A minister is preaching to his flock of a Sunday.
"The road to Hell," he exhorts, "is paved with champagne, sports cars and loose women!" Suddenly, from a distant back pew, a plaintive voice is raised: "Oh Death, where is thy sting?"
If the President of the United States is right, we’ll soon all be leaping about like the victims of a plague of Killer bees - and I don’t mean as a result of the kind of incompetence and lack of leadership he’s been accused of by House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
(Who has clearly dropped the gloves as well as any semblance of reserve; there’ll be no more Ms Nice Gal-ing from her anymore - as according to Pelosi, there’s no point in pretending the American Emperor is anything but bare-ass naked.)
Now it’s The Village Voice reporting on that which has been being whispered about in the corridors of power for some time – the President is a believer in the The Rapture. The End of Days.
The end - in fact - of everything.
We all knew Bush was born again; we’ve all been aware for some time that he’s convinced he’s not only got a direct pipeline to The Almighty, but also that The Almighty should consider himself fortunate in the reverse being accurate as well.
(We can only hope the leader of the free world realizes he is but a fallible human who in acting with God-given free will hasn’t got it exactly completely positively right in every circumstance with the war in Iraq; it would have to rate as the worst case of scape-goating ever if he tried to pin this screwed up conflagration on the tail of the Holy Spirit.)
But now with evidence coming from all directions - heard everywhere from the ‘Bush and God’ cover of the March 6, 2004 Newsweek, to The Daily Show, and most recently from the above-mentioned Village Voice article by Rick Perlstein – it seems undeniable that a goodly part of Middle East policy is being decided with the input and influence of fundamentalist Christians; according to Perlstein, the National Security Council's top Middle East aide consults with ‘apocalyptic Christians’ on a weekly basis.
Their goal? To ensure American policy continues to oppose a Palestinian State.
Love of Israel? Not exactly: As Perlstein writes – “They fear an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza might enable just that, and they object on the grounds that all of Old Testament Israel belongs to the Jews. Until Israel is intact and Solomon's temple rebuilt, they believe, Christ won't come back to earth.”
Three weeks after officials met with the Apostolic Congress (the ‘Christian Voice in the Nation's Capital’ they call themselves) where they voiced their concerns, Perlstein reports President George W. Bush “…reversed long-standing U.S. policy, endorsing Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank in exchange for Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip.”
I'm not questioning the decision per se - but the motivation behind it and the individuals who influenced it give me just about the biggest case of the willies I've ever experienced. It's creepy.
It wasn’t long ago that the biggest worry concerning Bush’s Muscular Christianity was the influence he clearly wished to bring to bear upon the subject of teaching creationism in schools. Some politicians (Al Gore included) not wishing to offend their more religious constituents, agreed that creationism could be taught – in religious classes. Not so Bush. He felt it should be placed up alongside evolution as one of a pair of reasonable explanations of the beginning of the world.
Since then the President and his henchpersons have been making inroads on abortion, and are currently doing everything in their power to force an end to legal gay marriages. A new legislated morality appears to be in the works - a morality based on the beliefs of a singular group of fundamentalists who couldn't be happier to have one of their own in the top spot.
I’d feel a lot more comfortable about this if – wait… there’s nothing in the world that could make me comfortable with any of this!
Because beyond the creepiness of the President of the United States discarding scientific thought in favour of bible stories (which many thoughtful, educated theological experts now agree are probably best understood as metaphor) in doing so he not only disregards every other religion and school of religious thought (not to mention those who question the existence of any God) but makes life and death decisions with the assistance of a shadowy group of advisors; unelected, un-appointed and unknown to the American people.
Now that stings.