Church at War? :: Part Two ::

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Consolidating Religious Front

Just as all the fronts against Islam draw inspiration from the religious front, the religious front too, for the first time, has taken full advantage of the born-again Christians at the political front.

The religious front is now more united than ever in the US history. Pope’s speech after meeting with Bush on June 4, 2004 is an evidence of a long-term consensus between the world’s lone political and military super-fronts against Islam.

A noticeable drawing together between Bush, the Methodist, and Catholithics was underway before the elections and the elections results reflected it well. 52 percent of Catholics voted for Bush, and 47 percent for Kerry. In 2000, the percentages were reversed: 48 percent for Bush and 51 for the Democratic candidate.

Among Catholics who attend mass every Sunday, the divergence was even wider: 56 percent for Bush against 43 for Kerry.

Eleven states also held referendums to emend their constitutions to establish the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and to block the path to gay unions. In all of them, the opponents of gay marriage won by large margins.

At another level of more impact, convergence is underway between Catholic Americans and their most heated religious rivals: the evangelical Protestants, which religious analysts call as “an absolute novelty in the history of the United States.”

The traditional line-ups of Catholics always supporting Democrats and evangelicals supporting Republicans have completely changed. There were bishops who refused to give communion to Kerry.

At the same time, a growing number of Catholics made common cause with the evangelicals, in support of Bush, who calls himself a “messenger” of God, who is doing “the Lord’s will.”[14]

The world witnessed a good example of this display of unity seven days before Bush-Pope meeting, Bush met in Washington a panel of religious thinkers brought together by Christianity Today, the magazine founded by the most famous of the evangelical Islam-basher, Billy Graham.[15] There were two highly influential Catholics among the group: the editor of “Crisis,” Deal Hudson, and the editor of “First Things,” Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.

The way transcripts of a few hours long interview are posted on the online edition of “Christianity Today” shows how they find each other in perfect harmony. Bush was questioned on every topic from Iraq to Israel, the pope, Islam, Cuba, terrorism, torture, the family, school, and prayer and he was fully and repeatedly quoted in the post.[16]

Bush, from the political front, has played a great role in convergence between Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism on the religious front. While “leaders” like Musharraf from the Muslim world never stop playing with dogs to show their liberalism, Bush never hesitates to tell publicly about his reading each morning a page from the writings of Oswald Chambers (1874-1917), one of the most popular evangelical spiritual teachers of the past century.

To the inspiration of others on the religious front, Bush says he is an assiduous reader of the writings of another evangelical, a former chaplain of the United States Senate, Lloyd Ogilvie. He claims he is a “born again” Christian who plans to re-read the entire Bible in the span of a year, as he has done several times since he attended Donald Evans’ Bible school from 1985-1986.

To pave the way for merger, apart from Robert Bork and Robert Royal the most inner circle of Bush’s collaborators includes a very authoritative Catholic priest, Fr. Neuhaus, who is both a theologian and a political analyst. All of them are Catholics coming from Protestant faiths Fr. Neuthaus directs First Things, the leading magazine for Catholic neocons.

Things are not as simple as drawing a chart with personalities and their positions in oil companies to show that this is a war for oil. Actually, this is a war ignited and extended by the religious oil. Note at this point that Fr. Neuhaus is one of the close advisors of Bush. Neuhaus, in turn, has his confidant Michael Novak, who studied theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and still teaches in the theological faculties of Rome. It was Novak who went to Vatican before the US invasion of Iraq to illustrate the theological justifications for Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq.

At one occasion, during the interview Bush admited that he needs “Father Richard around more.” Father Neuhas, in turn, needs Avery Dulles around him more, not only for contribution to First Things, but for broader planning because he, too, is active both at the political and religious fronts against Islam. He was a Jesuit and then made a cardinal in 2001. This “reborn Christian” comes from a family of the WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) establishment. His father, John W. Foster Dulles, was secretary of state during the Eisenhower presidency, and his uncle, Allen W. Dulles, was head of the CIA.

