Stockholm, 12 Oktober 2004
Assalamu'alaikum wr wbr.
WAHABIYIN HADI KALIAN KETINGGALAN KERETA API, ITU
GEORGE W. BUSH MEMBAWA MISI EVANGELIS
Stockholm - SWEDIA.
MAKANYA KALIAN WAHABIYIN HADI JANGAN HIDUP DALAM BATOK KELAPA, AKHIRNYA KETINGALAN KERETA API, TIDAK TAHU SIAPA DIBALIK GEORGE W. BUSH ITU YANG MENGOBARKAN PERANG SALIB
"Jelas Sekali sang Ahlul Bid'ah Ahmad Sudirman pengekor alhabla Hasan Tiro menuduh Sumitro seenak udelnya saja. Coba anda Jelaskan di mimbar bebas ini Siapa itu Kaum Evangelis yang menyokong G.W Bush ? Siapa saja Orang Orang penting yang berada di belakang kaum itu ? Siapa dan darimana yang mendanai kaum Evangelis itu untuk menghacurkan negara islam Afganistan dan negara irak ?" (Hadi , email@example.com , Tue, 12 Oct 2004 09:12:51 +0700)
Baiklah Hadi di Jakarta, Indonesia.
Wahai wahabiyin Hadi arek betawi yang kerjanya hanya membicarakan masalah jenggot dan kumis ala wahabi alias salafi, sehingga tidak tahu siapa yang berada dibelakang George W. Bush ketika mengobarkan perang salib melawan Afghanistan dan Irak.
Dibawah ini dilampirkan beberapa tulisan tentang George W. Bush pengagum Yesus dan pengobar perang salib.
"President Bush has become the most prominent evangelical Christian in America at a time when evangelical Christianity has become the pre-eminent religious bloc in the country. With the presidential campaign heating up, this potent nexis is prompting widespread interest in the culture and beliefs of evangelical Christians and how they intersect with a president's policies"
Silahkan baca sendiri dan komentari sendiri kalau perlu kirimkan kepada George W. Bush melalui home pagenya georgewbush.com .
Bagi yang ada minat untuk menanggapi silahkan tujukan atau cc kan kepada firstname.lastname@example.org agar supaya sampai kepada saya dan bagi yang ada waktu untuk membaca tulisan-tulisan saya yang telah lalu yang menyinggung tentang Khilafah Islam dan Undang Undang Madinah silahkan lihat di kumpulan artikel di HP http://www.dataphone.se/~ahmad
Hanya kepada Allah kita memohon pertolongan dan hanya kepada Allah kita memohon petunjuk, amin *.*
From: "H4D!" <email@example.com>
To: "H4D!" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, "warwick aceh" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Redaksi Waspada" <email@example.com>, "Redaksi Satu Net" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Redaksi Detik" <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "MT Dharminta" <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, "Matius Dharminta" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: AHLUL BID'AH AHMAD SUDIRMAN MENUDUH SUMITRO TIDAK MEMPUYAI DASAR DAN BUKTI KUAT
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2004 09:12:51 +0700
AHLUL BID'AH AHMAD SUDIRMAN MENUDUH SUMITRO TIDAK MEMPUYAI DASAR DAN BUKTI KUAT
Assalamualaikum wr wb
Jelas Sekali sang Ahlul Bid'ah Ahmad Sudirman pengekor alhabla Hasan Tiro menuduh Sumitro seenak udelnya saja. Coba anda Jelaskan di mimbar bebas ini Siapa itu Kaum Evangelis yang menyokong G.W Bush ? Siapa saja Orang Orang penting yang berada di belakang kaum itu ? Siapa dan darimana yang mendanai kaum Evangelis itu untuk menghacurkan negara islam Afganistan dan negara irak ?
Coba anda jelaskan lengkap kalau Saudara Ahmad Sudirman tidak bisa menjelaskan dan melampirkan bukti bukti yang kuat di mimbar bebas ini akan semakin kuat dan jayalah gelar anda "ahlul bid'ah" Ahmad Sudirman yang tukang mengada ada dan menebar fitnah di mimbar bebas ini.
Bush's Messiah Complex
When George W. Bush ran for President in 2000, he said the United States must be "humble" in the world. Now he has cast humility aside and replaced it with hubris. Supremely confident in his gut instincts, wrapped up in a fundamentalist belief system, endowed with the most powerful military of all time, and unchecked by Congress, Bush feels he can "rid the world of evil"--at the barrel of a gun.
A picture emerges from the President's public statements--and even from such adulatory accounts as Bob Woodward's Bush at War and David Frum's The Right Man--of a President on a divine mission.
Call it messianic militarism.
He may have discarded the word "crusade," but it's a crusade that he's on. As
former Bush speechwriter Frum puts it, "War has made him . . . a crusader after
While there's nothing wrong with a President trying to make the world a better place, when the man in the Oval Office feels divinely inspired to reshape the world through violent means, that's a scary prospect.
The grandiosity of Bush's vision can no longer be denied.
"Most Presidents have high hopes. Some have grandiose visions of what they will achieve, and he was firmly in that camp," Woodward writes. Bush told him, "I will seize the opportunity to achieve big goals," adding, "There is nothing bigger than to achieve world peace."
