The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Christian Fundamentalism And American Empire

Yoginder Sikand
24 September, 2006
Counter Currents

Little talked about in the media, Western Christian fundamentalism is today a potent threat to global security. With George Bush and several of his top advisors being Christian fundamentalists, this is but to be expected. Today. American foreign policies, as in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Iran, are powerfully shaped by the Christian fundamentalist agenda of global conquest for Christ and Capital.

Christian fundamentalists believe that Christ alone is the way to salvation, and that the entire world must be brought to heel before him, by force if necessary. In the past, this doctrine was used to bless bloody Crusades and wars of imperial plunder. The doctrine serves the same purpose today, as the bombing of Afghanistan, the destruction of Iraq, the unreserved support for Israeli terrorism and so on indicate. Although these acts are sought to be justified by America as a 'civilising' mission or as part of its 'war on terror', the underlying white Christian supremacist vision behind American imperialism, a continuation of the logic of European colonialism, is unmistakable.

What, then, is the Christian fundamentalist vision that is driving Bush and his key advisors to world conquest, even if this could possibly mean destruction and chaos on a global and unprecedented scale? Stephen Mansfield's recently published 'The Faith of George W. Bush' [Jeremy Tarcher/Penguin, New York, 2004], a hagiographic account of the American President, provides a deeply disturbing, account of Bush's personal commitment to Christian fundamentalism. The book's cover describes it, obviously exaggeratedly, as a 'national bestseller' and quotes the Wall Street Journal as commending it as 'a story of spiritual awakening'.

Referring to the enormous clout that Christian fundamentalism now enjoys in American decision-making circles, Mansfield writes with unconcealed glee that, 'More than any other presidency in recent years, George W. Bush's presidency is faith based'. 'He has often said', Mansfield approvingly mentions, 'that faith saved his life, nurtured his family, established his political career and helped form the destiny of the nation'. Bush, so Mansfield claims, 'incorporates his faith and belief in God into every detail of life […] The President relies upon his faith to direct his actions and goals'. Mansfield does not conceal his delight at the growing influence of Christian fundamentalists in the corridors of power in Washington under Bush's patronage. 'In no previous administration', he says, 'has the White House hosted so many weekly Bible Studies and prayer meetings and never have religious leaders been more gratefully welcomed'.


Bush's Christian commitment that Mansfield fervently endorses is not the world-renouncing faith of a Christian hermit. Rather, it is a vengeful, hate-driven creed rooted in the notion of the notion of the triumphalist Church that desperately seeks to subjugate the entire world and expand the borders of Christendom till the ends of the earth. It is this vision of Christianity that informs the worldview of Bush's spiritual mentor, the American televangelist Billy Graham, at whose hands, Mansfield tells us, Bush experienced a re-conversion to Christ more than two decades ago. Mansfield tells us that Graham is driven by a visceral hatred of Islam, and quotes him as having declared that Islam is 'wicked, violent and not of the same God [as Christianity]'.


It is entirely possible that Graham's deep-rooted Islamophobia has rubbed off on his disciple Bush. Graham's Christian fervour has certainly been instrumental in developing Bush's firm belief that 'Jesus is the only way to God', although Mansfield does admit that Bush 'has been hesitant to say' this, adding that once when he did so to a Jewish reporter it 'ignited a powder keg of controversy'. Mansfield also dwells at length on Bush's close bonding with other notorious American Christian fundamentalists, most notably Jerry Fawell and Pat Robertson, who insist that Christianity alone is the way to salvation and that all other religions are limited, false or even Satanic.


Bush's agenda of imposing global American hegemony cannot be understood without taking into account his commitment to the doctrine of Christian supremacy, Mansfield makes clear. 'From the tragedy of September 11 to the conflict in Iraq', he informs us, 'President Bush has learned to use his faith to help him live in public and private life' and to 'shape the affairs of his administration'. Bush, Mansfield says, sees himself as having been appointed by [the Christian fundamentalist] God to serve His divine purposes in the world. Bush is convinced, he remarks, that he is the President of America because he has been specially chosen by God for the post. 'I am here because of the power of prayer', Mansfield quotes Bush as proclaiming.


His faith makes Bush, or so Mansfield claims, a 'better man'. This 'better man', Mansfield says with passionate approval, has been inspired by his faith in Christ to invade Iraq, ostensibly 'to root out a terrorist threat and remove Saddam' and also to 'make it a Midland of the Middle East, not so much as an exact cultural and industrial parallel but as the model of how human beings ought to live together'. Bush's hopes for a post-war Iraq, Mansfield piously proclaims, 'are safety, family, benevolent political leaders, good schools, sports, friends and love'. 'All men should live this way, he believes. It is what he wants America to be and for America to model in the world'. This nauseating defence of American terrorism, the killings of thousands of people in Iraq and elsewhere by American troops, is thus blessed as a grand civilising mission to be thrust down the throats of unwilling non-white and non-Christian people, no matter what the cost in human terms.


True to his passionate commitment to the doctrine of Christian supremacy, Bush sees the world in stark Manichaean terms. In the Christian fundamentalist world-view, God and Satan, are engaged in a cosmic struggle that will culminate in the grand war of Armageddon that will engulf the world, heralding the Second Coming of Jesus. Seated on a throne in Jerusalem, Jesus will rule the world. All knees will bow before him and all unbelievers will be dispatched to eternal damnation in Hell. Christian fundamentalists believe that the end of the world is near, and for this suitable preparations, including unleashing bloody wars against Christianity's supposed enemies, must be made.

