The Gospel According to Dubya

Another great analysis of GWB and the rhetoric of apocalypse, The Gospel According to Dubya, from the fantastic website, KtB – Killing the Buddha. KtB describes itself this way: “a religion magazine for people made anxious by churches, people embarrassed to be caught in the “spirituality” section of a bookstore, people both hostile and drawn to talk of God.”

In the Book of Luke, Christ comes off, in his lust for Armageddon, as somewhere between Dick Cheney and Dr. Strangelove. “I have come to light a fire on the earth,” he announces. “How I wish the blaze were ignited! … Do you think I have come to establish peace on earth? I assure you, the contrary is true: I have come for division.” (12, 49-51)

In these moments, it becomes much easier to see how George W. Bush might view his policy of pre-emptive war as a fulfillment of his savior’s wishes — particularly a holy war against what both he and Christ call “the evildoers.” There is, in both figures, an eschatological hunger. Judgment Day becomes a revenge fantasy.

This is not to suggest that President Bush was eager for the apocalyptic specter of 9/11. But it is quite clear that the events of that day roused in him a sense of mission that had been conspicuously absent during his first eight months in office. He immediately declared a “War on Terror” — an all-encompassing battle between the forces of good and evil — which the press was only too happy to ratify. This artificially constructed “war” (it is more like a series of police actions) has kept his administration afloat by distracting the public from his domestic record. But Bush is not just making political hay; he’s bringing to fruition a moral struggle Christ foretold.

“The son of man will dispatch his angels to collection from his kingdom all who draw others to apostasy, and all evildoers,” Christ says, adding in a most unlamb-like manner, “The angels will hurl them into the fiery furnace where they will wail and grind their teeth.” (Matthew 13-41) It should be noted that while Bush does not have angels at his disposal, he does brag the largest standing army and arsenal in the history of mankind.

The domestic and international outrage his war-mongering has provoked doesn’t bother Bush a bit. Just the opposite, it reifies his connection to Christ: “Blessed shall you be when men hate you, when they ostracize and insult you and proscribe your name as evil.” (Luke, 6-22)

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