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by Hartwig Hohnsbein
Sunday, Sep. 30, 2007 at 6:17 PM
Many evangelics feel tricked by "born again" Bush on account of his lies about the Iraq war and his failure to honor the financing promises for welfare institutions. By Nov 2006, only million was paid instead of the billion promised in the election campaign.
HATE PREACHERS IN ACTION
By Hartwig Hohnsbein
[This article published in: Ossietzky, 8/17/2007 is transformed from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.linksnet.de/artikel.php?id=3201.]
Praising the president is not self-evident any more. At their annual convention in June, the “Southern Baptists” pledged to intensively continue their battle against abortion and homosexuality and “not to be diverted” by the theme “climate change” which wasn’t caused by people anyway. George W. Bush’s video message reached them by satellite. He thanked them for their different activities and emphasized their “advocacy for a `culture of life’ that reduces the number of abortions.”
The president knows how much praise and thanks he owes the “Southern Baptists,” the largest Protestant church in the US with 16 million members. His 2004 reelection would not have occurred without their support and that of other Protestant groups.
The rise of the “Southern Baptists” from a marginal Christian group to an organization that can decide elections began in the 19th century when they were opposed by the three great world-open schools of faith, Anglicans, Presbyterians and Congregationalists regarded up to them as Protestantism in America. Their credo was: back to the fundamentals of our faith, back to the gospel of the Old and New Testament whose every word was personally given by God.
According to their understanding which is still in effect today and is shared by 27 percent of organized worldwide Christendom, the Bible must be believed literally or word-for-word and criticism is prohibited. Whoever holds to that will be saved for all time and eternity. The believer is regarded as one of the “born again” in which George W. Bush. a Methodist, also includes himself. The main points of their doctrine are: rejection of Darwin’s theory of evolution that contradicts the creation myths (Genesis 1 and 2), struggle against homosexuality (according to Leviticus 20.13) and against abortion (Exodus 21.23), for the death penalty which is urged in many passages in the Bible (for example, Exod 21.17), battle against the godless (Psalm 46) and so on. From the Calvinist faith of the first settlers in the US, “evangelicals” and their militant arm “fundamentalists,” have adopted the consciousness of their divine election in “God’s own country.” As “God’s blessed,” they believe they are “the best democracy on earth” and “the greatest nation of world history.”
In the 20th century, powerful preachers who were also excellent organizers of mass evangelization carried their message of the struggle against evil which they claimed nested in socialist states in spiritual crusades around the globe. Billy Graham, Baptist preacher, progenitor of all later evangelical preachers and celebrated as “God’s machine gun” even in Old Germany, had 210 million listeners in 185 countries.
In the 1950s, Graham served as an advisor to President Eisenhower. Since then, he cannot be imagined separated from the White House. He knows his way around so well that President George Bush senior once asked him as a tourist guide to explain it to a visiting group of high-ranking lawyers.
With his help, there was much prayer, above all with presidents Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes. With Bush senior, he prayed before the 1991 Iraq war with the result: killing was sanctioned. Several years before, he successfully dissuaded his son George W. from alcohol on his 40th birthday (1986). That was the prerequisite for his later presidency.
In the meantime, the 88-year old Graham senior has “left the stage on which others now act.” His son Franklin, also a Baptist preacher, has taken over the faith business worth millions. Right after “9/11,” he found the alleged Word of God for his further spiritual work: “Islam is evil and a wicked religion.” For the later political praxis, the former chief speechwriter of the president, Michael Gerson, graduate of the leading fundamentalist school of the country, Wheaton College, created the term “axis of evil” for the “rogue states” that must be combated. Graham emphasized that in a 2003 Good Friday service held in the Defense Department shortly after the surprise attack on Iraq. At the Iraq border, co-workers of his “Samaritan’s Purse” appearing as a welfare organization would be ready to distribute the New testament in Arabic after the fighting ended.
Two very influential preachers should be named who came from the host of evangelical preachers and work according to the style of “God’s machine gun”: Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. In the 1980 presidential campaign, Falwell mobilized his television community with the abortion theme for the benefit of Ronald Reagan so that the incumbent president (also a lay preacher of the “Southern Baptists”) lost the election.
In 2005, Pat Robertson, Baptist television preacher present in 80 countries with his TV show “700 Club” and reaching a million viewers daily in the US alone, caused a worldwide sensation when before a running camera he urged the US secret service to murder Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. His reason was that an assassination would be cheaper than a war for 0 billion. Chavez commented on this call to murder in September 2005 before the UN General Assembly: “The only country that can afford the luxury of urging the murder of a head of state is the United States. This recently happened with a preacher Pat Robertson who is a great friend of the White House. Before the world, he publically demanded my murder and still runs about freely. That is a crime of international terrorism.” Robertson also has friends elsewhere: in Guatemala the former president Rios Monti under whose rule over 200,000 people were murdered, in Liberia the Baptist preacher Charles Taylor who was president in 1997 and now faces a special tribunal in the Haag for crimes against humanity.
The fundamentalist preachers are well prepared for the approaching US election campaign. Whether they have enough influence to bring a president of their liking into the White House is doubtful. Many evangelicals feel tricked by “born again” Bush on account of his lies about the Iraq war and his failure to honor the financing promises for welfare institutions. Up to November 2006, only million was paid instead of the billion promised in the election campaign.
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