The US Government's
Agenda: Christ's Second Coming? US Christian
fundamentalists are driving Bush's Middle East policy (Posted here by Wes Penre for Illuminati News, April 29, 2004)
understand what is happening in the Middle East, you must first
understand what is happening in Texas. To understand what is happening
there, you should read the resolutions passed at the state's Republican
party conventions last month. Take a look, for example, at the decisions
made in Harris County, which covers much of Houston.
The delegates began by nodding through a few uncontroversial matters:
homosexuality is contrary to the truths ordained by God; "any mechanism to
process, license, record, register or monitor the ownership of guns"
should be repealed; income tax, inheritance tax, capital gains tax and
corporation tax should be abolished; and immigrants should be deterred by
electric fences. Thus fortified, they turned to the real issue: the
affairs of a small state 7,000 miles away. It was then, according to a
participant, that the "screaming and near fist fights" began.
I don't know what the original motion said, but apparently it was "watered
down significantly" as a result of the shouting match. The motion they
adopted stated that Israel has an undivided claim to Jerusalem and the
West Bank, that Arab states should be "pressured" to absorb refugees from
Palestine, and that Israel should do whatever it wishes in seeking to
eliminate terrorism. Good to see that the extremists didn't prevail then.
But why should all this be of such pressing interest to the people of a
state which is seldom celebrated for its fascination with foreign affairs?
The explanation is slowly becoming familiar to us, but we still have some
difficulty in taking it seriously.
In the United States, several million people have succumbed to an
extraordinary delusion. In the 19th century, two immigrant preachers
cobbled together a series of unrelated passages from the Bible to create
what appears to be a consistent narrative: Jesus will return to Earth when
certain preconditions have been met. The first of these was the
establishment of a state of Israel. The next involves Israel's occupation
of the rest of its "biblical lands" (most of the Middle East), and the
rebuilding of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the Dome of the
Rock and al-Aqsa mosques. The legions of the antichrist will then be
deployed against Israel, and their war will lead to a final showdown in
the valley of Armageddon. The Jews will either burn or convert to
Christianity, and the Messiah will return to Earth.
What makes the story so appealing to Christian fundamentalists is that
before the big battle begins, all "true believers" (ie those who believe
what they believe) will be lifted out of their clothes and wafted up to
heaven during an event called the Rapture. Not only do the worthy get to
sit at the right hand of God, but they will be able to watch, from the
best seats, their political and religious opponents being devoured by
boils, sores, locusts and frogs, during the seven years of Tribulation
The true believers are now seeking to bring all this about. This means
staging confrontations at the old temple site (in 2000, three US
Christians were deported for trying to blow up the mosques there),
sponsoring Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, demanding ever
more US support for Israel, and seeking to provoke a final battle with the
Muslim world/Axis of Evil/United Nations/ European Union/France or whoever
the legions of the antichrist turn out to be.
The believers are convinced that they will soon be rewarded for their
efforts. The antichrist is apparently walking among us, in the guise of
Kofi Annan, Javier Solana, Yasser Arafat or, more plausibly, Silvio
Berlusconi. The Wal-Mart corporation is also a candidate (in my view a
very good one), because it wants to radio-tag its stock, thereby exposing
humankind to the Mark of the Beast.
By clicking on www.raptureready.com, you can
discover how close you might
be to flying out of your pyjamas. The infidels among us should take note
that the Rapture Index currently stands at 144, just one point below the
critical threshold, beyond which the sky will be filled with floating
nudists. Beast Government, Wild Weather and Israel are all trading at the
maximum five points (the EU is debat ing its constitution, there was a
freak hurricane in the south Atlantic, Hamas has sworn to avenge the
killing of its leaders), but the second coming is currently being delayed
by an unfortunate decline in drug abuse among teenagers and a weak showing
by the antichrist (both of which score only two).
We can laugh at these people, but we should not dismiss them. That their
beliefs are bonkers does not mean they are marginal. American pollsters
believe that 15-18% of US voters belong to churches or movements which
subscribe to these teachings. A survey in 1999 suggested that this figure
included 33% of Republicans. The best-selling contemporary books in the US
are the 12 volumes of the Left Behind series, which provide what is
usually described as a "fictionalised" account of the Rapture (this,
apparently, distinguishes it from the other one), with plenty of dripping
details about what will happen to the rest of us. The people who believe
all this don't believe it just a little; for them it is a matter of life
eternal and death.
And among them are some of the most powerful men in America. John
Ashcroft, the attorney general, is a true believer, so are several
prominent senators and the House majority leader, Tom DeLay. Mr DeLay (who
is also the co-author of the marvellously named DeLay-Doolittle Amendment,
postponing campaign finance reforms) travelled to Israel last year to tell
the Knesset that "there is no middle ground, no moderate position worth
So here we have a major political constituency - representing much of the
current president's core vote - in the most powerful nation on Earth,
which is actively seeking to provoke a new world war. Its members see the
invasion of Iraq as a warm-up act, as Revelation (9:14-15) maintains that
four angels "which are bound in the great river Euphrates" will be
released "to slay the third part of men". They batter down the doors of
the White House as soon as its support for Israel wavers: when Bush asked
Ariel Sharon to pull his tanks out of Jenin in 2002, he received 100,000
angry emails from Christian fundamentalists, and never mentioned the
The electoral calculation, crazy as it appears, works like this.
Governments stand or fall on domestic issues. For 85% of the US
electorate, the Middle East is a foreign issue, and therefore of secondary
interest when they enter the polling booth. For 15% of the electorate, the
Middle East is not just a domestic matter, it's a personal one: if the
president fails to start a conflagration there, his core voters don't get
to sit at the right hand of God. Bush, in other words, stands to lose
fewer votes by encouraging Israeli aggression than he stands to lose by
restraining it. He would be mad to listen to these people. He would also
be mad not to.