Again, all these development did occur over night with the arrival of Bush on the scene. The efforts at conjunction between evangelicals and Catholics, in the United States, began after the fall of Soviet Union. In mid-90s’ they released a joint document with an unequivocal title: “Evangelicals and Catholics together.”

For evangelicals, at the head of the dialogue there was Charles Colson, a former assistant to Nixon and destroyed with him by the Watergate scandal, then born again in the faith. For the Catholics, there was Bush’s mentor and advisor Fr. Neuhaus, with the support of Cardinal O’Connor and the future cardinal Dulles.

While efforts were underway to divide Muslims through introduction of the initial classifying notion “fundamentalists,” which has now taken many forms from radicals, to Islamists and finally terrorists; leaders on the religious front made substantial gains in bringing different factions together.

Father Neuhaus came out with a book, The Naked Public Square, to impress the evangelicals, and so he did. It was a wake up call to let all on the religious front see the growing disappearance of religion from public life. The book was a successful attempt to bring to light traits that are common to both Catholic and evangelical thought for putting them into practice.

Since then, the evangelicals have made great progress. They have been successful in developed an ideology to create human cannon fodder to deploy against Islam on all fronts: media, academia, political and military. The cover story of the US News and World Report declared on April 24, 1995:”Re-ligious Conservatives Think Their Time has Come” to take power in the United States. In 2005, we see that they have not only consolidated that power, but also helped lunched “pre-emptive” strikes on their perceived enemies.

During the last decades of the 20th century, the so-called conservatives or the religious right groups ran multi-billion dollar networks “for God’s sake.” Back in 1995, Patric Trueman, a former Justice Department lawyer, noted that leader of the conservative Christian move-ment, James Dobson “commands armies of people” and is anchor man of the Republican party.

In 2004, we witnessed that their influence has been decisive in many of the choices of the US presidency: from “peace” in Sudan to the war in Iraq and more decisive support than ever for Israel.

Christianization of the Republican Party, an article from the Christian Statesman, claims: “Once dismissed as a small regional movement, Christian conservatives have become a staple of politics nearly everywhere. Christian conservatives now hold a majority of seats in 36% of all Republican Party state committees (or 18 of 50 states), plus large minorities in 81% of the rest, double their strength from a decade before. The twin surges of Christians into GOP ranks in the early 1980s and early 1990s have begun to bear fruit, as naive, idealistic recruits have transformed into savvy operatives and leaders, building organizations, winning leadership positions, fighting onto platform committees, and electing many of their own to public office.”[17]

Political adventures of the religious Front

The Vatican’s latest support to the war in Iraq is not something unusual. An unusual book by the US Ambassador to the Vatican, “The United States and the Holy See: The Long History”[18] gives a detailed account of the political adventures of the religious front. The book reconstructs the history of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See, from their beginning in 1788 until today.

In the final pages, Nicholson writes about one of his conversations with John Paul II two days after the events of September 11, 2001. “I met the Pope at Castelgandolfo for about twenty minutes…. After we had spoken at length and prayed together, the Pope told me that he believed the events of September 11 were truly an attack,’ and that we were justified in taking defensive action….. It was at this meeting that the foundations were laid for the support of the Holy See for our campaign against terrorism. It is extraordinary that the Pope and the Church wished to help us, and likewise worth noticing that this support continues today.”

It, therefore, must not be a surprise for many that Michael Novak is known as prophet of “democratic capitalism” which is one of the covers and leading forces behind the ongoing war. According to Sandro Magister, who is an analyst for Italian newspaper L’espresso concludes:

“The doctrine of the exportation of democracy is typically evangelical. And Bush is evangelical when he says, ‘I believe freedom is the Almighty God’s gift to each man and woman in this world.'”

This, however, does not end the story. Exporting democracy is no more an evangelical project alone. Julian Coman and Bruce Johnston of British Daily Telegraph (October 10, 2004) report from Rome: “Vatican buries the hatchet with Blair and Bush over Iraq” and gave official support a military option for “protecting Iraq’s nascent democracy.” So it is a joint Catholic-evangelical project. In other words a total Christian project led by many fronts from media to military.