And the way to achieve that, he believes, is often through war. "As we think through Iraq, we may or may not attack. I have no idea, yet. But it will be for the objective of making the world more peaceful," he told Woodward. Bush seemed to understand that this missionary policy might get him into trouble ("Condi didn't want me to talk about it"), but he persisted, invoking it again in the context of Afghanistan ("I wanted us to be viewed as the liberator") and North Korea.
Bush's now famous comment, "I loathe Kim Jong Il," which he uttered to Woodward, was in the context of the North Korean leader starving his people and torturing prisoners. "It appalls me," Bush said, adding that his reaction "is visceral. Maybe it's my religion, maybe it's my--but I feel passionate about this."
Though his Administration seems to be taking the diplomatic route toward the Korean nuclear crisis, Bush's eagerness to confront Pyongyang should not be underestimated. "I'm not foolish," he said, acknowledging North Korea's ability to inflict massive casualties on the South. But he downplayed the problems that an overthrow might cause. "They tell me, we don't need to move too fast, because the financial burdens on people will be so immense if we try to--if this guy were to topple. Who would take care of--I just don't buy that."
When Bush calls Kim Jong Il a "pygmy" and insists on North Korea's "axis of evil" status, such language reverberates all the way to Pyongyang. And it is not reassuring to hear Bush loosely suggest the possibility of war with North Korea. At a January press conference on Iraq and North Korea, a reporter started to ask, "If we do have to go to war . . . " and Bush interjected, "With which country?" This is a flippancy about war not seen since the early Reagan years.
What we know about Bush is that he's a man who places an inordinate amount of trust in the seat of his pants. "I'm not a textbook player. I'm a gut player," he told Woodward, who added that Bush used similar phrases a dozen times in the course of the interview he had with the President.
In medieval times, the measurement of a foot depended on the size of the king's own foot. It was called the regal foot, and now we have the regal gut.
"Bush has an uncanny instinct for when to fight, when to concede, when to run, when to wait out, when to start a venture," writes Carolyn B. Thompson and James W. Ware in The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush. While his business failings don't seem to justify such praise, the authors keep pouring it on: "Much of Bush's success as a leader is explained by his willingness to trust his gut."
But what if Bush gets indigestion? What if his gut gives him bad advice?
Bush carries around two vast war writs, one from September 2001 and the other from October 2002. Combined, they give him unprecedented, unilateral power to throw around whenever his gut tells him to. To trust one man's instinct to be infallible is too much to ask of a democracy.
Writes Woodward: "It's pretty clear that Bush's role as politician, President, and commander in chief is driven by a secular faith in his instincts--his natural and spontaneous conclusions and judgments. His instincts are almost his second religion."
His first religion also comes into play here. Certainly, the President is entitled to practice whatever religion he believes in, and George W. Bush is not the first President to bandy about the name of God or to claim the United States is under the wing of providence. But when his religious fundamentalist beliefs spill over into his job, and when he uses religious rhetoric in inflammatory ways, we ought to take heed.
Since September 11, Bush has barely gone a day without using the word "evil" or "evildoers." His "axis of evil" speech may have so threatened North Korea that it decided to accelerate its nuclear plans. The phrase "axis of evil" did not happen accidentally, either, nor was it the original speechwriter's exact term. Frum came up with the term "axis of hatred" in the draft he sent on to chief speechwriter Michael Gerson. Says Frum: "Gerson wanted to use the theological language that Bush had made his own since September 11--so 'axis of hatred' became 'axis of evil.' "
Frum is quite open about the importance of fundamentalism in the Bush Administration. The first words he says he ever heard in the White House from George Bush were: "Missed you at Bible study." Frum writes, "Bush came from and spoke for a very different culture from that of the individualistic Ronald Reagan: the culture of modern Evangelicalism. To understand the Bush White House, you must understand its predominant creed."
Frum also cites the speech that Bush gave at his alma mater, Yale, on May 21, 2001. It was one Bush personally worked very hard on, and Frum said it was among the President's most self-revealing. Said Bush: "Life takes its own turns, makes its own demands, writes its own story. And along the way, we start to realize we are not the author."
Bush expressed the same feeling when he was governor of Texas. "I could not be governor if I did not believe in a divine plan that supersedes all human plans," he said.
When he was considering running for President, Bush attended church with his mother. The preacher talked about a reluctant Moses unsure of his leadership qualities. Barbara told George that he was that Moses figure. While running for President, he himself invoked the divine plan. "Together, we have a charge to keep," he wrote in his campaign book, which was not too subtly entitled A Charge to Keep.
That Bush believes he was assigned the Presidency from on high comes through in another passage of Frum's book. After Bush's September 20, 2001, speech to Congress, Gerson called up the President to compliment him: "Mr. President, when I saw you on television, I thought--God wanted you there," Gerson said, according to Frum.
"He wants us all here, Gerson," the President responded, according to Frum.
Bush seems to believe that he is carrying out God's will by waging war. In Woodward's book, he says, "There is a human condition that we must worry about in times of war. There is a value system that cannot be compromised--God-given values. These aren't United States-created values." To be fair, the values Bush was referring to were "freedom and the human condition and mothers loving their children." But still, the idea that the President believes he is doing God's bidding at war time is unsettling.
"There's this odd, personal religiosity about Bush," says Lou Dubose, co-author (with Molly Ivins) of Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush. "And the religious people he was connected with in Texas aren't anything like the mainstream--even the mainstream in Texas."
