of that, in areas of the brain associated with religious belief. But it is unlikely George W. Bush would submit to such scrutiny, and so we must consider proxy evidence.
If you're concerned about possible war with Iran, Wes Clark is too - you can sign his petition and get a free button ]
"The classical pattern of apocalypse, comprising in its active form, an initial phase of savage destruction followed by a phase of messianic rebirth, can be recognized in individual psychosis and in the Nazi type of destruction, persecution and virtual suicide." - Mortimer Ostow, "The Psychodynamics of Apocalyptic: Discussion of Papers on Identification and the Nazi Phenomenon," International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1986
"God wants me to be President." - George W. Bush, 19 January 1999
[UPDATE: Some critics of this post have objected that there are few, if any, apocalyptic Christian Zionists within the Bush Administration. That point, even if correct, does not negate the impact of beliefs George W. Bush might hold. Further, neoconservatives widely held to have had considerable influence, within the Bush administration and in propelling the US towards war with Iraq, talk in terms eerily similar to those of apocalyptic Christian Zionism. Much neoconservative rhetoric is in fact indistinguishable from the rhetoric of apocalyptic Christian Zionists:
Neoconservatives For Maximal War
"[Richard] Perle told journalist John Pilger in 2002 that "if we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war ... our children will sing great songs about us years from now."
"Israel is part of a global war, the war of radical Islam against civilization. Right now Israel is doing the work of the rest of the civilized world by taking on the terrorists. It is not only for Israel's sake that we must get the facts out -- it is for ourselves, America, for every free country in the world, and for civilization itself." - David Horowitz
"One can only hope that we turn the region [the Middle East] into a cauldron [of war], and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today." -Michael Ledeen
"I think an explosion is long overdue and turning the whole region into a cauldron [of war] is a necessary step toward reforming it." - Mark Steyn
"Norm Podhoretz ranks among the most prominent American editors of the 20th century. And he's doing pretty well in the 21st. (Laughter.) Never a man to tailor his opinions to please others, Mr. Podhoretz has always written and spoken with directness and honesty. Sometimes speaking the truth has carried a cost. Yet, over the years, he has only gained in stature among his fellow writers and thinkers. Today we pay tribute to this fierce intellectual man [sic] and his fine writing and his great love for our country." - George W. Bush, presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Podhoretz in June of 2004
"God willing, Judgment Day is coming to the Middle East." -Michael Ledeen
"Prof Ledeen is...believed to have the ear of the White House's current Chief of Staff Karl Rove, and has regular conversations with him. ...His view on the war on terror is clear, he said: 'Iraq is just one battle in a larger war, bringing down the regime in Iran is the central act...' "
"Whether or not the White House listens, it seems that they’ve listened to a lot of things about Iran, that I will say. I mean, some of the language and some of the speech is very familiar to me, and really reflects the sort of thing that I’ve been pushing for." - Ledeen, April 2003
"The regime must go." - [Richard] Perle and [David] Frum, on Iran
"All of Korea will be united in liberty." - Perle and Frum, on North Korea
"We should force European governments to choose between Paris and Washington." - Perle and Frum, on Europe
This post concerns the possibility that George W. Bush holds apocalyptic religious views and believes God has commanded him to attack Iran in order to bring on the Apocalypse.
"It was in his first campaign for governor that George W. began to preach the gospel according to Bush. He literally gave sermons in Houston's mega-churches, laying the blame for America's "failed culture" on the excesses of his generation in the 60s. "The culture of my generation, our generation, has clearly said, ‘If it feels good, do it, and be sure to blame somebody else if you have a problem.'" " - Gail Sheehey, Vanity Fair story on George W. Bush's religious beliefs.
When I woke this morning and made a pot of coffee, the sun was already up, cresting the hill behind my house amidst a din of birds and a riotous explosion, sudden and exuberant, of Spring. It was beautiful, and I think that's why I chose to wrote this now ; so that, in the words of Richard Brautigan's final book, ...The Wind Won't Blow It All Away.
About a month ago, a team of Japanese journalists visited Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, to do a story on Weinstein and his fight against religious coercion in the US military. The journalists told Weinstein they saw a pattern, now in the US, of religious militarism very similar to that which had arisen in Japan prior to World war Two.