This is where Zionists join in and gradually this Catholic-evangelical alliance start associating with the neo-cons, with Jews like Michael Horowitz, a great defender of persecuted Christians throughout the world: perfectly in line with the Vatican’s point of view.[19]

All starts are perfectly aligned for the religious front. In an interview with Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times, on May 31, 2004, Fr. Neuhaus said: “It is an extraordinary realignment that if continues is going to create a very different kind of configuration of Christianity in America.”

Meanwhile, the pope of Rome is no longer the Antichrist for the evangelicals of the United States. In a recent survey of them, John Paul II won first place for popularity, with 59 percent saying they view him favorably, ahead of Pat Robertson, with 54, and Jerry Falwell, with 44 percent.

Along these developments, Philip Jenkins raises the frightening prospect of a re-run of the medieval Crusades (this time with much more devastating weaponry) in his book, The Next Christendom: The coming Blobal Christianity.[20] A wholehearted disavowal of the old Christendom –” and all forms of coercive and imperialistic Christianity –” is nowhere seen in the conversations, statements or plans of the leaders of the religious front.

The religious Front’s political adventures and support of the barbarism, as we witness in Iraq, paves the way for modern day crusades and plans for dealing with the situation, which Philip Jenkins describes in his book.

Unlike their perceived enemies (Muslims), the Christian religious front considers its involvement in political affairs and foreign policy as inevitable because they foresee and plan for a clash. They think long term. In Jenkins view, people tend to think of Muslims nations as those which are the fastest growing, but Christian nations are growing at least as fast. Again, by 2050, nearly 20 of the 25 largest nations will be predominantly or entirely Christian or Muslim.

In Jenkins words: “By 2050, there should be about three Christians for every two Muslims worldwide. Some 34 percent of the world’s population will then be Christian, roughly what the figure was at the height of European hegemony in 1900.” At least 10 will be the sites of intense conflict, where Christian and Muslim communities vie for dominance. These conflicts may make the religious wars of the 16th century Europe look very tame.

To prepare for these conflicts, the religious front has planned to reach all segments of the power structure at all levels. One of the crucial areas of influence is the so-called think tanks. An Italian intellectual, Marco Respinti, who knows the religious front very well, wrote an article: “New Theologies: the Dawning of the Theoconservative Era in United States.”

Respinti wrote this article for September 19, 2003 issue of the daily, Il Foglio. He explains the roots of neoconism in the US. In one think tanks alone he assesses the influence of Neocons by their numbers in these words: “Today Robert Bork is senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., together with Walter Berns, Lynne V. Cheney, David Frum, Newt Gingrich, Jean J. Kirkpatrick, Irving Kristol, Michael A. Ledeen, Joshua Muravchik, Michael Novak, Richard N. Perle and Ben J. Wattemberg” ¾ not to speak of the appointment of anti-Islam propaganda war-lord Daniel Pipes to the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace.

The religious front’s deep involvement with the think tanks makes the Church one of the torchbearers of the so-called democracy because it is a concept-made-permissible to the extent that people can hardly argue against it.

Headlines such as “Trying Democracy in Baghdad, with the Vatican’s Blessing,” The Pope Receives Iraqi premier Allawi,” and the “Church Encourages Islamic Journey to Democracy,” are telling signs of the political adventures of the religious front.

The way Pope met Allawi in private on November 04, 2004 in Rome and then blessed Allawi’s wife, Thana, the minister for development, Mehdi Hahedh, the minister for human rights, Bakhtiar Amin, and the new Iraqi ambassador to the Vatican, Albert Yelda, in another meetings shows how Vatican has granted full recognition to the US puppet regime installed for consolidation of occupation.

Vatican approach is neither permanent nor grounded in reality. Just one years before meeting with Allawi, calling for democratic transition and openly supporting bloody adventures in Muslim countries, La Civiltà Cattolica –” the magazine of the Rome Jesuits, printed with the supervision and authorization of the secretariat of state –” wrote that the pretext of transplanting democracy to these countries is “particularly offensive for the Islamic community.” Today, Islamic communities must accommodate occupation forces, so that they may plant democracy there.

