Bush is Convinced He's Doing God's Will

Roundup: Media's Take

Michael McAteer, writing for the Toronto Star (Feb. 21, 2004)

U.S. President George W. Bush will be re-elected in November in a landslide.

We have it on the highest authority: God.

It appears that God passed the prediction on to TV evangelist and right-wing Christian fundamentalist Pat Robertson who passed it on to his television flock via his 700 Club program on the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network, which he founded.

"I think George Bush is going to win in a walk," Robertson said, telling his TV audience the revelation came after several days of prayer."I really believe I'm hearing from the Lord it's going to be like a blow-out election in 2004. It's shaping up that way."...

...Ever since he found God in the 1980s, giving up the bottle for the Bible to help kick his alcoholism, Bush has courted the religious right to further his political ambitions.

Making no secret of his own religious conviction that the world is engaged in a moral battle between good and evil, he has peppered his speeches with biblical language and imagery like a preacher at a Bible-belt revival meeting....

..."We Americans have faith in ourselves, but not in ourselves alone," Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union address."We do not know, we do not claim to now all the ways of Providence, yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the living God behind all life, all history. May He guide us now. And may God bless the United States of America."

Bush is said to read the Bible daily, pray in the Oval office and occasionally open cabinet meetings with prayer. Jesus is the political philosopher and thinker he most admires.

The problem, as U.S. theologian suggests, is not with Bush's sincerity but with his evident conviction that he's doing God's will. With the words"God wills it," Pope Urban blessed the first Christian crusade against the"infidels" in 1095, leading to almost two centuries of bloody battles and wholesale laughter. If Bush believes he is God's agent and sees military victories as a validation of a God-entrusted mission, then only God knows how far his anointed will go.

Some mainstream theologians conclude that Bush suffers from a messianic complex, that his theology is that of John Calvin's, the French/Swiss Protestant reformer who believed he was called by God to reform the church, intertwined politics and religion, and divided the world into the elect and the damned.

Jim Wallis of Sojourners, a U.S. ecumenical justice and peace Christian community working for justice and peace, says that Bush, by confusing nation, church and God, has embraced a theology more American civil religion than Christian faith. But, as Wallis argues, God has not given the responsibility for overcoming evil to a nation-state much less to a superpower with enormous wealth and particular interest.

"To confuse the role of God with that of the American nation, as George Bush seems to do, is a serious theological error that some might say borders as ideology and blasphemy," Wallis says.

In a recent article in the British newspaper, The Guardian, theologian, historian and author Karen Armstrong notes that you don't hear much about the Beatitudes from the Christian right.

"The Christian right today has absorbed the endemic violence in American society: they oppose reform of the gun laws and support the death penalty," she writes."They never quote the Sermon on the Mount but base their xenophobic and aggressive theology on (the Book of) Revelation."...

...God bless us and save us.

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