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"Christian theologians are wary when Bush uses the words of Jesus to draw neat lines and challenge the whole rest of the world: if you are not for us, or with us, you are against us. Without question, belief in American democracy as one of God’s blessings is part of the move against Iraq. But, as theologians in a number of faiths remind us, the demonization of the enemy—an “us and them” mentality—can inhibit self-examination and repentant action, critical components of any faith." marty

HOW THE BUSH EVANGELICAL WAR PARTY CONTROLS THE U.S. GOVERNMENT "Seldom in modern times have we had a U.S. president speak so prayerfully while done up in his war paint. It recalled those memorial services at the Dover Air Base, or Jimmy Carter on Sunday mornings, or Billy Sunday anytime. One might be moved to snicker, or even to laugh, until one recalls what President Bush 41st said of his son. "He is a man of the spirit," the father once said, trying to allay fears of his son's finger on the nuclear trigger. At one level, the former president meant that the current one is a born-again Christian. At another, more disturbing level, the father knew that his son had substituted the Bible for the bottle. In a timely article, Newsweek magazine detailed how President Bush wasted his young years in riotous living and how, at age 40, he went dry with the aid of a Bible-thumping, fundamentalist West Texas religious group. "It was goodbye Jack Daniels, Hello Jesus," according to a friend from those early days. The problem with middle-aged drunks turned Christian is that they can't sleep without yakking about Jesus, and they won't let anyone else sleep, either. Instead of embracing their religion as a private matter, they flaunt it as a mission to convert. They can become a terrible nuisance, especially to those born into the religion. The drunk-gone-zealot may be reassuring to the troubled family. But it is not altogether reassuring to a modern world facing such a fanatic on the trigger of weapons of mass destruction that are capable of destroying the Earth several times over. Is it possible that through religious zealotry Bush might make himself a nuisance when facing a non-Christian menace? Already he shows signs of violating secular doctrine in this republic that constitutionally separates government and religion. Already the religious talk has stirred the hard Christian right to expect their man to walk the walk and enact favorable legislation. Ministers of the evangelical movement, Newsweek points out, "form the core of the Republican Party, which controls all of the capital for the first time in a half century." " 3.11.03
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BUSH TELLS PALESTINIAN PM GOD MADE HIM ATTACK IRAQ..."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." --Ha'aretz, 06.25.03

The Washington Post subsequently reported that a call to the White House for clarification went unanswered. A number of reports* cautioned that Bush's exact words may have been lost in translation, but no alternate translation or attendee has contradicted the meaning expressed in the Ha'aretz translation. Bush's belief that he is acting as the hand of God has been well documented this past year, and his comments to Abbas wouldn't be the first time Bush has used his religious beliefs to score political points. Anyone who is capable of calling an empty trailer found in Iraq a Weapon of Mass Destruction is perfectly capable of telling a religious Arab that God told him to invade Iraq. --Politex, 07.01.03

Earlier, Jackson Lears in the New York Times reported Bush as saying, "''Events aren't moved by blind change and chance''..., but by ''the hand of a just and faithful God.'' From the outset he has been convinced that his presidency is part of a divine plan, even telling a friend while he was governor of Texas, ''I believe God wants me to run for president.'' This conviction that he is doing God's will has surfaced more openly since 9/11. In his State of the Union addresses and other public forums, he has presented himself as the leader of a global war against evil. As for a war in Iraq, ''we do not claim to know all the ways of Providence, yet we can trust in them.'' God is at work in world affairs, he says, calling for the United States to lead a liberating crusade in the Middle East, and ''this call of history has come to the right country.''"

"And this is the mindset--or rather, the primitive fever-dream--that is now directing the actions of the greatest military power in the history of the world. There can be no doubt that Bush believes literally in the divine character of his mission. He honestly and sincerely believes that whatever "decision" forms in his brain--out of the flux and flow of his own emotional impulses and biochemical reactions, the flattery and cajolements of his sinister advisers, the random scraps of fact, myth and fabrication that dribble into his proudly undeveloped and incurious consciousness--has been planted there, whole and perfected, by God Almighty." --Chris Floyd, God made me do it, says St. George

*What Did Bush Say?...Calls to White House Unreturned.