"...a short video on faith and diplomacy made in the aftermath of September 11,2001, by Christian Embassy, a behind-the-scenes ministry for government and military elites. It almost seems to endorse deliberate negligence of duty, Dan Cooper, an undersecretary of veterans' affairs, announces that his weekly prayer sessions are "more important than doing the job." Major General Jack Catton says that he sees his position as an adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a "wonderful opportunity" to evangelize men and women setting defense policy. "My first priority is my faith," he says. "I think it's a huge impact.... You have many men and women who are seeking God's counsel and wisdom as they advise the Chairman [of the Joint Chiefs] and the Secretary of Defense." Brigadier General Bob Caslen puts it in sensual terms: "We're the aroma of Jesus Christ." There's a joyous disregard for democracy in these sentiments, for its demands and its compromises, that in its darkest manifestation becomes the overlooked piety at the heart of the old logic of Vietnam, lately applied to Iraq: In order to save the village, we must destroy it.
Weinstein, a former Air Force lawyer and Reagan White House counsel, saw not just some disturbing theology, but a potential violation of military regulations regarding separation of church and state." - Jeff Sharlet, Jeff Sharlet - Ten Things I Learned from the Pentagon's Prayer Team ( emphases mine )
War, especially religious war, is not a glorious affair. Images in this story are of the outcomes of real war on real humans. Please be advised.
Also, a few days ago, as you've probably heard, US Senator John McCain sang "Bomb Iran, Bomb Bomb Bomb" to the tune of the Beach Boys' hit "Barbara Ann", before an audience of hundreds at a VFW hall.
Back in April 2006, John McCain said, on "Meet The Press", to Tim Russert, that war with Iran could lead to "Armageddon". Now, McCain's singing about bombing that country as if it were some sort of joke. GOP House Minority Whip Roy Blunt Jr. flew out to Texas, early in 2007, to meet privately with John Hagee as well. The Apocalypse seems to be a popular subject these days in the GOP.
To the right is a picture, by a survivor of the bombing, of victims of the Hiroshima nuclear blast.
( image, right: skulls of Hiroshima victims )
Over the course of the last few months, I've been studying what George W. Bush may believe, and what people who are accorded as having been major religious influences on Bush say they believe.
Almost to a man, and they have all been men, those who are held to have shaped George W. Bush's religious beliefs have been apocalyptic Christian Zionists. George Bush speaks in the idiom of Christian apocalyptic premillenial dispensationalism, in common parlance the language of the end-times, of the coming Apocalypse, Rapture, and Armageddon. "Madman" theory does not suffice, from all that I can tell, to explain George W. Bush's numerous statements, that he speaks to God, is on a mission from God, that he is part of a divine plan.
By most evidence, George W. Bush appears to hold a personal, messianic belief that he, personally, must usher in the Apocalypse. And, he might just be able, as the last gasp of his dying presidency, to pull it off. In 2004, David Domke and Kevin Coe did a study of presidential language and come to the troubling conclusion - George W. Bush's language is very different from language used by past presidents:
( image - from archival footage of "The Rape Of Nanking" )
"The religious outlook of George W. Bush has been the focus of recent stories by several major news media. In these pieces White House officials and allies consistently have made the case that Bush’s faith and language are no different from past presidents. In the words of the Rev. Richard Neuhaus in The Washington Post, "This is so conventionally Christian piety and Christian faith" that Bush’s faith is "as American as apple pie."
That simply is not so. Bush’s fusion of faith and politics is anything but conventional for the presidency.
The key difference is this: Presidents since Franklin Roosevelt have spoken as petitioners of God, seeking blessing and guidance; this president positions himself as a prophet, issuing declarations of divine desires for the nation and world. Most fundamentally, Bush’s language suggests that he speaks not only of God and to God, but also for God. Among modern presidents, only Ronald Reagan has spoken in a similar manner -- and he did so far less frequently than has Bush." - Published in The Revealer October 11, 2004. ( David Domke is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. He is the author of God Willing? Political Fundamentalism in the White House, the "War on Terror," and the Echoing Press (Pluto Press, 2004). Kevin Coe is a doctoral student in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Illinois. )
George W. Bush, at a public appearance Thursday, laid it out for all to see and this should come as no surprise:
As the Republican National Committee reports on its website, President Bush has declared this April 19, 2007, that his "faith" and his family come first, while George W. Bush's loyalty to the United States comes last. ( thanks to Universal Health for the tip )
I wish I was traveling here with Laura. The best thing about my family is my wife. (Applause.) She is a great First Lady. I know that sounds not very objective, but that's how I feel. And she's also patient. Putting up with me requires a lot of patience. But she sends her best; she's in New Orleans today.
And I will tell you, one reason -- this may sound counterintuitive, but a good marriage is really good after serving together in Washington, D.C. It's been an amazing experience to be a husband and then a dad as President of the United States. I emphasize, that is the priority for me as the President. It's my faith, my family, and my country"
Faith, Family, then Country ?
