The Political/Spiritual Realm of President Bush
A belief that he's been divinely chosen to lead not simply the country, but the world
Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez
The nation may soon elect a president who believes he's been divinely chosen to lead not simply the country, but the world. Such a belief requires a serious discussion regarding his religiosity, as the future of humanity hangs in the balance. His religious supporters argue that it's God's kingdom that's actually at stake.
Published on LatinoLA: October 1, 2004
This divine choice requires a final crusade against non-believers, leading to Armageddon, though the end of the world is of little concern to his supporters, as God's kingdom is not of this world. That President Bush tends to his corporate flock, that he's militarizing society and decimating the environment (God's ultimate creation), and that he employs a few white lies in his struggle against evil doesn't dissuade them.
His neoconservative supporters manipulate those with this spiritual vision because it advances their own worldwide domination agenda (2002 Bush Doctrine). Fear requires a savior.
Agree or disagree with him, Bush's views are crystal clear: His war on terror, which purportedly seeks to "spread democracy" worldwide, also seeks to bring about that kingdom. As such, while some see him as completely oblivious to the catastrophic reality of the Iraqi war, it might be that he sees himself operating not in a political, but in a spiritual realm.
Perhaps the nation has avoided this discussion (JFK allayed the fears of a papal presidency) because it could result in a litmus test about what religion, which views and what degree of public devotion is acceptable in a president. Witness the raging Catholic debate about denying communion to politicians who support abortion/choice.
A devoutly religious leader heading a secular nation does not by itself create a dilemma, though an extremist one seeking a role in the "end times" could conceivably endanger the world. Some believe we're already there, as no one in history (with such leanings) has ever wielded as much military power as Bush.
Throughout U.S. history, the separation of church and state has served this country relatively well. Outside of religious bigotry and laws that prevented American Indians from practicing their spirituality until 1978, there's never been a state-imposed religion. Unlike past presidents, Bush's obstinate views -- which seem to be religiously based -- are interfering with his duties as president for all Americans. In peacetime, this would matter little. Yet in his war against evil, his doomsday religious beliefs seem to predominate, though they're being treated largely as political views. Ditto Attorney General John Ashcroft's assault on the Constitution and his attempt to legislate morality.
Shortly after 9/11, the president stated that he now knew what his mission was. And after declaring "Mission accomplished," he volunteered that he had consulted with his "father above" about Iraq. No one argues with victory, so not much was made of this. Yet today, Iraq is in ruins and getting worse. The danger his vision poses is that it encourages those who would amass absolute power (witness Russia's Putin and Pakistan's Musharraf) and fanatics who are convinced that God is on their side.
All this signals an epic battle between two belief systems. One relies on religious fundamentalism to bring about heaven on earth. Historically, such adherents have turned a blind eye to freedom, reason, science and education, fostering dark ages, holy wars and inquisitions. The other one relies on the separation of church and state to create a more just world. It also breeds greed and materialism, yet it trusts that human beings will eventually get it right.
Machiavellian maneuvers aside, Bush may genuinely believe that his crusade is divinely sanctioned. But his war on terror is incompatible with religion because spirituality operates in the light (not secrecy), and truth can never be sacrificed in the pursuit of justice. Never. A permanent undefined "war on terror" also violates the sanctity of life, particularly by this president, who believes that aggressive pre-emptive and permanent war is the path to eternal peace.
Most of the world, including most religious leaders, has repudiated this vision. Domestically, the nation is split, with the opposition to Bush's presidency longing for a Gandhian figure to guide the world toward peace and justice, but content with simply stopping Bush's delusions. The president may yet lead us to kingdom come. The only way we'll ever find that out, however, will be in the afterlife. With that understood, his actions compel us to ask a simple question: Are we supposed to believe that the president's "father above" has granted him the authority to wage permanent war and to sacrifice thousands of young lives, even if all the reasons given for having invaded Iraq have proven to be demonstrably false?
(c) Universal Press Syndicate 2004
Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez:
The writers can be reached at XColumn@aol.com