When we go to war in Iraq we will do so to summon the Messiah. That is what the Christian right believes. The final battle to rid the world of all non-believers, non-Christians, more exactly non-Evangelical Christians, is going to take place very soon at Armageddon in Israel. The Bible tells us so.
Rev. Jerry Falwell believes fully, and un-equivocally that we must go to war with Iraq to set in motion the cataclysmic events that will ensure the second coming of Jesus Christ. War with Iraq will lead to the end of the World, as we know it. God will reign and Jerry Falwell will sit at the right hand of God.
Israel will be no more. Israel will be destroyed during the apocalypse. Any Jews that survive anywhere will be converted to Christianity. Or more precisely, Evangelical Christianity.
The Moslems, the Jews, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Shintos, the Animists, the Voodooists, the Catholics, et al, will be converted to the Evangelical Christian legions of the Lord commanded by Jerry Falwell.
If you believe otherwise, if you believe that Biblical prophesies as interpreted by the Christian right are so much lunacy, you are in the helpless majority. Because the Christian right has extraordinary influence in the administration of President George Bush. George Bush is one of their number. He does not attempt to hide this; he is quite deliberate in his public discussions of his re-birth, and his salvation. He was saved from a life of excess when he embraced the rigorous teachings of the Christian Evangelicals.
The Christian right managed, through the rebirth of George Bush, to gain a good measure of influence over the most powerful nation on this earth. The Christian right believes that only the apocalypse will purify the souls of the heretics, and the United States will be the instrument to bring forth God’s wrath. The great resources, the military might, of the United States is part of the divine plan to bring the Apocalypse upon us.
Jerry Falwell has made the truth about the administration's desperate attempts to go to war with Iraq frighteningly clear. Falwell has said publicly he believes Mohammad the Prophet was evil. Falwell said that Mohammad was a terrorist. That is why he and the Christian fundamentalists support Israel in their battle against the Palestinians. Because the battle Israel is fighting against the Moslem Palestinians is to reclaim the lands of biblical Israel. Evangelicals believe the lands of ancient Israel must be reunited in order to fulfill the biblical prophesy of Christ’s return to earth.
That is why George Bush makes no effort to stop Ariel Sharon’s furious attempt to drive the Palestinians from the occupied territories. Sharon will restore the ancient Hebrew Kingdom, including Judea and Samaria, provinces which make up the modern-day West Bank. George Bush makes no effort to protect the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat because the Evangelicals tell him not to.
When President Bush told the Israelis to withdraw their tanks and troops from the occupied territories last April, Falwell sent him a letter of protest. Falwell had his followers send one hundred thousand emails to President Bush to support his demand. Israel did not withdraw its tanks and troops and George Bush stopped calling. George Bush has given Ariel Sharon a free hand since.
The Evangelicals are Bush’s core support. They are the people who helped him defeat John McCain, who once called Jerry Falwell "evil". in the crucial South Carolina primary. Falwell’s Evangelicals called thousands of South Carolina voters to inform them that McCain has a black child. (McCain and his wife Cindy adopted a little girl from Bangladesh.) These righteous people do not believe in the mixing of the races. The Bible tells them the mixing of race is an abomination.
These same pious people, who await the coming of Christ, find nothing wrong with murdering doctors who perform abortions. These virtuous people and their leader are the same people who have condemned homosexuals, and will never give women the right to an abortion. These devout people regard other religious beliefs as heresy. They want to go to war with Iraq so that millions will die in the apocalyptic horror that will follow for their own salvation.
What is frightening is the language President Bush uses when he describes Saddam and others as the "Evil Ones," the "Evil Doers," to incite the American people to war. They are the same descriptions; carrying the same religious connotations, that Jerry Falwell and his flock employ to describe non-believers. George Bush is a child of their beliefs. George Bush seems to believe he and Ariel Sharon are locked in a struggle together against the "Evil Ones" for the world’s salvation.
Sharon represents the key to the coming salvation. The Evangelicals adore him. Sharon has said often he wants to reclaim the land of ancient Israel. He believes the Palestinians have a homeland called Jordan. He does not want peace with the Palestinians, and he does not want Iraq to remain a threat to Israel. Sharon and Falwell have formed a partnership based on the lunacy of biblical prophecies, and the insanity of Sharon’s vision of the resurrection of the ancient Hebrew Kingdom.
We, the majority of Americans, are only observers, and have no real influence to stop what will surely occur. There may be a reason for the war. Saddam is truly a very bad person. He should be removed. But he is not the only bad person who runs a country. Where do we stop? Or do we stop at the second coming?
What worries me is that we may be going to war to fulfill what a few deluded people believe to be biblical prophecy. And what really worries me is that we have a President who might believe this nonsense, too.
Morgan Strong a former professor of Middle Eastern History at S.U.N.Y. Poughkeepsie, is a consultant to 60Minutes on the Middle East. He has written for Playboy, USA Today, Vanity Fair, and many other publications.
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