Bush's declaration of presidential loyalty seems to run directly counter to the oath Bush, and all US presidents, have taken upon entering presidential office:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Am I making too much of this ?
Let's look at a recent flap concerning US Representative Keith Ellison's Islamic religious. Critics claimed that Ellison could not be trusted to honor his oath of office because some Islamicists say things like this:
Secularists in the West will agree with this, then they will point out that under Islamic law, people are not all equal. No non-Muslim, for example, could become the president. Well, in response to that fact, in turn, secularism is no different. No Muslim could become president in a secular regime, for in order to pledge loyalty to the constitution, a Muslim would have to abandon part of his belief and embrace the belief of secularism — which is practically another religion. For Muslims, the word 'religion' does not only refer to a collection of beliefs and rituals, it refers to a way of life which includes all values, behaviors, and details of living. ( Dr. Jaafar Sheikh Idris )
Indications are good that, for George W. Bush, religious belief trumps Bush's responsibility to American people who hold religious and philosophical beliefs that differ from his. Signs are strong that Bush wants Apocalypse and that, even though a large percent of American does not wish for Apocalypse, George W. Bush just doesn't care. If he has the power to bring it on, that's that ; he'll do it and damn us all to the hell on Earth he feels God wants him to set in motion.
Let me turn to Jeff Sharlet, to frame the backdrop to all of this:
John Hagee is likely one of religious leaders who helped shape Goerge W. Bush's religious beliefs. Until last Wednesday, John Hagee's "Apocalypse Lobby" website featured an image, of Jerusalem's Wailing wall and the Temple Mount, from which the 3rd Holiest Site in Islam had been airbrushed out. As a result of my blogging, it seems, CUFI last Wednesday replaced its website logo image with another image in which the Haram el-Sharif was visible. A number of observers considered the original, airbrushed CUFI logo image to be wildly provocative to the Islamic world.
In a recent Charisma Magazine issue John Hagee, in a piece entitled "The Coming Holy War", wrote : "Israel and America must confront Iran's nuclear ability and willingness to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons."
On July 19, 2006, at a CUFI sponsored Washington DC event called "A Night to Honor Israel", with GOP Party head Ken Mehlman and US GOP Senators Sam Brownback and Rick Santorum ( President George W. Bush sent recorded greetings to the event ) , Pastor John Hagee declared :
"The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West... a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation [...] and [the] Second Coming of Christ."
Hagee's beliefs are actually part of mainstream Christian Zionist thought, which tends to hold that, after Christians are "Raptured" bodily up to heaven, most Jews ( 2/3 to be precise ) will die in a subsequent terrible conflict centered around Israel.
Fundamentalism is here, and even provided we can squeak by the Apocalypse we're going to have to learn to deal with it. As Jeff Sharlet writes:
"We keep trying to explain away American fundamentalism. Those of us not engaged personally or emotionally in the biggest political and cultural movement of our times—those on the sidelines of history—keep trying to come up with theories with which to discredit the evident allure of this punishing yet oddly comforting idea of a deity, this strange god. His invisible hand is everywhere, say His citizen-theologians, caressing and fixing every outcome: Little League games, job searches, test scores, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, the success or failure of terrorist attacks (also known as "signs"), victory or defeat in battle, at the ballot box, in bed.... A divine love that speaks through hurricanes. Who would worship such a god? His followers must be dupes, or saps, or fools, their faith illiterate, insane, or misinformed, their strength fleeting, hollow, an aberration. A burp in American history. An unpleasant odor that will pass.
We don’t like to consider the possibility that they are not newcomers to power but returnees, that the revivals that have been sweeping America with generational regularity since its inception are not flare-ups but the natural temperature of the nation...
The Christian nation of which the movement dreams, a government of those chosen by God but democratically elected by a people who freely accept His will as their own, is a far country. The nation they seek does not, at the moment, exist; perhaps it could in the future. More important to fundamentalism is the belief that it did exist in the American past, not in the history we learn in public school and from PBS and in newsmagazine cover stories on the Founders but in another story, one more biblical, one more mythic and more true. Secularism hides this story, killed the Christian nation, and tried to dispose of the body. Fundamentalism wants to resurrect it, and doing so requires revision: fundamentalists, looking backward, see a different history, remade in the image of the seductive but strict logic of a prime mover that sets things in motion. The cause behind every effect, says fundamentalist science, is God. Even the inexorable facts of math are subject to His decree, as explained in homeschooling texts such as Mathematics: Is God Silent? Two plus two is four because God says so. If He chose, it could just as easily be five. ( Jeff Sharlet, from Through a Glass Darkly, Harpers Magazine, December 2006 )
What does George W. Bush Believe ?