EVANGELICAL BUSH'S IRAQ WAR IS "DRESS REHERSAL FOR ARMAGEDDON" SAYS HEAD OF JERUSALEM PRAYER TEAM "Armageddon may or may not be televised. But if Dr. Mike Evans has his way, his newly launched Evangelical Israel Broadcasting Network will be broadcasting directly from the scene. Dr. Evans, who heads the Jerusalem Prayer Team, believes a war with Iraq could be a "dress rehearsal for Armageddon" -- the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Although there is by no means unanimity on the question of Iraq and Armageddon, Dr. Evans' reading of the Bible may help explain why many conservative Christian fundamentalists are supporting President Bush's push toward a war with Iraq. " 3.16.03
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WAR HAWKS HAVE PLAYED EVANGELIST BUSH LIKE A HARP "Some Americans may worry about an evangelical crusader controlling the world's biggest nuclear arsenal, but religion - even the fundamentalist variety - is generally considered a good thing in the U.S. Certainly, focusing on religion helps keep attention away from other more contentious motives for invading Iraq, such as oil or world domination. So the media have been hyping Bush's alleged spirituality (including a Newsweek cover story on "Bush and God"), even as the president snubbed pleas for peace from world religious leaders and last week tested a 21,000-pound bomb in preparation for unloading it on people in Iraq. (Blessed are the bombed children.) Of course, it's possible that Bush is deeply religious, whatever than means. More likely, Bush is simply an empty vessel, a hollow shell, a person of weak character and limited life experience who is therefore highly susceptible to the control of a small, determined group of ideological hard-liners bent on asserting U.S. power more forcefully in the world. " 3.17.03
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CORRIDORS OF POWER IN WASHINGTON FILLED WITH BIBLE CARRYING TRUE BELIEVERS WHO SUBSCRIBE TO BUSH'S EVANGELICAL VEIW OF THE WORLD "Nobody spends more time on his knees...than George W Bush. He is famously born again - at the age of 40 it was goodbye Jack Daniels and hello Jesus. He has never looked back. So while there are plenty of rational people giving rational advice about policy matters in the Bush White House there is also a channel, an input, from on high. The Bush administration hums to the sound of prayer. Prayer meetings take place day and night. It's not uncommon to see White House functionaries hurrying down corridors carrying bibles. A friend who works in the press office of 10 Downing Street tells me that - even in these difficult times - such a sight would be highly unusual. Doubtless the president and his people have been praying earnestly that Saddam Hussein might fall under a bus. But if no bus comes they feel justified in what they have decided to do. Having made the decision to fight the good fight - and have no doubt about it President Bush has made that decision - the nagging doubts, the rational fears, the worldly misgivings - all those things felt so strongly by post-religious Europeans - can be set aside. President Bush looks as tired as Prime Minister Blair sometimes, but never as worried. Both are religious men but the simple American faith - with heaven and hell, good and evil and right and wrong - appears rather better suited to wartime conditions. " 3.17.03
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BUSH, LIKE FUNDAMENTALISTS IN GENERAL, IS LEADING THE COUNTRY ASTRAY WITH HIS MISPLACED BELIEF IN HIS OWN ABSOLUTE CERTAINITY "Deeply religious people are, by definition, certain that they are right about life's large questions. It is in the nature of religious belief to have complete confidence about the (unprovable) existence of a particular deity and assurance in a specific interpretation of some set of religious writings that purport to reveal God's will. For some reason, perhaps the love of a good story, it also appears necessary to create a metaphysical adversary for our chosen divinity who, out of pure, unexplained corruption, competes for our allegiance and immortal souls. It is this cosmic conflict that gives rise to the two-alternative view of human events that has such destructive implications for relationships between people and nations in a diverse and ambiguous world. Moral certainty is the reward of the true believer. The ambiguities that beset the rest of us do not weigh on those who are sure that they are right. There is great comfort in this, and the deeply religious among us think of themselves as "chosen." What is interesting is how much fundamentalists of dissimilar faiths resemble each other in their conviction that they have a monopoly on the truth and in their intolerance of those who believe differently....In 1993, just before running for governor of Texas, Mr. Bush told a Jewish reporter that only believers in Jesus go to heaven. Contained in that statement was a foreshadowing of the arrogance that now amazes (and frightens) much of the world as he prepares to impose a Pax Americana on an Arab country. The justification here is that we are bringing freedom to the Iraqi people - whether or not they have asked for it. This is, in the president's words, "God's gift to every human being in the world." " 3.17.03
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DEEP ROOTS OF BUSH'S HATRED FOR SADDAM ""A reformed alcoholic and born-again Christian, Bush had courted the fundamentalist Christian Right and been tutored by them politically and spiritually. Billy Graham had ushered him into the faith; the firebrand Christian radio host Rush Limbaugh was his guest of honour at important baseball games... He lists 'renewing my faith' above 'getting married' and 'having children' among the 'defining moments' of his life. His time as Governor of Texas had been one long experiment in 'faith-based' politics. And in seeking their deliverance from exile from the White House, the gritty Christian Right from Texas and the South, who loath anything over-learned, forged an alliance with the super-intellectual East Coast Zionist movement around Wolfowitz and Perle. And soon George W. Bush would be talking the same bellicose language about Iraq." 3.17.03
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"Some wonder if the president might be influenced by evangelical teachings that envision an end-of-the-world battle between Israel and its enemies. "It would be dangerous for a president to take a particular theology like that and apply it to world events," says Charles Colson, an evangelical commentator and former Nixon aide." --U.S. News

"The origins of Bush's flirtation with End Times rhetoric, however, are no more remote than the New York Times Best Seller List, specifically the prophetic novels of Hal Lindsey ("Blood Moon") and Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' "Left Behind" series. Selling in the millions, these books are a florid updating of a 19th century school of bible-based soothsaying called "premillenial dispensationalism." Radio and TV evangelists, including the ubiquitous Jerry Falwell peddle this gibberish to millions." --lyons