Dubose cites James Robison, a Fort Worth televangelist. "Bush appeared on Robison's Life Today television ministry and invited Robison to be the main speaker at the prayer breakfast in Austin on the day of Bush's second inauguration as governor," according to Shrub. During that prayer breakfast, Robison related a back-and-forth conversation he had with God while driving on the freeway between Arlington and Dallas. Bush is also an admirer of James Dobson of the rightwing religious group Focus on the Family.
"He's the most recklessly religious President we've seen," says Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor of Freethought Today, the publication of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, in Madison, Wisconsin. "He's on a religious mission, and you can't divorce religion from his militarism. He believes in fighting righteous war."
Chip Berlet, senior analyst for Political Research Associates in Somerville, Massachusetts, is an expert on rightwing religious groups. "Bush is very much into the apocalyptic and messianic thinking of militant Christian evangelicals," he says. "He seems to buy into the worldview that there is a giant struggle between good and evil culminating in a final confrontation. People with that kind of a worldview often take risks that are inappropriate and scary because they see it as carrying out God's will."
Others, like Frederick Clarkson, author of Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy, doubt the depth of Bush's religious beliefs and see him invoking this rhetoric for political purposes. "Bush is playing to a base activist constituency," says Clarkson. "Many of these people believe that they're living in biblically inspired End Times."
Given that the United States is at war with Islamic fundamentalists in Al Qaeda, this may not be the most propitious time to be dragging God into the conflict. But that is what Bush has done, as when he said, "God is not neutral" in the war on terrorism. The mere use of such rhetoric is inflammatory, Clarkson believes. "At a time when fundamentalist Islam is on the march, the potential for flare-up is a dangerous thing," he says.
Michael Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, believes what motivates Bush is "a combination of the empire and the messianic. He grasps the practical need to control oil, for which the Administration is willing to go to any lengths, and he fuses it with messianic fervor."
Like other Presidents before him, Bush believes the United States is the greatest country in the world, and he is not afraid to use theological language to justify the empire, says Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. "The ideology is there to cover the militarism," says Johnson.
"What I hear is a holy trinity of militarism, masculinism, and messianic zeal," says Lee Quinby, professor of American Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. "It does follow the logic of apocalyptic thought, which has a religious base but is now secularized in the militaristic mode. Apocalyptic thought always has an element of instilling helplessness and promising victory in the face of that powerlessness. In this instance, Bush plays up the vulnerability we feel because of terrorism or Saddam Hussein and then accentuates the military as the assurance that our helplessness will be transformed." This kind of thinking, says Quinby, is "dangerous because it prepares a nation for war without thinking about the impact on civilians and on the U.S. soldiers."
There's also the risk that Bush is so convinced that God's on our side that he may commit a blunder of horrifying proportions.
In a democracy, the fateful decisions of war and peace are not supposed to rest in the hands of one man. Today, they do. And what a man to entrust them with. Lacking intellectual curiosity, he boasts of an infallible gut. Desperate not to be trapped by "the vision thing" that ensnared his father, Bush embraces a huge global mission and couches it in fundamentalist language. And he has assigned the Pentagon the primary role in carrying out this mission.
This is way too much power to give to anyone, and George W. Bush has the arrogance that comes with such power. "I do not need to explain why I say things," he told Woodward. "That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."
When his crusade goes terribly wrong, as it is likely to do, Bush will owe a lot of
people an explanation. Meanwhile, we must do whatever we can, nonviolently, to oppose this
military messianism. (February 2003 , http://www.progressive.org/feb03/comm0203.html )
Elections Presidential politics and the evangelical movement.
President Bush has become the most prominent evangelical Christian in America at a time when evangelical Christianity has become the pre-eminent religious bloc in the country. With the presidential campaign heating up, this potent nexis is prompting widespread interest in the culture and beliefs of evangelical Christians and how they intersect with a president's policies.
Experts say that at least 60 million Americans identify themselves as evangelical or "born-again" Christians in the Protestant tradition, though determining the precise borders of the evangelical world is difficult. Millions more in every denomination describe their faith in classic evangelical terms - as having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through a rebirth experience similar to what Bush has described.
Moreover, evangelicals - namely, the largely suburban and politically conservative white Americans who dominate this category - enjoy an unprecedented level of influence in politics and culture. Many Bush administration officials, members of Congress and elected officials across the country openly identify with the evangelical wing of Christianity, and evangelical products, such as the apocalyptic Left Behind thrillers or The Purpose Driven Life, are huge successes that market an evangelical theology to a mainstream audience.
No other president in American history has been as outspoken about his faith as Bush or as willing to translate those beliefs into public policy positions. During the 2000 campaign, Bush made headlines during a primary debate when he responded to a question about who his favorite political philosopher was with, "Jesus Christ, because he changed my life."
Bush's public faith raises many questions: What is the nature of evangelicalism? What is the history of evangelical Christianity in American society and public life? How does this faith affect Bush's political views and policies?
Why it matters
Evangelical Christianity is a hallmark of Bush's life, both politically and personally, and this brand of Christianity has certain identifiable characteristics that help to explain his public policies.
In domestic affairs, some experts say that Bush's philosophy of "compassionate conservatism" and his championing of faith-based programs reflect a Christian view that sees private charity - stemming from personal conviction - as a better answer to poverty issues than government intervention.
