Their beliefs are bonkers, but…

Their beliefs are bonkers, but they are at the heart of power

So sayeth The Guardian. Why does no major media in the US run stories like this?

US Christian fundamentalists are driving Bush’s Middle East policy

In the United States, several million people have succumbed to an extraordinary delusion. In the 19th century, two immigrant preachers cobbled together a series of unrelated passages from the Bible to create what appears to be a consistent narrative: Jesus will return to Earth when certain preconditions have been met.

The first of these was the establishment of a state of Israel. The next involves Israel’s occupation of the rest of its “biblical lands” (most of the Middle East), and the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques.

The legions of the antichrist will then be deployed against Israel, and their war will lead to a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. The Jews will either burn or convert to Christianity, and the Messiah will return to Earth.

Got that? They want war in the Middle East because it fulfills prophecy and thus anyone working for peace is the spawn of Satan. And oh yeah, there’s a whole narrative about how a spotless red calf must be born in Israel before this can happen. Nurse, hand me the tranquilizer gun.

We can laugh at these people, but we should not dismiss them. That their beliefs are bonkers does not mean they are marginal. American pollsters believe that 15-18% of US voters belong to churches or movements which subscribe to these teachings.

And among them are some of the most powerful men in America. John Ashcroft, the attorney general, is a true believer, so are severall prominent senators and the House majority leader, Tom DeLay.

So here we have a major political constituency – representing much of the current president’s core vote – in the most powerful nation on Earth, which is actively seeking to provoke a new world war.

The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of “Spiritus Mundi”
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Apocalypses aren’t always beneficial, now are they?

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