of the Gods
By Sheila Samples, Axis
more I look at the chaotic mess George W. Bush is making in
every blessed corner of the world, the more I am inclined
to take a closer look at the God in whose name he claims to
be making it.
Just who IS this God that chats up brazen hypocrites and
zealots in our midst - whipping them into a frenzy of pharisaic
attempts to strangle democracy at home and abroad? This awesome
creature is on a murderous rampage in the Middle East, Africa,
South America and - as Donald Rumsfeld would say - east, west,
north and south somewhat. Armed and jackbooted, Bush's flinty-hearted
Diety bears no resemblance to the compassionate and forgiving
God in whom Christians have put their faith for more than
More and more innocents are being herded onto the world's
killing fields by the deliberate actions of a Christian nation
- in the name of its Christian God. What blasphemy! If Christians
are unable to recognize the difference between good and evil;
if they cannot see that those we crush under our heel are
also God's creation - then all those hours spent in Sunday
School, church services, summer camp and "all day singing
and dinner on the grounds" picnics were a sorry waste of time.
The nature of a man is revealed by the company he keeps. Those
who preach that maiming and killing terrified men, women and
children is "God's will" - who cover up the slaughter of their
own citizens and who topple other regimes by force or farce
- are evil men who cavort with evil gods. And every single
Christian in this country knows it.
The Beast may not yet be loosed upon the world, but his
minions are having one hell of a good time, and laughing their
asses off in the process. By joining forces in a destructive
"means justifies the ends" crusade to both control and convert
the world, the Neoconservatives and Religious Right have created
a playground for wicked gods. Each needs the other to achieve
its goals. And the glue that holds them together is a man
whose own words indict him as the proverbial village idiot
who has no clue about either means or ends, but who serves
at this point in history as both the enabled and the enabler.
I have written so much about this ungodly bunch I sometimes
feel like a rabid Sam Kinison, standing in the breach, screaming
into the wind. Except for God's coat-tails they intend to
ride in on, the Almighty does not enter into their equation
for world domination.
Their names are familiar - Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld,
Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, Michael Ledeen...
They tower contemptuously above God, their plan
for a new world order far grander than His, and their
fingerprints are all over the tens of thousands of innocents
who have been killed, injured or horribly maimed.
They are everywhere - from the Project for a New American
Century (PNAC) and other right-wing think tanks such as the
American Enterprise Institute (AEI) - to the Pentagon, State
Department and White House. And, in their own words, they
have only just begun.
Ledeen is possibly the most dangerous and influential neocon
of all the Iran-Contra madmen who are back in power. In his
on Modern Leadership, Ledeen says, "Creative destruction
is our middle name. We do it automatically... It is time once
again to export the democratic revolution."
"God," Ledeen explains, "understands that all
men are evil, and the only way to achieve peace is through
total war." Ledeen believes "the sparing of civilian lives
cannot be the total war's first priority... The purpose of
total war is to permanently force your will onto another people."
In the unlikely event that Americans emerge from their stupor
before Ledeen and his New World Order is upon them, I hope
they realize that following the hostile and unfamiliar God
for whom Ledeen speaks would be kind of like walking a mad
dog on a leash.
The Religious Right
The Religious Right is also obsessed with power and control,
and the majority of its members are living proof that, like
the ancient Euripides wrote - "Whom the gods wish to destroy,
they first make mad." God walks with them; talks to them
and issues militant edicts to us through them. Most are Republicans
- proud "born again" Christians who speak deleriously of "God's
will and the blood of Jesus Christ" - but their true religion
is cold, hard politics.
They walk the halls of Congress, and are by far the most
powerful voting bloc in America. When they speak, presidents
listen - constitutional amendments are proposed, freedoms
are lost, liberties dry up.
According to a project by TheocracyWatch.org, " The Rise
of the Religious Right in the Republican Party," they
propose bills that are "anti-women, anti-labor and anti-civil
rights. Their legislation opposes finance campaign reform;
environmental protection; gun control; social justice for
the poor; public education; teaching evolution; human sexuality;
and a separation of church and state." The report says their
bills "show a disregard for the U.S. Constitution, and finally,
Democracy itself. Bills coming from the Religious Right favor
the wealthy and large corporations. The ultimate political
goal is to make this country a Christian nation." (Emphasis
We smile and shake our heads at the outlandish claims of
TV evangelists Pat Robertson, to whom God confided recently
that "Bush would win the 2004 election in a blowout," or Jerry
Falwell, who believes the "idea that religion and politics
don't mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from
running their own country." We even giggled when Attorney
General John Ashcroft assured graduates at Bob Jones University
that "America has no king but Jesus."
Trust me - these people are not funny.