In foreign affairs, many experts detect a clear connection between Bush's faith and his efforts to fight terrorism and promote democracy, especially after the Sept. 11 attacks. After 9/11, "There ensued a marriage of the president's no-nonsense evangelicalism with the muscular, highly militarized utopianism of the neoconservative (and largely secular) Right," Boston University political scientists Andrew J. Bacevich and Elizabeth H. Prodromou wrote in the winter edition of the foreign policy journal Orbis.
As Stephen Mansfield, author of The Faith of George W. Bush, wrote in Charisma magazine, "Whatever else George W. Bush is remembered for, his attempt to apply faith to presidential leadership will form a major part of his legacy. It is important for people to understand his faith, then, and to do so before the next election."
Questions for reporters
Where does George W. Bush stand on the spectrum of evangelical social and
How do his professed beliefs fit in with standard evangelical theology?
* How do Bush's beliefs inform his foreign policy?
How do they inform his domestic policy - on tax cuts, faith-based programs and such?
Is Bush guaranteed to win the evangelical vote? What could drive those voters away?
How does Bush's faith compare with that of other U.S. presidents?
Will John Kerry's Catholicism matter one way or another to evangelicals?
Bush's spiritual biography
George W. Bush, 57, was raised Episcopalian in Connecticut in a prominent, wealthy family with a history of activism in the Republican Party. He was an altar boy and as a young adult taught Sunday school. Then, like many other young adults, he fell away from active practice.
His journey from there mirrors many of the religious and demographic trends of the past generation. At age 30, Bush moved south to Texas to work in the oil business. By his own account, he lived a hard-drinking life until he underwent a conversion experience in the mid-1980s and rededicated himself to Christianity. He credits a Bible study group in Texas and a beach walk at the Bush compound in Maine with Billy Graham, the evangelical "pastor to the presidents," for helping to redirect his life. "I am ... a lowly sinner who sought redemption and found it," he told USA Today in January 2002. "That doesn't make me better than anybody, it just adds perspective, I hope. I think people are going to find that in tough times ... they're going to see a steady hand because the rock on which I stand is something other than the moment, the emotion of the day. Faith can be a steadying influence."
Although Bush regularly attended a Presbyterian church in Midland, Texas, and later was a member of Highland Park United Methodist Church near Dallas, he does not openly identify with any particular denomination. He is said to prefer small prayer groups with like-minded believers. That reflects the growing preferences of American believers across the spectrum who shun institutional religion and embrace a more fluid, personalized spiritual life.
Bush rarely attends formal church services, preferring the military-led services in the chapel at the presidential retreat at Camp David. He said in an interview in Ladies' Home Journal in October 2003 that he reads the Bible every morning along with devotionals by the Rev. Charles Stanley, the popular senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta and a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Bush told Fox News in April 2003 that he frequently prays in the Oval Office: "I pray all the time."
According to Bush biographer Stephen Mansfield and other chroniclers of the president's faith, his beliefs correlate directly to his political career. For example, it was reported that Bush first heard a "call" to run for president during a sermon by the Rev. Mark Craig at Highland Park United Methodist Church. Before Bush announced his candidacy, he invited Texas-based evangelist James Robison to meet with him. Bush reportedly told Robison that he had given his life to Christ and that he believed that God wanted him to be president.
Mansfield reports that Bush also told Robison that he felt "something was going to happen" and that the country would need his leadership in a time of crisis. Many reports indicate that Bush has said he believes that the events of 9/11 show that Providence chose him to lead the country at this time. Experts say that attitude helps explain his religious - and characteristically evangelical - rhetoric in framing the war on terrorism as battle between the forces of good and evil.
A history of evangelicalism
Church historians trace the roots of evangelicalism to the colonial period and the First Great Awakening, whose leading figures, such as the famous theologian Jonathan Edwards and the charismatic preacher George Whitefield, set a revivalist tone that would characterize this movement up to the present day.
Long after the Revolution, evangelicalism remained a vital part of the American religious landscape, sparking periodic spiritual "awakenings" and helping to fuel social movements such as abolitionism and the temperance movement, even as mainline Protestantism held sway in society, politics and culture.
In the early 20th century, many white conservative Protestants grew alienated from the wider society and retreated from public life. Part of their alienation was fueled by waves of immigration, largely of Roman Catholics, whom they viewed as practicing a heretical brand of Christianity. That chasm has been bridged in many significant ways in recent years, although differences remain. Observers say that could be an issue as the evangelical Bush squares off against the Catholic Kerry.
In the 1940s and '50s, the evangelical isolation began to change. Evangelists such as Billy Graham brought evangelicalism back to prominence and found common cause with Christian denominations that most evangelicals had previously shunned. This re-emergence proved to be a decisive break with fundamentalists, who experts stress are very different from most evangelicals.
While there is some overlap, fundamentalists are a much smaller subset of conservative Christianity that remains far more hostile to the wider culture and isolated from their evangelical brethren. Fundamentalists, experts say, reject any accommodation with the prevailing culture and tend to be far stricter in observing proscriptions against behaviors such as dancing or drinking. They also shun ecumenical dialogue and believe that their version of Christianity is the sole way to gain eternal salvation, whereas many evangelicals take a more permissive view of the possibility that other Christians could enter heaven.
In contrast to fundamentalists, mainstream evangelicals embraced culture to promote their religious message. That message is difficult to sum up, but scholars say it is essentially nondenominational Protestantism in the Puritan-Calvinist tradition, as the Encyclopedia of Religion and Society explains.