What does George W. Bush believe ? And, given the embattled nature of the Bush Administration, does it even matter ? Isn't Bush a lame duck president ? Hasn't the tide of political cronyism and religious zealotry that swept in as the presidency of George W. Bush crested at last ? With the return of the Democrats in force to Congress, to control the House of Representatives and the Senate, haven't we witnessed, at long last, the crest of the wave, the high water mark of the Bush Administration's proclivity for packing the federal bureaucacy with religious ideologues ?
|"While it is well-known that George W. Bush presents himself as devoutly Christian, and he is widely considered beholden to the fundamentalists who are at least a third of the U.S. population and the GOP’s core voting base, whether or not he is a dispensationalist has emerged as one the administration’s most closely held secrets. The White House even refuses to say if the president has read the Left Behind books.
Among evangelicals, though, there is a widespread conviction that Bush shares the End Times vision and has been divinely appointed to lead the nation. ( from Glenn Weiser's What Does The President Believe ? )
(video clip: George W. Bush is known to have frequented, as Governor of Texas, John Hagee's Cornerstone Baptist Church. The video clip is set to a sermon, by Hagee, alleging a conspiracy of "international banking" interests to create a sinister, satanic "New World Order" through the United Nations)
Why have we seen, in the last year and in the face of rationality and amidst the failure of the Bush Administration's Iraq gambit, to the ruin of that nation, the same sort of PR buildup, aimed apparently at building a case for war with Iran, we witnessed prior to the invasion of Iraq ?
The administration of George W. Bush may be unraveling, coming apart at the seams, or imploding. But, Bush himself holds one trump card to overrule all trump cards ; war is its own logic, and US forces once committed to an attack on Iran will not be easily withdrawn. Once that Pandora's Box gets opened, whatever demons shriek out at the world will not go away but will be with us for decades or, in human terms, forever.
( image: detail from painting depicting the "St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre" )
The overwhelming bulk of available evidence points towards the likelihood that George W. Bush is a Christian Zionist who believes, really believes, in the need for maximal, catastrophic war in the Mideast. Over the past several months I have been conducting, by myself with the help of a few concerned friends, an exhaustive study of George W. Bush's likely religious beliefs, or his lack thereof. Gail Sheehey, at the onset of George W. Bush's presidential tenure, covered Bush's beliefs. But no one, as far as I can tell, who is familiar with Christian apocalyptic dispensationalism and with the intersection of religion and politics has made concerted effort to gather all available data bits on George Bush's religious belief.
Evidence I have gleaned points in one troubling direction, and therefore towards a monumental bifurcation point in world history resting now in the hands, more than any human, of a man who appears to believe, in his heart, in the coming Apocalypse, in immanent, unavoidable Armageddon, in the "Rapture" of "Bible believing" Christians to heaven where they will, in safety, look down upon a world convulsing in hideous military conflict and the slaughter of hundreds of millions, billions of people even, by fire and sword, bullets and bombs, by nuclear incineration.
The Apocalypse, understood in either religious terms of merely viewed in secular terms, as catastrophic world war, would preclude meaningful action to address the penultimate world challenge of our time, Global Warming. Apocalypse would preclude meaningful action on AIDS and poverty, on preserving biodiversity, forests and ocean ecosystems. To significant action across a vast swath of imaginable world problems, even problems unrecognized as of yet, the Apocalypse would shut the door, perhaps forever.
At this moment in time, George W. Bush holds the keys to two radically different kingdoms ; two fates, one leading towards a constructive future and one leading towards catastrophe, towards terrible, destructive unraveling in the fabric of human and biological systems on Earth.
Hasn't George W. Bush Been Defanged ?
But, hasn't George W. Bush been rendered toothless and fangless ? Hasn't the charging Texas cowboy been knocked from his horse ?
That seems to be the common consensus :
Recently, I was discussing, with an editor at a national magazine who I'll leave unnamed, a curious issue : the apparent airbrushing of the logo image for a new national Christian lobbying group that lobbies for the Apocalypse, for catastrophic war in the Mideast. The 3rd Holiest site in Islamic had been wiped from the logo image and, intentional or not, the symbolism could have been wildly inflammatory to the Islamic world. Talk of the logo led, of course, to Mideast, and the editor agreed with me that Bush probably wanted maximal Mideast conflict but believed that wiser heads would prevail ; there was fightback, in Republican ranks even, against the Bush Administration's lust to expand the theater of Mideast conflict, to "fail forward" and attack Iran. Wiser heads, he reassured me, would prevail.