Christian fundamentalists see America as being actively engaged in this struggle, which might entail, among other things, waging war for the glory of Christ. As a Christian fundamentalist, Bush, Mansfield suggests, sees complex questions in the most simplistic terms, as simply a battle between 'good' and 'evil'. Blind to the reality of brutal Western imperialism, economic, cultural, political and military, that is at the root of widespread distress and anti-Western sentiments among many Muslims, as well as other non-Western peoples, Bush, Mansfield says, is apparently convinced that Islamist militants and many other Muslims are opposed to America simply because, as he believes, America is 'freedom's home and defender'. 'It is the price we pay for being good', Bush piously proclaims, It is as if anti-Western feelings, including Islamist militancy, stem from a congenital Muslim/non-white/non-Christian madness or barbarity that can only be cured through military bombardment or else through the 'civilising' mission of Christianity. It is as if Muslims are inherently opposed to the 'freedom' and 'democracy' that Bush believes the American Empire represents.

Fired by a seemingly irrepressible zeal for the cause of Christian fundamentalism, Mansfield writes that Bush has actively sought to marshal Christian theological legitimacy for his imperialist wars, seeking to invoke the 'Just War Theory' developed by the Church to bless the anti-Muslim Crusades, expand the boundaries of Christendom and to subjugate the 'benighted heathen'. This, indeed, is how Bush and his cohorts see the wars that they are currently waging in the Muslim world and elsewhere, a restatement of the arguments used to sanction the numerous bloody wars that America and its European allies sponsored during the Cold War against the 'atheistic' communists.

Bush's fiery commitment to the Christian fundamentalist agenda also explains his fervent support to Israel. Although the Christian Church for centuries provided religious sanction to anti-Jewish hatred, many Christian fundamentalists are today vociferous supporters of Israel, Zionist expansionism and the brutal suppression of the Palestinians.

Accordingly, the close nexus between America and Israel appears to have received a tremendous boost under Bush, who makes no effort to conceal his belief that his version of Christianity demands that he unabashedly support the Zionist state. Bush's commitment to Israel, Mansfield tells us, is widely recognised in Zionist circles.

Like other forms of religious fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism is a dreaded doctrine of supremacy, a cult of hatred and a recipe for disaster. And with an avowed born-again Christian at the helm of affairs in America who claims to be appointed to that position by God and to be dictated by what he claims to be divine communication, one shudders to think of what more brutalities are in store for the world if Christian fundamentalism is allowed to remain unchallenged.

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3 Comments:

At 10/28/2006 09:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ROOTS OF (WARLIKE) CHRISTIAN ZIONISM

Historian Dave MacPherson has uniquely uncovered the 19th century roots of militant Christian Zionism, a modern crusade supporting American politics and even military action to bring about the End.
The roots of this vengeful and power-mad campaign have been traced by MacPherson to a quarterly British journal known as "The Morning Watch" which, in its Sep., 1830 issue, had the first public teaching of the "pre-tribulation rapture" (the most popular feature of "dispensationalism").
In that same issue, one writer stated that the raptured Christians would then collectively become "the victorious ministerer of the great tribulation" upon those left behind!
An 1832 issue of the same journal taught that the "vials" in the book of Revelation "shall be poured out by the risen [raptured] saints," and a few months later another issue went even further and declared that the collective group of raptured ones will "wield the thunders of its power against the dragon [Satan] and his angels, and cast them down from heaven"!
But where in the Bible, asks MacPherson, did those British fanatics find support for such "rapture rage," and where are the followers of Christ commanded to pick up a sword and conquer or convert non-believers with it - or even support such sword-bearers?
The above is a tiny fraction of Dave MacPherson's 300-page book "The Rapture Plot," the most detailed and documented history of the "pre-tribulation rapture" view merchandised big time by John Hagee, Tim LaHaye, Jerry Falwell, Hal Lindsey, Jimmy Swaggart, Jack Van Impe etc. for their agendas - an escaptist view that was never taught by any church before 1830!
MacPherson, BTW, has stated that all of his royalties have always gone to a nonprofit corporation and not to himself. To obtain a copy of his unique, eye-opening book, call 800.643.4645 or visit online bookstores. (Type in "Scholars Weigh My Research" on Google to read endorsements of it by many leading scholars.)
Do Hagee and his fellow preachers really love Jewish persons as much as they say they do? Then why do they pervert Scripture to try to get themselves raptured off earth before the final "tribulation"? Why are they so willing to abandon the Jews just prior to what they describe as Planet Earth's "darkest days"?
It seems that today's pre-trib rapturists have given a new twist to "Final Solution"!

 
At 11/12/2006 02:26:00 PM, Blogger Horus Reischeki said...

George Bush is smart enough to use the hand he was dealt. His father aside, he inherited the Christian base when he became governor of bible belt state Texas. He believes in the Bible, but he also believes in being a Skull, because both are to his advantage. He sticks to 'liberty', 'freedom' and Christianity for the same reason that Jerry Falwell sticks to 'salvation', 'glory' and Televangelism. The sheep are sheep with or without a shepard. George Bush may be born-again, but is certainly no Jesus freak.

 
At 7/12/2007 07:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Said. All religions that orginate through bloodshed end in bloodshed.

 

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