BUSH TO BRING BACK JESUS?!!
I just had a scary thought: If Bush believes he’s on a mission from God, and we know he’s a conservative evangelical Protestant, he may think that if he destroys the world (nuculer war, global warming, Armageddon with Israel and Islam, environmental devastation, arsenic in the water, etc.), he’ll usher-in the Second Coming of Christ. He probably also thinks he and his will be “raptured” away before the worst of it hits.
This is my professional analysis as a theologian. Please bear with me.
An acquaintance of mine once called certain kinds of Protestants “economic Pelagians.” Normal Pelagians were the ancient Christian heretics who believed you could earn your salvation plain and simple, do something(s) so God owes it to you. Now, on the one hand, the more recent “economic Pelagians” – mostly since the Reformation, especially the Calvinistic reformations in Scotland and England, where so many powerful Americans’ ancestors come from (including some of mine, even though I’m not powerful!) – believe or fear, like most true, unreconstructed Calvinists, that God has pre-ordained who will be “saved,” so there’s nothing anyone can do about it by being good or bad or whatever. But on the other hand, they work hard to acquire and hoard wealth, so they can believe they’re blessed by God and thus “saved.”
(These are the people who have inflicted not capitalism, but modern rationalized capitalism, on the rest of us – the systematic, tightwad kind ironically condemned by the Old Testament, e.g., Don’t reap your fields all the way to the edges and corners, leave some for the poor people and the wild animals. Not to mention the New Testament [“evangelion” = “Gospel” or “good news”!], e.g., Sell all you have, give the money to the poor, and come follow Me. One of the big “light bulb” moments of my life was when I realized just how cancerous rationalized capitalism is: It’s like Walmart driving a town’s small businesses out of business, not necessarily because they’re big or convenient, but stingy enough to find and/or provide stuff cheap enough to undercut all the locals. Maximizing profit as an obsession, even a religious obsession. Like the Ferengi on Star Trek.)
What does this have to do with Bush and the Second Coming? Well, many conservative Protestants are also what I’ll call eschatological Pelagians. (Eschatology is theology of the End, a human being’s and the world’s.) Christ plainly says no human being knows when the End will come or even how exactly, not even He, but only God the Father. And St. Paul tells one of his Churches not to worry about it at all, just to trust and have hope in God. So whatever, whenever, it’s in God the Father’s hands. Yet these guys think if they can bring about, usually through government policy or opposition to same, the end of the world, or come close to it, they’ll make Christ come back, even on their timetable! I’m not making this up! And they think that by doing so they’re doing good, perhaps fulfilling certain obscure verses in their (edited) Bibles – hence the “Bible prophecy” sermons and TV shows – and presumably saving themselves, or displaying themselves to be doing God’s will, and thereby saved.
Obviously it is extremely dangerous to have someone with this kind of belief system high in the United States government, especially the Executive Branch, which in this country is virtually unchecked by Congress, the Courts, or the States…especially under a Republican President. (In recent years, even when Democrats supposedly control Congress, they do nothing about a Republican President, Nixon [eventually] excepted.) Unfortunately, with the theft of our election system, it seems there’s little we can do about it…but say our prayers.
As they say, prayer changes things!
(Not that there’s not much we should do, however!!! Not to “save ourselves,” but because it’s right. Saving ourselves, so to speak, has to do with doing God’s real will, as discerned for 2000 or more years in the Tradition of o/Orthodox Faith in God the Holy Trinity.)