Evangelicals are non-creedal and focus on a few essentials that are reiterated through emotional services and presentations. They are decidedly non-institutional and non-hierarchical. They rely solely on the authority of Scripture and stress a personal experience of the risen Jesus. They tend to be "exclusivist" theologically, meaning they believe that people can only find eternal salvation by believing in Jesus as God. That accounts for their strong emphasis on seeking conversions through intense missionary activity and their reticence to participate in interfaith dialogue. Evangelicals also tend to be biblical literalists who read the Bible as fact, rather than a mix of history, moral lessons and metaphors. They see the promised return of Jesus in the Book of Revelation as a real-life prophecy and focus intently on converting others before the final Judgment Day, which many believe is imminent.
Experts note that some evangelicals try to downplay the message that salvation is only possible through Jesus for fear of alienating others, prompting sharp debate within the community. They point out that Bush himself once sparked controversy when, as governor of Texas, he implied that Jews may not find eternal life. He has since responded to the issue by saying that God alone knows the fate of each person's soul.
Evangelicalism is characterized by its adaptability. As evangelicals emerged in the culture in recent years, they also made peace with many mainline denominations. As a result, rather than sealing themselves off religiously, many evangelicals - such as President Bush - often worship within traditional denominations. Some are working to make those denominations more traditional, while others find a congregation that suits their style and ignore the internal politics of the denomination's leadership.
An extensive survey, "American Evangelicals," was released in April 2004 in
connection with a May special section by U.S. News & World Report and a four-part
series by the PBS program Religion & Ethics Newsweekly. The survey is the best current
snapshot of America's evangelical community. In one key finding, 75 percent of
evangelicals believe they fit into mainstream American society, and an equal number
believe they have to struggle to have their voices heard. Experts say this dynamic is
central to understanding evangelical political and social behavior today.
Scholars say it is also important to note that whites make up about 80 percent of the evangelical community, and they are predominantly social and political conservatives. Many African-Americans and some Hispanics identify as evangelicals, but they remain small subsets - 15 percent and 5 percent, respectively, of the evangelical community, according to the survey "American Evangelicals." Moreover, while minority and white evangelicals share some socially conservative views and theological outlooks, they are opposites in voting patterns. The "American Evangelicals" poll found that 69 percent of white evangelicals said they consider themselves to be Republicans or lean Republican, while 84 percent of African-American evangelicals called themselves Democrats or lean Democrat.
Evangelicals and politics today
As evangelical Christians moved from the margins of society to its center in the postwar years, experts say they also engaged in politics to an extent that was unprecedented for them. The apocalyptic beliefs of most evangelicals, scholars say, often led them to eschew political and social movements because the imminent return of Jesus made social involvement a moot point. It was widely held that if things got worse in the world, it was a sign that the Second Coming was at hand.
In the '60s and '70s, court rulings on school prayer, abortion and civil rights angered many evangelicals and mobilized leaders to become active in politics. Ironically, the first self-described "born-again" Christian president - Georgia Democrat Jimmy Carter, elected in 1976 - proved to be such a disappointment to his more conservative brethren that grass-roots evangelicals were motivated even more.
In the 1970s, the Rev. Jerry Falwell founded the now-defunct Moral Majority, and in the 1980s the Rev. Pat Robertson started the Christian Coalition. Along with a range of other groups, they collectively became known as the "religious right," a label that many evangelicals today dislike. It was used to sum up the movement's agenda of social conservatism, usually promoted through the Republican Party.
At first these groups and the people they claimed to represent were dismissed by many political observers. A 1983 Washington Post article famously referred to conservative Christians as "poor, uneducated and easily led." The reality was much different, and with the ascent of the Republican Party in the 1980s and 1990s, evangelical Christians began to dominate many political debates.
Their growing numbers added to their electoral heft.
Because evangelicalism lacks denominational structures or membership requirements, and because those who identify as evangelicals often have varying definitions of what that label means, it is difficult to count them. A 2003 Gallup Poll found that 42 percent of Americans self-identified as "born-again or evangelical," up from 36 percent in 1992.
The election of George W. Bush in 2000 was seen as a breakthrough for evangelicals after political setbacks in the late 1990s. But political triumph also brought complications as evangelicals learned to play the game of politics - but also began to make compromises that left some of their rank and file disillusioned. In fact, while evangelicals tend to be socially and politically conservative, scholars say it is important to remember that there are many fault lines within this group on a range of issues. Those divisions have sometimes affected Bush, who has upset some evangelicals by appointing homosexuals to federal jobs and by saying (at a news conference in November 2003 with British Prime Minister Tony Blair) that he believes Christians, Jews and Muslims all "worship the same God."
Experts say that Bush is both a leader in the evangelical emergence and a product of its growing presence in public life. But they say the very success of evangelicalism is testing its limits, and they say that the presidential campaign could intensify debate about whether evangelical Christians - including Bush - have adapted so readily to modern life that American culture is changing them rather than vice versa.
Still, it appears certain that evangelicals will be key to the 2004 election for Bush.
