Sunday, May 17, 2009

So why didn't God bless America?

Turns out that as shock and awe got rolling in Iraq Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld began including what he thought would be relevant biblical passages on the cover sheets of his top-secret intelligence briefings for  Bush.  Rummie's calculus, correct in all likelihood,  was that his department's intelligence views would carry more weight  with the juicy-for-Jesus president if they came with the biblical imprimatur.

I think most people who see the cover sheets will be vaguely creeped out by it and disturbed by the implication that Bush was perceived to be so weak-minded by his own advisors that he could be influenced by this kind of thing.  But really, why shouldn't he have been susceptible to biblical influence?  He's a self professed Christian who believes he was washed clean of various addictions by the power of the blood so he's walking the walk.   The bible is intended to be a guide for Christians in decision making in all aspects of life so I don't think its such a big deal really for him to look for some bible back up.

The question for bible-believers I think is why didn't it turn out better? Here we were with a born again  Christian leader looking to the Lord in a war against an army of  ostensibly nihilistic non believers.  That sounds like a pretty sweet set-up.   In that time I think most Americans would have said that God was on our side and certainly  all Christian-istas would have said He was.  So how did it get so fucked up?   Opponents of the war were cast as anti-American and are still characterized as having more tolerance for Islam than Christianity by the Godly right.  But the evidence that Bush's Iraq war policy was divinely guided is pretty slim.

Lincoln said " my concern is not that God is on our side, my greatest concern is to be on God's side".  Clearly the default presumption among most American Christians is that God is on our side by definition when  U.S. policy goals align in a way that accords with their cultural understanding of  His will, indeed they are largely incapable of thinking otherwise.  And of course this is the great danger when religion allows itself to stand as a cultural placeholder rather than an actual philosophy of the spirit.   I doubt that many Christians if any are contemplating whether or not they got crosswise with their savior over this one but I think they should.  It would do their religion and nation no end of good.

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