Onward Christian Soldiers: Missionaries Get Ready to Roll
By Jim Scanlon
According to a 1998 Harris poll, 86 percent of Americans believe in miracles and 83 percent accept the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. Another poll found that 79 % believe that biblical miracles really happened and 45% believe in the Devil. 40 % of all Americans and 79% of Evangelical Christians (George W Bush, Richard Cheney and Al Gore included) believe that the world will end in a gigantic war between Jesus and the Antichrist after the Jewish people return to Israel.
We know from reporters that the President of the United States conducts Bible study in the White House, that he believes in the power of prayer, and begins each meeting of his Cabinet with prayer. We know also that the president has consistently advocated so called "faith based programs" which would allow religious organizations to receive federal grants to do "good works."
President Bush is said to have "recommitted to Jesus Christ" when the Reverend Billy Graham "planted a seed in my heart" to stop drinking and embrace the Lord, which he did!
Billy Graham's son Franklin has been in the news lately about his plans to provide humanitarian assistance ---food and medical care and the Message of he Gospel about God's love --- to Iraq, a predominately Muslim country. This despite Graham's having made insulting, prejudicial statements about Islam, stating that it was very wicked, evil and violent. Graham's comments however are mild compared to those of the former head of the Southern Baptist Convention, which reportedly has 800 volunteers ready to enter Iraq, who called the Prophet Muhammad a "pedophile and terrorist."
If prominent Baptists say this kind of thing in public, one can scarcely imagine what they say in private! At a minimum, they are desperately in need of a good public relations firm. And the president and the Republican Party need to repudiate these kinds of statements as unworthy of public discourse.
Graham the younger delivered the religious invocation during the younger Bush's presidential inauguration and was recently the honored speaker at the Good Friday service at the Pentagon (Who knew such things went on at the Pentagon?) The following quote is from Maureen Dowd's Saturday column in the NY Times:
"After ... a Christian singer crooned 'There is one God and one faith" [a basic tenant of Islam: editor] Mr. Graham told an auditorium of soldiers in camouflage, civilian staffers and his son, a West Point cadet: 'There's no other way to God except through Christ... Jesus Christ is alive because he is risen and friends, he's coming back and I believe he's coming back soon."
This kind of insane babble is usually ignored, with embarrassment, by rational listeners, but apparently deeply appreciated and understood by the majority of Americans including the president and his staff which is truly, truly frightening.