The Gallup Poll showed that in 1994, 42 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats
identified as "born-again or evangelical." In 2003, the gap was up to 10 points,
with 49 percent identifying as Republicans and 39 percent as Democrats. And the recent
survey "American Evangelicals" showed that nearly seven in 10 white evangelicals
are either Republican or lean GOP, while just 23 percent would vote or lean toward the
Democrats. (May 3, 2004 , http://www.religionwriters.com/public/tips/050304/050304a.shtml
The Religion of George W. Bush
Thursday, December 04 2003 @ 11:54 AM MST
Contributed by: sthompson
The Religion of George W. Bush
By David Pulak
Religion is the most dangerous energy source known to humankind. The moment a person (or government or religion or organization) is convinced that God is either ordering or sanctioning a cause or project, anything goes. The history, worldwide, of religion-fueled hate, killing, and oppression is staggering. -Eugene Peterson (from the introduction to the book of Amos in the paraphrased Bible The Message)
After the events of September 11th, Time magazine reported that President Bush spoke of "being chosen by the grace of God to lead at the moment." Richard Land, a member of the Southern Baptist Convention, recalls the president once saying "I believe God wants me to be president." On numerous occasions Bush has made references to a divine plan for the United States, and that he himself could not have been president if he hadn't believed in a "divine plan that superceded all human plans." A financial plan would be more believable, but the question remains - are these statements the ravings of a reality-challenged individual or is George Bush sincere, and mature, in his faith - whose moral certitude is beyond reproach?
I believe that the president is wholeheartedly sincere in his faith, which is Methodist (an offshoot of Evangelical Protestantism) and which he turned to in his early forties to combat an alcohol problem. But mature? I hardly think so. Beyond reproach? He would think so.
After the "shock and awe" phase of Gulf War II, eight thousand American evangelicals were preparing to travel to Iraq and convert the heathen. Yes, it's true. They were going in to do "spiritual battle" in the same manner that the army had done "physical battle." Luckily for them, cooler heads in the administration prevailed. The religious language coming out the White House, however, continues unabated. Bush actually used the word "crusade" and has said "evildoers" so many times the word is now effectively meaningless.
The nub of the problem isn't so much the faith of George Bush, as it is the domestic and foreign policies carried forth in the name of his faith. That faith, which underlies the gutting of domestic social and environmental programs to the delusions of empire in foreign affairs, extends from deeply held beliefs in the American psyche - and specifically, from the Puritans of early America.
The Puritans were varied groups of religious reformers who emerged in the England of the mid sixteenth century. They shared common criticisms of government and society and a common Calvinist theology. Their numbers and influence grew steadily and culminated in the English Civil war of the 1640s and the corrupt government of Oliver Cromwell (a Puritan) in the 1650s, which was largely a military dictatorship. With restoration of the Stuart Monarchy in the 1660s, Puritanism lost much of its influence in England but persisted in the American colonies. The American Puritans however soon cut their ties to the Church of England and created their own separate denominations.
The most notable aspect of Puritanism is the belief in conversion and predestination. Both derive from the doctrines of John Calvin, who held that human beings were utterly depraved and inherently sinful thanks to the original sin of Adam and Eve. Calvin also taught that God would spare a small "elect" group of individuals by giving then inner assurance that they possessed God's "saving grace." The experience of conversion, which may come suddenly, was to be born again, in Christ, in the knowledge that one was "saved" from eternal damnation. The doctrine of Predestination begins to make some sense when framed in the context of the times. This was the era that saw the emergence of modern capitalism and its attendant rise in social and economic inequity, inflation, and unemployment. The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century had shattered the unity of Christendom, sparking bloody religious wars and ongoing tensions between Catholics and Protestants. A strange new world in the Americas had been "discovered" and was now been colonized. Such upheaval, not unlike our own time, provoked profound anxiety and the need for intellectual, moral, and spiritual certainty. Predestination ensured that, while one may or may not be "saved", every individual act was meaningful in God's grand plan for peace and security.
In Max Weber's classic The Spirit of Capitalism and the Protestant Ethic, the argument is advanced that if some are chosen and others are not, it becomes obligatory to believe oneself as chosen, any lack of certainty being regarded as insufficient faith. Such certainty could be acknowledged by the performance of "good works" in a "calling" or profession. Indeed, early clergymen such as John Bunyan and Richard Baxtor preached that the duty and practice of the worldly calling and economic success were genuine signs of redemption. It should be noted though that wealth had to be acquired honorably - not through monopolies, and not in support of a life of idle luxury.
Easy to see were this concept was going. Not only was economic success rationalized, and justified, by religion, the slippery slope into greed and intoxication of power was almost inevitable. Think corporate scandal, market fraud, and the ongoing rewards to Bush's financial backers. Financial success becomes tantamount to the experience of God in its own right, and with it, the certainty that one's actions are divinely sanctioned. "You're either with us or you're not."
And for those who live in poverty, this is a sign of one's spiritual poverty. "Idleness is the Devil's workshop" was the common phrase, and it still is. Marvin Olarsky, the so-called spiritual guru to George Bush, describes poverty in his Compassionate Conservatism as a spiritual problem. Thus the need for faith based (read Religious Right) social programs.
In Sojourners, a progressive Christian magazine with roots in Evangelicalism, Jim Wallis writes:
"The real theological question about George W. Bush was whether he would make a pilgrimage from being essentially a self-help Methodist to a social reform Methodist. God had changed his life in real ways, but would his faith deepen to embrace the social activism of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, who said poverty was not only a matter of personal choices but also of social oppression and injustice? Would Bush's God of the 12-step program also become the God who required social justice and challenged the status quo of the wealthy and powerful, the God of whom the biblical prophets spoke?"