I'm not convinced though, and perhaps that's an artifact of what I've been studying lately ; the hot zone of religion and politics, especially when the religious beliefs in question are apocalyptic and the political realm in question concerns the loyalty, or lack thereof, of United States armed services members to religious pluralism, American Constitutional Democracy, and simply to not provoke catastrophic war, can be a troubling realm to pay attention to. Once, at an national environmental activist conference, I happened to overhear the staff of the facility hosting the event quip, about the environmentalists present, "they're worse than people with eating disorders" and I think the realm I gesturing at elicits a similar manic intensity... but for good reason. Sober heads, even advocates for a new Pax Americana such as "The Grand Chessboard" author Zbigniew Brzezinsky, have warned that a US attack on Iran could open a gateway to catastrophe.
As I covered yesterday, the US military has been penetrated to an unknown extent but, arguably, extensively by American Evangelicals with apocalyptic dispensationalist beliefs. Wars are comparatively easy to provoke, and an influential faction in American politics, a coalition perhaps including George W Bush, many evangelicals in the US military, many in Bush's core fundamentalist base, the lobbying blocks of CUFI and to some extent AIPAC, and busy cadres of writers, publicists, and PR specialists, are concertedly pushing for war with Iran.
Such a possibility would have seemed insane six or seven years ago at the onset of the Bush Administration, but here are and the most likely reason we have come to this grim possibility can be expressed in two words:
"Bush addressed the CNP ( Council On National Policy ) in 1999 (there is, of course, no public record of what he said) and begins every day poring over Bible commentary. Do he and Laura read themselves to sleep with LaHaye? That he is sympathetic to what LaHaye stands for, religiously and politically (assuming they can be separated), is a legitimate conclusion. In 1993, Bush unguardedly divulged that only Christians can get to heaven. He secured his base, at the beginning of his presidential campaign, by speaking at Bob Jones University - which he refused to criticise for its ban on interracial dating. At his inauguration, he chose Franklin Graham to deliver the ceremonial prayer - the son of the venerable Billy (the evangelist who saved Bush from the demon drink), who has become notorious for telling the world that Islam "is a very evil and wicked religion". " ( UK Guardian, June 12, 2003 )
"Bush's first real encounter with Jesus came about with the Evangelical Reverend Billy Graham. No problem there. Reverend Graham, though once a registered Democrat, has made a point of staying non-partisan. Since then, Bush has kept the company of some odd pastors, such as James Robison, the anti-abortion fanatic who likes to quote both sides of his conversations with God. Robison prayed with Bush in the Oval Office before the invasion of Iraq. Another is one of Texas' foremost fundamentalist preachers, the Reverend James [sic] Hagee of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. Hagee is part of a more off-center form of Christianity tracing back to an Anglian priest who abandoned his church in 1820 to form his own sect. The beliefs Hagee brings from this, known as Dispensationalism, are too complicated to cover here, but basically revolve around Armegeddon and a literal reading of the Book of Revelation. This "end-times" theology can be seen in Bush's foreign policy.
In November of 2002, Hagee addressed his congregation of four thousand people, outlining a foreign policy strangely similar to Bush's policy set forth later. With then-House Majority Leader Tom Delay at his side, Hagee preached about regime change in Syria as well as Iraq, and about destroying the regime of Yasir Arafat. These were policies written six years earlier by Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., and others who are now part of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). Hagee stated, "Listen, Saddam, there's a Texan in the White House, and he's going to take you down."
On more than one occasion, Bush has claimed he takes his orders from God ... literally. Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003. Nabil Shaath relates the meeting: "President Bush said to all of us, 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq ..." And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"
Israel's most reputable newspaper, Ha'aretz, related a similar story from the same time. At the cease-fire negotiations between Abbas and faction leaders from the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular and Democratic Fronts, Bush said, "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."
"What [Rev. Billy Graham] said sparked a change in my heart. We walked and talked at Walker's Point, and I knew I was in the presence of a great man... Reverend Graham planted a mustard seed in my soul... He led me to the path, and I began walking. It was the beginning of a change in my life." - Bush, A Charge to Keep, 1999
"...What are some of those signs we should be watching for?"
"Political unrest... Although Russia no longer is a threat as a superpower, many other nations have access to nuclear weapons and instantly could plunge the world into chaos with the push of a button..."
"Natural disasters... There have always been earthquakes, famines and other natural disasters in the world, but this century [the 20th] has witnessed more of them -- disasters with greater intensity."
"Social unrest... Jesus also said there would be an increase of wickedness and the love of many would grow cold (Matthew 24:12). Read the papers, we're already there."
