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Religion as used for war and politics

Posted by P. McGrath on 4/19/03 at 19:43 (116597)

Bush puts God on his side

By Tom Carver
BBC Washington correspondent


Before September 11, President George W Bush kept his evangelical Christian beliefs largely to himself.

He had turned to God at the age of 40 as a way of kicking alcoholism, and his faith had kept him on the straight and narrow ever since, giving him the drive to reach the White House.

But all that changed on the day of the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

Those close to Mr Bush say that day he discovered his life's mission.

He became convinced that God was calling him to engage the forces of evil in battle, and this one time baseball-team owner from Texas did not shrink from the task.

'Angels' country'

'We are in a conflict between good and evil. And America will call evil by its name,' Mr Bush told West Point graduates in a speech last year.

In this battle, he placed his country firmly on the side of the angels.

'There is wonder-working power in the goodness and idealism of the American people,' he said in this year's State of the Union address.

This concept of placing America in God's camp sticks in the throat of a lot of American clergy.

'It is by no means certain that we are as pure as the driven snow or that our international policy is so pure,' says Fritz Ritsch, Presbyterian minister in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Reverend Ritsch says it also makes their job as clerics harder by giving Christians in America an easy way out.

They do not need to examine their souls because their president has told them they are on the side of good.

'There is an opportunity here for spiritual enrichment in this country that is just getting missed.'

Battle with anti-Christ

In fact, nearly all the mainline churches in America oppose this war, including Mr Bush's own church, the United Methodists.

Does Bush believe he fights a titanic battle with the anti-Christ? Mr Bush is certainly not the first president to invoke God in time of war, but his approach is markedly different from his predecessors.

During America's Civil War, Abraham Lincoln did not claim that God was on his side.

In fact, in his famous second inaugural address, he said the war was a curse on both armies: 'He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offence came.'

Yet Mr Bush's rhetoric does have a huge audience.

One in three American Christians call themselves evangelicals and many evangelicals believe the second coming of Christ will occur in the Middle East after a titanic battle with the anti-Christ.

Does the president believe he is playing a part in the final events of Armageddon?

If true, it is an alarming thought.

But he would not be alone, as 59% of all Americans believe that what is written in the Bible's Book of Revelation will come to pass.

Winning formula

Tim LaHaye is an evangelical minister who has written 10 best-selling novels based on the Book of Revelations.

With exquisite timing, his 11th, called Armageddon, will be published next week.

By combining the apocalypse with a Tom Clancy style, Mr LaHaye has found a winning formula.

After the attacks on the World Trade Center, the minister became America's best-selling novelist in 2001, beating even John Grisham.

In his latest novel we see the anti-Christ, armed with nuclear weapons, setting up camp at New Babylon in Iraq.

The millions of Americans who believe in the biblical prophecies see this war in a very particular way and among them, George Bush's stark talk of good versus evil plays very well.

If America prevails, millions will say it was divinely ordained.

But many others will suspect that it had more to do with the power of American weaponry than the active intervention of the Almighty.


Taken from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2921345.stm

Re: Religion as used for war and politics

Steve P on 4/19/03 at 20:00 (116598)

Just more sour grapes.

Americans support Operation Iraqi Freedom by roughly 70-20.

A majority of British & Australians support it too.

It'll frost this guy when Bush carries 40 states next year.......who knows, maybe he'll even head back to England.


Re: Religion as used for war and politics

marie on 4/20/03 at 19:28 (116634)

All I know is that I was glad to hear that my favorite Republican Senator and Secretary of Foreign Relations, spoke out against any war plans with Syria and Iran. SENATOR RICHARD LUGAR.


Re: Religion as used for war and politics

BGCPed on 4/22/03 at 22:58 (116882)

So then, most of the evil in the muslim world that is directed at their own or exported as terror on others has nothing to do with a fervent belief in their God?
I know it is mostly a jealous hatred cloaked in religion. I think you have bigger fish to fry. Perhaps your time would be better served educating voters in Dade county on proper use of voting machines so your best guy can win Pres in 04. Have volunteers write Martin Sheen on their hands like a cheat sheet so they dont get confused in the booth

I am not deeply religious but when I think of Al Gore being at the helm in these times.....there must be a god

Re: Religion as used for war and politics

Leon S. on 4/23/03 at 17:50 (116954)

I support this preemptive war against terrorism as a defining moment in American foreign policy. As we have seen so far, this action on our part has already sent a message to our enemies in other countries that have been supporting terrorism for years. Both Syria and N. Korea are talking and there have been no terrorist acts against us in spite of everyones fears. I also didn't think it was necessary for Bush to say that we did this because Saddam had WPMs because we would have been justified whether he did or not. I do agree with the original post, however, in that the use of God has no place in the rhetoric of waging war. I know it is natural for people to pray for the success of our efforts and in that context, it's acceptable. But I do get fried when religious references get inserted in every reference to what we do. Bush's allegience to Franklyn Graham and his invitation to speak at the Pentagon is an insult to everyone who is not affiliated with that Christian sect. He constantly demeans not only the Muslims (another story) but all other religious beliefs as well. He takes the anti-semitic comments that his father made with Nixon to another level.

Re: Religion as used for war and politics

BGCPed on 4/23/03 at 22:04 (116971)

When did GWB make anti-semetic comments and what was the exact context? I also have not heard him make anti-muslim comments. It may not be a pc opinion but bottom line is Islam/Muslims/Saudi/IraqiRegime has been responsible for majority of terrorism. I know I know dont forget France and Russia's contribution.

Something to remember. sep of church and state doesnt mean Pres cant throw a God Bless in a speech. All the Constitution says is seperation of church and state and govt cant establish a religion. After the job he is doing so far I dont give a rats butt if he yells Im goin to Disneyworld after a speech. I am secure enough in my beliefs that I dont let it bother me cause the guy seems sincere and at least he does what he says.

Re: Religion as used for war and politics

Leon S on 4/24/03 at 09:19 (116985)

It wasn't GWB that made the remarks. I hope I didn't mislead anyone. It was Billy Graham in conversation with Pres.Nixon and recorded on tape making derogatory statements about the Jews in the media and some other offensive comments that I can't recall off hand right now. My comments about Franklyn Graham were pointed not at his comments about Islam, which I agree, may not be politically correct, but at his Fundamentalist preaching which denigrates all other religions that are different from his and therefore in need of conversions. It is disrespectful and does not belong at a public address at the Pentagon. My belief is that one's religion is a personal matter and should stay that way. If the President want's to say God bless America at the end of a speech, fine but when politicians invoke specific religious symbols in public forums, I think they are crossing the line. Religion belongs in the home and church or temple.I don't like prostelitizing or evangelical doctrine aimed at converting other people.

Re: Religion as used for war and politics

BGCPed on 4/24/03 at 12:23 (116995)

I dont either, now those guys that come around to the house and push pamphlets on you really irk me.

Re: Religion as used for war and politics

Leon S. on 4/24/03 at 14:18 (116998)

That's what I was getting at.

Re: Religion as used for war and politics

john h on 4/24/03 at 18:38 (117015)

Anyone who suggest we cannot or the President or the Members of Congress say God Bless America needs to have a martini and relax. It is written on our currency. God can mean anything one wants it to and refers to no religion. If you do not believe in God then you will just have to live with it. I hear lots of thing I do not like and accept it. We have some people who will object to anything no matter what it is and we just have to accept that.With around 275 million people there are going to be a lot of different thinking and you cannot accommodate everyone..