I'm sorry to report that the short answer is no. After 9/11, George Bush's theology became messianic, to an extreme trivializing his own Methodist faith, and religious principles in general. It's too bad, because questions of church and state ought to be properly addressed, and religious groups do raise important issues, but all of this has been obscured by the jingoistic drum rolls of a mission to "rid the world of evil."
As the theologian Martin Marty put it, "The problem isn't with Bush's sincerity, but with his evident conviction that he's doing God's will." Others argue that he is confusing faith with national ideology, and that the relative immaturity of his own faith does not allow him to reflect on his actions.
On the first anniversary of 9/11, President Bush spoke at Ellis Island of how "This ideal of America is the hope of all mankind..., That hope still lights our way. And the light shines in the darkness. And the darkness has not overcome it." The last two lines are lifted directly from John's gospel. In the gospel though, the shining light is the Word of God, and has nothing to do with American values. This is just one example of George Bush's new religion, where scripture is rewritten to suit the real agenda, and that's empire, pure and simple.
You have to see it to believe it. The Project for the New American Century bills itself as a "non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle; and that too few political leaders today are making the case for global leadership." In its statement of principles you will find the names of its authors, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, and a gallery of lesser rogues and ideologues.
Not only does New American Century advocate a larger, more technological and pre-emptive military, (the Bush Doctrine) but seeks the control of outer space, and cyberspace as well.
Yes, the internet (a U.S. military invention by the way). What you are reading now might be considered subversive at some point in the future. Not to worry though, this process of transformation (another religious reference) is going to take some time - "absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor" This was written in September of 2000. Are these people psychic or what? So what about democratic principles? The implementation of democracy was ostensibly one of the reasons for the invasion of Iraq. In the meantime, however, democracy back home might have to be put on ice, for a while. In the December edition of NewsMax, General Tommy Franks states that if a weapon of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical or biological) is used against the United States or one of its allies, the constitution might have to be canceled in favor of a military government. If such weapons are used, Franks is quoted, "... the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we've seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy." Franks didn't mention how a military government would be able to better deter attacks than a democratically elected one. But then again, this might be a part of the "crusade" just now coming to light.
If that isn't enough to deal with, take a look at where the American military is recruiting for its grand plan. It's called America's Army, a top quality video game one can download without charge. Yes, free. The game enables players to enter the virtual American Army, receive training, and go on combat missions eerily reminiscent of events in modern day Iraq and Afghanistan. After your kids have mastered what amounts to expensive killing skills, and the hassle of actual indoctrination, they can join the real army via a convenient web link. The game is rated T for teens.
It's supreme irony that the birth of George Bush's own faith, in the struggles and
suffering of alcoholism, finds its tragic ending in the infliction of struggle upon his
own people, and those unlucky enough to harbor terrorists or other forms of controlled
capitalism. Just as the early Puritans advocated for the installation of Oliver Cromwell's
corrupt dictatorship, the latter day version appears committed to a variation of the same.
To be sure, Bush's crisis of faith is coming, as surely is a critical juncture for
democracy in his country, and others. The question is which side will prevail?
Predestination will not likely save George Bush's sorry soul in the next election, but by
then we may have another "Pearl Harbor."
David Robert Pulak has a B.A. in Political Science (Brandon University) and an M.A. in Religious Studies (University of Calgary). He is co-owner of http://www.cellnucleus.com/www.cellnucleus.com, an educational website on cancer research. David is primarily interested in examining globalization through the lens of social ecology, which holds that questions of social and ecological justice are mutually inclusive.
( http://www.vivelecanada.ca/article.php?story=20031204115415792&mode=print )
Bush touts records on pro-life, marriage issues to evangelicals
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP)--President Bush touted his record on pro-family issues March 11, telling a group of evangelicals that his administration would "vigorously" defend the partial-birth abortion ban and the "sanctity of marriage" from "activist" courts.
Speaking to the National Association of Evangelicals' convention, Bush said his administration is "committed to defending the most basic institutions and values of this country."
"I will defend the sanctity of marriage against activist courts and local officials who want to redefine marriage," he said to applause. "The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honored and encouraged in cultures and by every religious faith.
"Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society. And government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all.
"It is for that reason I support a constitutional amendment to protect marriage as the union of a man and a woman," Bush said.
The president also touched on the abortion issue, noting that last November he signed into law a bill banning partial-birth abortion, a procedure that involves partially delivering a baby feet-first before suctioning its brains.
"We will vigorously defend this law against any attempt to overturn it in the courts," Bush said. "I will also continue to support crisis pregnancy centers, and adoption, and parental notification laws."
Bush added that he signed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act and that he supports the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. He called upon Congress to pass the Unborn Victims bill and send it to his desk.
"I oppose the use of federal funds for the destruction of human embryos for stem cell research," he said. "... I will work with Congress to pass a comprehensive and effective ban on human cloning. ... Human life is a creation of God, not a commodity to be exploited by man."
On other issues, Bush said the country has helped alleviate the AIDS crisis in Africa and is working toward ending sex trafficking.
"When we see disease, and starvation, and hopeless poverty, we must not turn away," the president said. "And that is why, on the continent of Africa, we're bringing the healing power of medicine to millions of people now suffering with AIDS. From Southeast Asia to Eastern Europe, we're working to end the modern-day slavery of sex trafficking."