"Religious apostasy... The 'faith which was once delivered unto the saints' (Jude 3) slowly has been eroded throughout this century to the point where the Word of God no longer has any authority in the minds of people."
"Economic instability... Many areas of the globe are experiencing this..."
"The rebirth of Israel. ...God has assimilated into one nation Jews of many cultures and languages and preserved them through five wars with their Arab neighbors. The people have reclaimed and rebuilt the old wastes of ancient cities, towns, and villages. All of this is a major miracle that points unmistakably to Israel's strategic role in the Lord's scenario for the last days."
"Evangelistic permeation... Never in history has there been such a concentrated effort to fulfill the Great Commission as in the days leading up to the start of the new millennium."
"The rise of the Antichrist... Antichrist is an apocalyptic figure that will rise to world power in the last days. He will control the world's economy and religion and will wage war against the church and Israel. Many have sought to identify him through the years with some contemporary figure, as some undoubtedly have resembled his qualities to some degree. Nevertheless, he may be alive right now and just waiting for the right moment to seize power." - Billy Graham, from Graham's last book, "The Beginning Of The End", 1999
"The Reverend Billy Graham taught Bush to live in anticipation of the Second Coming but it was his friendship with Dr. Tony Evans that shaped Bush's political understanding of how to deport himself in an apocalyptic era. Dr. Evans, the pastor of a large Dallas church and a founder of the Promise Keepers movement taught Bush about "how the world should be seen from a divine viewpoint," according to Dr. Martin Hawkins, Evans assistant pastor.
S.R. Shearer of Antipas Ministries writes, "Most of the leaders of the Promise Keepers embrace a doctrine of 'end time' (eschatology), known as 'dominionim.' Dominionism pictures the seizure of earthly (temporal) power by the 'people of God' as the only means through which the world can be rescued.... It is the eschatology that Bush has imbibed; an eschatology through which he has gradually (and easily) come to see himself as an agent of God who has been called by him to 'restore the earth to God's control', a 'chosen vessel', so to speak, to bring in the Restoration of All Thingss." Shearer calls this delusion, "Messianic leadership"-- that is to say usurping the role usually ascribed to the Messiah.
In Bush at War Bob Woodward writes, "Most presidents have high hopes. Some have grandiose visions of what they will achieve, and he was firmly in that camp."
To answer these attacks and rid the world of evil," says Bush. And again, "We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of this great nation." Grandiose visions. Woodward comments, "The president was casting his mission and that of the country in the grand vision of Gods Master Plan."
"The lessons of the Bible were a reason for his decision to run for president. He feels that God speaks to him." - Texas megachurch preacher and personal friend to George W. Bush, Dr. Tony Evans
"As Texan preacher Tony Evans, one of his spiritual advisors, recalls: "The lessons of the Bible were a reason for his decision to run for president. He feels that God speaks to him." From then on, Bush defined his work as a mission: "I am convinced that we must fundamentally and permanently change our entire culture. We need spiritual renewal in America."
The occasional churchgoer had become a pious man, a man who continues to practice rigorous discipline in the White House and incorporates the appropriate passage from the Bible into his daily agenda. The insecure drinker has become a president with whom mainstream Americans can identify, precisely because of his mediocrity, fallibility and devoutness."
"Dr. Martin Hawkins, Evans’ assistant pastor, Evans taught Bush "how the world should be seen from a divine viewpoint." And Bush says in his book, A Charge to Keep, that he has been "spellbound" listening to Evans’ sermons'
"Bush learned from Evans a whole new approach—cultural rather than economic—to winning political adherents. "On July 4, 1998, Governor Bush listened to Dr. Evans lay out a whole philosophy about how the world should be seen from a divine viewpoint and adjusted politically," says Evans's assistant pastor Dr. Martin Hawkins. Evans, who is said to be a confidant of the man he helped to become governor—they have prayed over the phone together—was one of the builders of the new Christian men's movement known as the Promise Keepers. He has urged men to "take back" authority from their wives, and women to "let your man be a man."
Bush did seem to find direction and develop discipline in his habits through his personal religious revival. "For some people, when they discover a faith in their religion, in God . . . it is a prescription for self-respect," says Lacey Neuhaus. But religion is also an important political tool for him. His evangelical Christianity gives him solid standing as a social conservative. It is also useful in dismissing questions about his character. All he has to say is that his life has changed dramatically since he accepted Christ. He is a new person, and his earlier, irresponsible conduct is irrelevant.
In his political sermons he began calling religious people to become involved in politics, and described the Bible as "a pretty good political handbook." He championed religious groups as the best instrument to change social policy, in place of government or in partnership with it. Not only was that music to the ears of the Christian right, it meant money in their coffers. Here was a politician who would channel government money not into social programs such as welfare but into church partnerships with the state.
