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Bush talks to an Old Testament God

Sat, Jul 28th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

After the 2004 election, I was mystified over the "moral values" thing. The notion that George Bush's lying about WMD and the killing of so many innocent people in Iraq could be parlayed into good election karma never occurred to me.

And that nonsense about God speaking through Bush I assumed would be taken for the grand delusion that it was.

"God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq," George Bush supposedly told a Palestinian delegation four months after invading Iraq.

In 2004 he told an Amish group in Pennsylvania, "I trust God speaks through me. Without that I couldn't do my job."

Whether these are verbatim remarks doesn't matter much. Bush was born again twenty years ago at the age of 40 and often invokes religious symbolism to explain his actions.

For example, Shock and Awe sounds so Old Testament to me, like Noah's flood or the plagues Moses threw at the Egyptians.

I know enough about the Bible to tell you that Bush, who calls himself a Christian, talks to an Old Testament God, and not a New Testament Christ; Christ was an activist during his time on earth and cared deeply about injustice and the poor.

Just prior to the start of the Iraq war I watched a Sunday news program on CBS. They interviewed a Baptist preacher in Arkansas who worked by day as a quality control inspector at a bomb manufacturing plant and on weekends served his flock in the church.

The interviewer asked the man if there was any conflict between his day job and his calling to a higher purpose.

He said no there was not and quoted Ecclesiastes (Old Testament) about their being "a time to kill and a time to heal."

And the man went on to say that if an American soldier killed an Iraqi soldier that it was not a sin as long as anger was not in the GI's heart when he pulled the trigger.

This man worships an Old Testament God as well. The Old Testament is about power and glory, the New Testament love and peace.

As I write this, the war in Iraq has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 70,000 Iraqi civilians (reported killed by military intervention according to iraqbodycount.org); 3,633 American soldiers killed and 26,806 wounded (antiwar.com); at a cost to American taxpayers of $445 billion (nationalpriorities.com).

Some Republican senators are finally standing up and saying that the war in Iraq is going nowhere, that there is no political solution in sight and it's time to think about bringing our troops home.

This amid reports that our War on Terror has done nothing to diminish the threat against us from al-Qaida - intelligence reports say the threat comes from Pakistan and not Iraq - only confirms what we have suspected for a long time - that the decision to invade Iraq diminished the resources we could bring to bear against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the main threat to the U.S after 9/11. In fact, the pre-emptive war in Iraq and ultimate invasion and occupation, gave our opponents the time to redeploy and reorganize.

So in the end, does it really matter that George Bush calls himself a Christian and talks to God?

Does it matter that the late Pope John Paul II called the Iraq war a "defeat for humanity" and rejected the neoconservative "just war" theory?

Perhaps it is difficult to expect Muslim clerics to follow a middle, more moderate path, when conservative Christians continue to support Bush's extreme "values" abroad.

Whatever happened to Jesus Christ's example of godly character, acts of compassion, and love for justice and peace?

After all, who is better positioned than the President of the United States, possibly the most powerful man in the world, to do such "good works."

Which begs the question, why as a self-proclaimed, practicing Christian has Bush failed so miserably to live up to Christ's teachings?

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