Bush also defended the nation's involvement in the war on terrorism, saying that "more than 50 million people have been liberated from tyranny" in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Bush said he has "great confidence" in America's future because of the strength of its people.
"The world saw that strength on a September morning exactly 30 months ago, and in
the countless acts of courage and kindness that have followed," he said.
"Together, Americans are moving forward with confidence and faith. We do not know
God's plan, but we know His ways are right and just. And we pray He will always watch over
this great country of ours."
(Mar 11, 2004 , http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=17830 )
Bush's Religious Language
by JUAN STAM
George W. Bush began to take part in a Bible study group in 1985, after two decades of binge drinking. For two years he studied the Scriptures and put his heavy drinking behind him. In that same process, he succeeded in refocusing his life, which had been diffused and confused, into a coherent cosmic vision--or ideology--which corresponded to the mentality of the conservative evangelicals of his country.
When Bush decided to run for office, political strategist Karl Rove helped him make the link with the evangelical sector. While other candidates were discussing polemical themes, Rove advised him that it was much better for him to simply speak about his faith. Bush presented himself as "a man with Jesus in his heart." When a reporter asked him who his favorite philosopher was, Bush replied: "Christ, because he changed my heart." That corresponded perfectly to the extreme individualism of fundamentalism, and it constituted what in the metalanguage of evangelical code words is called "personal witness."
Politically, Bush's discourse has been very effective, but theologically the results have been more problematic, as evident in particular in three areas.
Manicheism This ancient heresy divides all of reality in two: Absolute Good and Absolute Evil. The Christian church rejected Manicheism as heretical many centuries ago. But on the day after 9/11, the President first stated the position he would continue to maintain: "This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil, but good will prevail." Later Bush defined his enemies as the "axis of evil," a term that is theologically and morally loaded.
Given that state of sublime innocence in his own country, like Adam and Eve in paradise, Bush can muster only one explanation for the terrorists' hatred of his nation: "There are people who hate freedom." In other words, they are so evil that they abhor the good because it is good. (But if the terrorists hate freedom, why have they not attacked Canada, which in some respects is more democratic than the United States? Why is there not the same hatred for Switzerland, Holland or Costa Rica?)
Messianism When Bush, then Governor of Texas, decided to seek the presidency, he described his decision in terms evangelicals would understand as a divine mandate: He had been "called," a phrase that evoked the prophetic commissions of the Hebrew scriptures. He summoned to the governor's mansion all the leading pastors of the region to carry out a ritual of "laying on of hands," a practice that corresponds above all to ministerial ordination. He told the pastors that he had been called (obviously, by God) to be the presidential candidate. This language of divine calling has been frequent in his declarations and at a much accelerated rhythm since September 11, 2001.
In his State of the Union address the following year, Bush reaffirmed that "history has called America and our allies to action." Soon after the 9/11 attacks, speaking to a joint session of Congress, he proudly declared that "the advance of human freedom--the great achievement of our time and the great hope of every time--now depends on us." As he declared in his 2003 State of the Union address, the nation must go forth to "confound the designs of evil men," because "our calling, as a blessed country, is to make the world better." "Once again," Bush announced as war preparation was building up, "this nation and our friends are all that stand between a world at peace and a world of chaos and constant alarm. Once again, we are called to defend the safety of our people and the hopes of all mankind. And we accept this responsibility...and we go forward with confidence, because this call of history has come to the right country."
Bush does not seem to have much hesitation in identifying God with his own project. In a speech in September 2002, Bush cited a Christological text in reference to his war project: "And the light [America] has shone in the darkness [the enemies of America], and the darkness will not overcome it [America shall conquer its enemies]." When he appeared in a flight suit aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, he said to the troops: "And wherever you go, you carry a message of hope--a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'To the captives, come out! to those who are in darkness, be free!'"
Manipulation of Prayer True prayer does not pretend to tell God what we want Him to do but rather asks that God tell us what He wishes us to do. We do not pray in order to enlist God in our ranks but to examine ourselves, to change and to do God's will. Therefore, the confession of sin and repentance are crucial moments in prayer and worship. Prayer has played a role without precedent in the Bush presidency and in the propaganda of the evangelicals who support him. Photos of Bush at prayer are common. Great publicity was given to the fact that during a prime-time news conference shortly before his speech giving the ultimatum to Saddam Hussein, Bush asked his advisers to leave him alone for ten minutes. In evangelical symbolism, that meant that a man of prayer was going to commune with God, somewhat like Moses on Mount Sinai.
It is remarkable how closely Bush's discourse coincides with that of the false prophets
of the Old Testament. While the true prophets proclaimed the sovereignty of Yahweh, the
God of justice and love who judges nations and persons, the false prophets served Baal,
who could be manipulated by the powerful. Karl Marx concluded that religion is "the
opium of the people." But Marx never knew committed Christians like Camilo Torres of
Colombia, Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador, Frank Pais of Cuba, Ernesto Cardenal of
Nicaragua, Dietrich Bonhoeffer of Germany or Martin Luther King Jr. of the United States.
How paradoxical, and how sad, that the President of the United States, with his heretical
manipulation of religious language, insists on proving Karl Marx right.
Translated by Thomas E. Ambrogi. A longer version (available at servicioskoinonia.org/logos) appeared in Signos de Vida.
(December 4, 2003 , http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20031222&s=stam )