Dr. Hawkins says, "There is a strong possibility that we would be one of the faith-based organizations that partner with the federal government, under President Bush, to reach out in the community to take care of housing and jobs."
Unabashedly fired up by the rhetoric of the Christian men's movement, Bush forgot that not everyone accepts Christ as his or her savior. He told a reporter in 1994 that the New Testament teaches that only those who accept Jesus Christ will go to Heaven."
Franklin Graham is more than a long-standing friend of Bush. He is a significant theological mentor. Bush has written in Christian magazines that Reverend Franklin and his father were pivotal in renewing his faith and religious committment as a Christian after his bout with alcoholism. The American public choose to be blithley unaware of Graham’s hatred of Islam. After the 9-11 attacks, and around the same time Bush declared his war on Islamist terrorists a "crusade," Franklin Graham made a highly publicized blanket condemnation of Islam on the Christian TV show 700 Club calling it "a very evil and wicked religion." He has often written that Islam and Christianity will fight each other before the second coming of Christ. Franklin Graham, like his father, who has been the confessor of several American presidents, believes Christ’s coming is imminent.
Given the indelicate words of this prominent Islamaphobe, one might expect the president to distance himself, but no. Gumbel reports that the president invited Franklin Graham to preach at the Good Friday 2003 prayer service held in the Pentagon. I would add that he participated in the Holy Service just as the American invasion of an Islamic country was at its peak.
WOLF BLITZER: So what's your bottom line? Do you believe, based on the reporting you did for this article, that the president of the United States is now aggressively plotting military action, a pre-emptive strike against Iran?
SEYMOUR HERSH: The word I hear is "messianic." He thinks, as I wrote, that he's the only one now who will have the courage to do it. He's politically free. I don't think he's overwhelmingly concerned about the '06 elections, congressional elections. I think he really thinks he has a chance, and this is going to be his mission.
"Again, the White House Web site records that on March 3, Bush told a Los Angeles audience, "God loves you, and I love you. And you can count on both of us as a powerful message that people who wonder about their future can hear." After mentioning himself in the same breath with God, Bush then topped himself when the Lancaster New Era reported on July 16 that in a private meeting with an Amish group in Lancaster County, he told them, "I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job." The White House has denied the statement."
"Five months later, in August of 2003, MSNBC reported claims by televangelist Jack van Impe that the White House had contacted him seeking an outline of apocalyptic events. Van Impe wrote on his website, "I am not sure whether he (Bush) knows all of the prophecies and how deep of a student he has been in God's Word, but I was contacted a few weeks ago by the Office of Public Liaison for the White House and by the National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to make an outline. And I’ve spent hours preparing it. .. it’s in his (Bush’s) hands. He will know exactly what is going to happen in the Middle East and what part he will have under the leading of the Holy Spirit of God."... The White House has denied having made this request."
Mr Bush's Christian fervour only confirms suspicions that the looming war with Iraq is indeed a "crusade" against Muslims, exactly as Osama bin Laden suggests. For world-weary Europe the presidential language evokes mirth and queasiness in equal measure. A European leader who spoke in such terms would be laughed off the stage. An American one who speaks this way only increases the fear that simplicities of faith, and a habit of seeing a hideously complicated world in a black-and-white, good or evil fashion, are a recipe for disaster.
Chapter and Verse: Bush and the Bible
"Our prayer tonight is that God will see us through and keep us worthy. Hope still lights our way, and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it."
Speech on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks, 11 September 2002
"We do not claim to know all the ways of Providence. Yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the loving God behind all of life, and all of history. May he guide us now."
State of the Union address, 28 January 2003
"In the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'Lift your eyes and look to the heavens.'"
Address to the nation after the shuttle 'Columbia' disaster, 1 February 2003
"It is the greatest gift you can give anybody, to pray on their behalf."
At National Prayer Breakfast, 7 February 2003
"I welcome faith to solve the nation's deepest problems ... We're being challenged. We're meeting those challenges because of our faith ... We carried our grief to the Lord Almighty in prayer."
Speech to National Convention of Religious Broadcasters, 10 February 2003, referring to the 11 September terrorist attacks
"The Archive of Bush's Evil
I asked them the other day, would it be okay if I cut a 30-minute tape, a piece of propaganda, no questions, just here -- here it is, here's 30 minutes of me talking; please run it, not only across your airwaves but run it internationally, if you don't mind; I've got something to say about the conflict and our fight against evil.
