BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Blasphemer!

(Welcome HPI readers. Keep going.)

MANDATORY Bill Moyers...and a recent speech on the Religious Right, the environment and the Middle East.

The Cliff Note version? Our friends on the Uber-Right do not care about the above mentioned thingees. In fact, they're psyched; planet decay and political unrest in the Middle East suggest...The Rapture.

You can read the whole speech here.

A few excerpts:
These true believers subscribe to a fantastical theology concocted in the 19th century by a couple of immigrant preachers who took disparate passages from the Bible and wove them into a narrative that has captivated the imagination of millions of Americans.

Its outline is rather simple, if bizarre (the British writer George Monbiot recently did a brilliant dissection of it and I am indebted to him for adding to my own understanding): once Israel has occupied the rest of its "biblical lands," legions of the anti-Christ will attack it, triggering a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. As the Jews who have not been converted are burned, the Messiah will return for the rapture. True believers will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to heaven, where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts, and frogs during the several years of tribulation that follow.

I'm not making this up. Like Monbiot, I've read the literature. I've reported on these people, following some of them from Texas to the West Bank. They are sincere, serious and polite as they tell you they feel called to help bring the rapture on as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That's why they have declared solidarity with Israel and the Jewish settlements and backed up their support with money and volunteers. It's why the invasion of Iraq for them was a warm-up act, predicted in the Book of Revelations where four angels "which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of man." A war with Islam in the Middle East is not something to be feared but welcomed – an essential conflagration on the road to redemption.
Wait. Who are the angels gonna slay? The third part of who? I wasn't aware that angels were in the business of slaying. What the fuck?

Onward Christian soldiers:
A 2002 TIME/CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the book of Revelations are going to come true. Nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the 9/11 attacks.
And two-thirds of those polled think that "American Idol" is "the best fucking show ever." Read on:
Drive across the country with your radio tuned to the more than 1,600 Christian radio stations or in the motel turn some of the 250 Christian TV stations and you can hear some of this end-time gospel. And you will come to understand why people under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected, as Grist puts it, "to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same god who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a word?"

Because these people believe that until Christ does return, the lord will provide. One of their texts is a high school history book, America's providential history. You'll find there these words: "the secular or socialist has a limited resource mentality and views the world as a pie ... that needs to be cut up so everyone can get a piece." However, "[t]he Christian knows that the potential in god is unlimited and that there is no shortage of resources in god's earth ... while many secularists view the world as overpopulated, Christians know that god has made the earth sufficiently large with plenty of resources to accommodate all of the people."
Actually, there's a shortage of iPods this Xmas season, but I'm sure the Lord will provide.

More later...

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