IS THE WHITE HOUSE PULLING A "NIXON," PAINTING BUSH AS A RELIGIOUS FANATIC WHO CAN'T BE REASONED WITH? ""Bush & God," the cover of Newsweek announces, as if the two were business partners. That's what the White House wants us to think. It is mounting a massive campaign to paint the president as a man on a divine mission, a man who sees himself as an agent of God. Some of the reasons for this PR ploy are obvious. It's so much easier to go to war if we believe that God is on our, and our leader's, side. Wrap the flag around God, and who can question your moral credibility? If Bush stands with God, those who actively oppose his war must be down below with Satan. If Bush is so sincerely religious, those who question his motives must be misguided. Such a spiritual man would never send others to their death for crass motives like power and oil. Surely, he must have higher ethical principles in view. There is a risk in this strategy. It makes Bush look like a fanatic. That could easily drive some of the undecided into the antiwar camp. But making Bush look like a fanatic might very well be the point. If he really believes he is on a mission from God, why would he care what the French, the Russians, or even the American people think? Nothing can stop a religious fanatic from doing God's work on earth. As antiwar sentiment mounts, the White House may be using this "Bush and God" gambit as a way to say: Forget it. March and lobby as much as you want. Nothing can stop this Christian soldier from marching out to war. This is a new twist on Richard Nixon's famous "madman" theory. Nixon wanted the North Vietnamese to believe that he was so irrational, he could easily nuke them into oblivion if they did not settle the war on his terms. Now the White House says that George W. is so irrationally sunk in his Christian beliefs, he must have U.S. policy settled on his terms. " 3.11.03
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BUSH IS FIRMLY UNDER THE THUMB OF THE HAWKS, BUT THE TRADE OFF IS HE GETS TO PLAY RIGHT HAND OF GOD "There is no doubt that Bush's hawkish advisors, who have Iraq as our Enemy No. 1 and coveted U.S. dominance of the Persian Gulf, are having their day with the president. ABC-TV's Ted Koppel Nightline program recently discussed reports that Bush has been influenced by the Project for the New American Century, which proposes that the United States assume military control of the Gulf region. Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz are members of the advisory committee for the project. It is a pity that only the ultra conservatives influence Bush, a neophyte in foreign affairs. He apparently hears no other voices. Representatives of church and peace groups are not welcome to the White House these days. Bush did meet with the papal emissary in the White House recently, but Bush aides tried to play it down. Oval Office news coverage was limited to photographers. That's a sad commentary on the president's ability to tolerate other points of view, particularly on the question of war and peace. " 3.11.03
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EVANGELIST BUSH ACTUALLY BELIEVES WHATEVER HE DOES IS THE WILL OF GOD. "President Bush's war plans are risky, but Mr. Bush is no gambler. In fact he denies the very existence of chance. "Events aren't moved by blind change and chance" he has said, but by "the hand of a just and faithful God." From the outset he has been convinced that his presidency is part of a divine plan, even telling a friend while he was governor of Texas, "I believe God wants me to run for president." This conviction that he is doing God's will has surfaced more openly since 9/11. " 3.11.03
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HAVE BUSH'S EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS MOVED GOVERNMENT FURTHER TO THE RIGHT? "People who describe themselves as evangelical, born-again or charismatic Christians could not fail to dismissal and covert contempt. Inevitably, an alternative media emerged and these alternatives - talk radio, conservative columnists (who had previously functioned as gadflies or tokens), tabloid television and Rupert Murdoch's Fox News TV network - have become so successful here that the entire media have, on balance, moved right. During Friday night's prime-time presidential press conference, the most emotional moment came when George Bush said he would never be able to meet or thank the millions of Americans who offered their prayers for him. This was not some general comment. This week I have been staying in the heart of Texas in "Christian accommodation" run by a couple who are members of a very large internet operation known as the Presidential Prayer Team. I didn't know it existed, but it is huge and it caused Bush to tear up in front of the White House press corps. Every few weeks, an email goes out to those whose email addresses are registered with an office affiliated with the White House and, on behalf of Bush, they are asked for their prayers over a specific challenge facing the President and his cabinet....The number of Americans who are evangelical, charismatic or conservative Christians now exceeds 100 million. The centre has shifted. Control of the national debate has shifted. The entire country has shifted." 3.11.03
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JIMMY CARTER SAYS SOUTHERN BAPTISTS BACKING WAR HAVE "COMMITMENT TO ISRAEL BASED ON...FINAL DAYS THEOLOGY" "As a Christian and as a president who was severely provoked by international crises, I became thoroughly familiar with the principles of a just war, and it is clear that a substantially unilateral attack on Iraq does not meet these standards. This is an almost universal conviction of religious leaders, with the most notable exception of a few spokesmen of the Southern Baptist Convention who are greatly influenced by their commitment to Israel based on eschatological, or final days, theology." 3.09.03
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