President George W. Bush - 11/13
It is also a reminder of the great purpose of our great land, and that is to rid this world of evil and terror. The evil ones have roused a might nation, a mighty land. And for however long it takes, I am determined that we will prevail.
President George W. Bush - 11/12
Our nations share an urgent mission, which is to stop and defeat terrorism wherever it may exist. That mission is not directed against those who practice Islam. That mission is directed against evil people.
President George W. Bush - 11/10
The only thing I know certain about him is that he's evil. And I don't know what to believe about him, except that he wants to hurt Americans.
President George W. Bush - 11/10
In a second world war, we learned there is no isolation from evil. We affirmed that some crimes are so terrible they offend humanity, itself. And we resolved that the aggressions and ambitions of the wicked must be opposed early, decisively, and collectively, before they threaten us all. That evil has returned, and that cause is renewed.
President George W. Bush - 11/10
We're confident, too, that history has an author who fills time and eternity with his purpose. We know that evil is real, but good will prevail against it. This is the teaching of many faiths, and in that assurance we gain strength for a long journey.
President George W. Bush - 11/10
I think there is one universal law, and that's terrorism is evil, and all of us must work to reject evil. Murder is evil, and we must reject murder.
President George W. Bush - 11/9
America faces an evil and a determined enemy.
President George W. Bush - 11/9
None of us would ever wish the evil that has been done to our country, yet we have learned that out of evil can come great good.
President George W. Bush - 11/8
We know that we're fighting evil. And the American people are patient. They've heard the call.
President George W. Bush - 11/8
This is an evil man that we're dealing with. And I wouldn't put it past him to develop evil weapons to try to harm civilization as we know it.
President George W. Bush - 11/6
Given the means, our enemies would be a threat to every nation and, eventually, to civilization itself. So we're determined to fight this evil, and fight until we're rid of it. We will not wait for the authors of mass murder to gain the weapons of mass destruction. We act now, because we must lift this dark threat from our age and save generations to come.
President George W. Bush - 11/6
Our war that we now fight is against terror and evil... Our struggle is going to be long and difficult. But we will prevail. We will win. Good will overcome evil."
PARTIAL EXCERPT from archive of George W. Bush public statements on "evil"
Here are a number of stories on apocalyptic Christian Zionism
An Editorial Note:
That leading US politicians now happily appear at public events with, cheer on, and consent to share the stage with a man who advocates a fringe conspiracy theory some would call anti-Semitic and urges a "preemptive" use of nuclear weapons in order to cause widespread nuclear war indicates the extent to which US political and religious culture has lurched far right, towards what some call an "apocalyptic death cult", over the past four decades since the era in which Lyndon Johnson's 1964 presidential campaign devastated Barry Goldwater's presidential hopes by airing just one time a 30 second TV commercial, the "Daisy" ad, that effectively tarred Goldwater as eager for nuclear war. Now, for Republican politicians wooing a key bloc of evangelical GOP voters, public expressions of nuclear blood lust are no longer stigmatized or politically toxic ; they are an asset.
Friends Of Israel and AIPAC Envision "Israel's Final Holocaust" and "Jew Toast"
TTA contributor Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst for Political Research Associates, provides some background on the recent history of "New World Order" conspiracism among John Hagee's fellow Christian Zionists such as Tim LaHaye and Pat Robertson in The Age Old Conspiracy
Previous installments in an ongoing series, by Bruce Wilson, on John Hagee and Christian Zionism:
"Pro Israel" Christian Leader Blames Jews For The Holocaust
"Be Jewish In Five Easy Days", The Twelve Tribes Of Hagee
AIPAC Event Helps Mainstream Allegations Of "Satanic Liberal Jewish Conspiracy"
Holocaust For Zion : CUFI's Christian Zionism Made Simple
GOP House Minority Whip Roy Blunt To Help Nuclear War Advocate
What Secret "Other Matters" Did McCain Discuss With "Apocalypse Now" Hagee ?
Dick Armey Denies Bush Administration Trying To Provoke "End Times"
recent stories from other authors:
Frank Cocozzelli: Donohue Softpeddles Hagee's Catholic Bashing
Max Blumenthal : AIPAC Cheers an Anti-Semitic Holocaust Revisionist (and Abe Foxman Approves)
Sarah Posner: The Goy Who Cried Wolf: The Israel lobby gives America's leading Christian right warmonger a warm welcome
Max Blumenthal : Israel, the US, and the Christian Right: The Menage a Trois From Hell
Bill Berkowitz:Holy Warriors Set Sights on Iran
Esther Kaplan : Christian Zionism all juiced up
Richard Bartholomew : Armey: Bush Believes in Tribulation, but not Trying to Make it Happen
Comments are closed on this story.