For example, Tom Delay, Texas Republican and House Majority
Leader, once told
a group of evangelical Christians that God was "using him"
to promote a biblical worldview. "Only Christianity
offers a comprehensive worldview that covers all areas of
life and thought - every aspect of creation," DeLay said.
"Only Christianity offers a way to live in response
to the realities that we find in this world. Only Christianity."
(Emphasis added) Like his counterparts, DeLay believes that
fundamentalists should "overturn the separation of church
and state and bring government under religious control."
And listen to Gary Potter, president of Catholics for Christian
Political Action - "When the Christian majority takes over
this country, there will be no satanic churches, no more free
distribution of pornography, no more talk of rights for homosexuals.
After the Christian majority takes control, pluralism will
be seen as immoral and evil and the state will not permit
anybody the right to practice evil." (Emphasis added)
But few are more frightening than Oklahoma Senator James
Inhofe who strode to the Senate chamber shortly after 9-11
to announce that the attacks were punishment by God because
we were not sufficiently in awe of Israel. Inhofe said God
told him Israel is "entitled" to the West Bank, and the U.S.
should not pressure Ariel Sharon to stop killing Palestinians.
According to Inhofe, God angrily slung three airliners full
of unsuspecting souls into the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon, incinerating more than 3,000 innocent citizens,
and furiously rammed another plane into the Pennsylvania countryside
- because America was not sufficiently subservient to Israel.
Inhofe believes America got what it deserved, and we should
heed God's "wake up call" lest He strike us again.
Brother James Inhofe - just one reason we sleep with the
lights on in Oklahoma.
The Chosen One
From Jesus is my philosopher to God is my co-pilot, George
Bush has been nothing if not ghoulishly entertaining. Far
more talented writers than I have gone completely berserk
while attempting to explain what makes Bush tick. It's simple,
really. The answer is Nothing. Nothing makes him tick. That's
why he's the perfect foil for the warhawks and religious zealots.
Bush is a swaggering, paranoid, hubristic bully, consumed
by an irrational sense of his own worth. Just your normal,
run-of-the-mill Texas good ol' boy Republican - with money.
After carousing, falling down drunk, and failing at every
business enterprise his daddy set up for him - at the tender
age of 40, Bush was "born again" and became the Lord's own
most visible high-stepping 12-stepper. Fourteen years later,
he was President of the United States. In his defense, I have
to say Bush is acting no differently than any other 14-year-old
spoiled bully would be expected to act under the same circumstances.
And he's a Believer. Bush believes what they tell him he
believes, such as he was chosen by God to lead Christians
in a righteous war against Islam. Supreme Court Justice Antonin
Scalia even blames God for his own deadly vote that thwarted
democracy in 2000 and seized power from the people. Believing
that Bush is serving by divine appointment, Scalia wrote in
a May 2002 article, God's
Justice and Ours that the government has a higher authority
granted to it by God. He said unequivocally, "Government
carries the sword as the minister of God, to execute wrath
upon the evildoer..."
Much of Scalia's, and therefore Bush's, belief is based
on, and his core speeches drawn from, the 13th Chapter of
Romans, which admonishes citizens to "obey the government,
for God is the one who has put it there." Punishment is swift
and sure for those who refuse to "obey" the laws of the land,
for the scripture says, "the policeman is sent by God to help
you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should
be afraid, for he will have you punished. He is sent by God
for that very purpose..."
Bush shrugs aside wimps like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
who can't seem to get beyond love, kindness, helping the vulnerable,
caring for the needy and the sheer compassion expounded by
Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount, and seem to prattle on endlessly
about salvation. Bush is also wont to deep-six most "Thou
Shalt Nots," because, in Romans 13, it clearly says all ten
commandments "are wrapped up in this one - to love your
neighbor as you love yourself." It is the only law Christians
need to obey - other than, of course, those of the government
and its Ashcroftian Mr. Policeman whom God has sent to punish
Americans who look at Bush and see either compassion or
morality are severely suffering from optical delusion. This
is a man who sets himself up as a purveyor of truth and knowledge,
but who sees "thugs and killers, brutal dictators and barbarians"
behind every tree, and is committed to not let "terriers and
rogue nations hold this nation hostile." This is a man who
declared war upon Islam - calling it a "crusade" - from the
pulpit of the National Cathedral rather than the Oval Office.
This is a man who enjoys what he is doing in God's name, and
who promises that he will not stop killing until the entire
world is "safe."
The world cringes as George Bush, militant neocons and the
completely mad religious right steer the Bush Ship of State
toward the jagged shoals. God has left the building.
Is it any wonder the lesser gods are shrieking with laughter?
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer, a former
US Army Public Information Officer and Axis
of Logic contributing editor.