The adventures go beyond supporting occupation. There are systematic calls to the political front for the strongest military approach possible. Long before Vatican’s open declaration of supporting US occupation of Iraq, on September 20, 2004, Cardinal Ruini spoke to the permanent council of the Italian bishops’ conference, and repeated the duty of the Christian West to “oppose organized terror with the greatest energy and determination, without giving the slightest impression of considering their blackmail and their impositions,” and at the same time, to transform into “our principal allies” the elements of the Muslim world that desire “liberty and democracy.”

This is a blatant disregard of the US motives and lies for the war on Iraq, and a blind commitment to never allow an alternative Islamic governing system to take roots anywhere in the world. Instead the focus is on not to lose sight of the ultimate goal i.e., conversion of most of the world to Christianity. (See Charles Duhigg’s article, Evangelicals Flock into Iraq on a Mission of Faith, in Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2004 [21] and David Rennie’s “Bible Belt Missionaries Set Out On a ‘War for Souls’ in Iraq,” in Telegraph UK December 27, 2003.)[22]

In an attempt to influence the political front for religious adventures, an appeal was made in the newspaper Il Foglio on September 21, 2004 for the Italian government to become a promoter within NATO and the European Union of a massive deployment of the troops of the Atlantic Alliance. Among others, the appeal was signed by Vittorio E. Parsi, for Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference.

Similarly, the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, expressed admiration for the United States and severely criticised an excessively anti-American and secularist Europe, and also the UN in an interview to the New York correspondent of the newspaper La Stampa on September 22, 2004.

These examples of the visible aggression of the religious front are enough to give us a clue to their behind the scene struggle against Islam. There was hesitation and reluctance to support the Iraq war because everyone had assumed it a just war and expected full cooperation of the oppressed Iraqis. However, the growing resistance now gives them an indication that the Iraqis didn’t reject Saddam as strongly and forcefully as they are rejecting the US occupation. They now see a flavour of Islam in resistance and the religious front has now intensified its struggle to make the occupation as success.

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Notes:

[14] In the new book by journalist Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack, based on taped conversations with the President, Bush describes himself as a “messenger” of God who is doing “the Lord’s will.” April 20 by Robert Scheer, reporter for the Los Angeles Times “With God on His Side … “http://www.theocracywatch.org/with_g_on_his_side.htm

[15] Graham believes Christians need to more clearly spell out the differences between their faith and Islam. In his words: “This nation has been attacked, we’ve been attacked by men who claim to worship Allah. We have been attacked by a people, a group, in the name of Islam, and the clerics, the religious leaders of Islam have not denounced it.” The theme that is repeated by Gen. Boykin in the military front, comes from Persons like Graham, who believe: “Many people after 9/11 said that ‘The Muslims, they worship the same god we do, they just have their way to God. Christians have their way to God. But it’s the same God.’ No, it’s not.” His son repeatedly calls Islam “evil and wicked” religion. See: http://www.jesusjournal.com/jj_issues/grahamonislam.html

[16] Sheryl Henderson Blunt, “Bush Calls for ‘Culture Change'” In interview, President says new era of responsibility should replace ‘feel-good.’posted 05/28/2004 See: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/121/51.0.html

[17] http://www.natreformassn.org/statesman/02/chrepub.html

[18] Jim Nicholson, “The United States and the Holy See: The Long History.” Published by “30 Giorni,” Rome, 2002, 84 pages.

[19] A Jesuit magazine, La Civilta Cattolica, thought of as the semi-official voice of the Vatican, published an article in October 2003, apparently to highlight the “desperate plight” of Christians in Muslim countries, but in reality its objective was to criticize the main concepts of Islam in which Jihad clearly stood out.

[20] Philip Jenkins, “The Next Christendom. The Coming of Global Christianity”, Oxford University Press, 2002.

[21] http://www.theocracywatch.org/irag_yahoo.htm

[22] Also see Christian Missionaries Battle For Hearts and Minds in Iraq From the Washington Post, May 16, 2004. http://www.theocracywatch.org/missionaries_post.htm

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