I recently pointed out to someone the chilling words of a U.S. senator
, spoken during a similar conflict last century that killed nearly a million people."The Philippines are ours forever . . . We will not abandon our opportunity in the Orient. We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race . . . Mr. President, this question is deeper than any question of party politics: deeper than any question of the isolated policy of our country even; deeper even than any question of constitutional power. It is elemental. It is racial. (God) has made us the master organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns . . . that we may administer government among savage and senile peoples . . . And of all our race He has marked the American people as His chosen nation to finally lead in the regeneration of the world. This is the divine mission of America, and it holds for us all the profit, all the glory, all the happiness possible to man."
Ugly, racist, colonialist, blasphemous. This senator's speech was considered extreme, even by the standards of 100 years ago.
More troubling, then, that George W. Bush has said several things that gibe closely with this extremist viewpoint, deliberately manipulating people with "code words", intended to appeal to Christian fundamentalists, while blaspheming against God and Christ to urge people to war -- a "crusade", as Bush repeatedly referred to it until someone told him how emotionally loaded that word was to Muslims.
Here, first, are a few quotes taped during a private strategy briefing
on how he can best appeal to Christian fundamentalists:"As you said, there are some code words. There are some proper ways to say things, and some improper ways. . . I'm going to tell them the five turning points in my life. Accepting Christ. Marrying my wife. Having children. Running for governor. And listening to my mother.""The mere mention of Kofi Annan in the U.N. caused the (Christian Coalition) crowd to go into a veritable fit. The (Christian) Coalition wants America strong and wants the American flag flying overseas, not the pale blue of the U.N."
This, perhaps, goes a long reason to explain why the Bush administration wanted to go to war in Iraq immediately, rather than work with the U.N. or reach a peaceful resolution to the conflict -- because it played well to Christian fundamentalists and the corporate interests that supported him.
Bush was just as manipulative and calculating when he tried to get Palestinian leader Abbas to support his slanted policies on an Israel/Palestinian settlement."God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."
Obviously, God works on Bush's timetable. Here are other, better known attempts of Bush that are arguably sacreligious."I believe that God wants me to be president.""I cannot speak strongly enough about how we must collectively get after those who kill in the name of - in the name of some kind of false religion.""Freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world . . . And as the greatest power on the face of the Earth, we have an obligation to help spread that freedom.""Yet, we do know that God had placed us together in this moment . . . to serve each other and our country. . . Our country is strong. And our cause is even larger than our country. ""Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know God is not neutral between them.""I believe that God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom . . . we understand our special calling: This great republic will lead the cause of freedom.""The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity."
And here's what prominent theologians have said
regarding Bush's use of religion to encourage war.
Faithfully confessing Christ is the church’s task, and never more so than when its confession is co-opted by militarism and nationalism.
* A “theology of war,” emanating from the highest circles of American government, is seeping into our churches as well.
* The language of “righteous empire” is employed with growing frequency.
* The roles of God, church, and nation are confused by talk of an American “mission” and “divine appointment” to “rid the world of evil.”
In short, the greed, racism, and blasphemous misuse of Christianity is almost as bad as it was 100 years ago... and it's getting notably worse under the Bush administration. It's just discussed in a more "politically correct", dishonest manner.