Saturday, June 30, 2007

Thoughts on Baldwin and Bushism

Pastor Chuck Baldwin is now being published at VDARE. God bless Peter Brimelow.

Baldwin's most recent column is a doozy. I wish I could write with such clarity.

Baldiwn dissects the tragedy of the Bush administration from Iraq to immigration, from massive new spending programs (No Child Left Behind, free Cialis for geezers, etc.) to his refusal to heed judicial or congressional oversight. Baldwin correctly concludes that "the Bush II regime is worse than those of Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and even Bill Clinton."

And yet the biggest problem created by the president has nothing to do with policy. Rather, his identification with, and support from, conservative evangelicals has done severe damage to the faith.

Baldwin says it succinctly: "The worst tragedy of the Bush presidency is the damage he has done to the image and influence of Christianity. It is no hyperbole to say that George W. Bush has done more to demean and mitigate the positive influence of genuine Christianity than any single person in American history."

Baldwin continues: "Because George W. Bush successfully portrayed himself as the ultimate Christian president, his life and policies are indelibly linked to the very definition of what it means to be a Christian in public office. The Religious Right also share in this perception, as they almost universally and totally gave their allegiance to Bush. Hence, as far as most Americans are concerned, George W. Bush is a Christian, and, therefore, his philosophies and ideas are assumed to be Christian as well."

Thus Christians are thrust into defending "pre-emptive" warfare, torture, amnesty for law breakers, the denial of constitutional rights to citizens, and centralized, unchecked executive authority.

Also virtually ignored by my brothers and sisters is Bush's syncretism. And by their silence, leaders of the Religious Right effectively endorse religious egalitarianism and remain silent in the face of idolatry.

Our ostensibly Christian president has bowed down before the "gods" of Shintoism, publicly celebrated Ramadan, and frequently equated Allah with the triune God. He has said that Christians and Muslims pray to the same God, and when asked if both groups go to heaven said, "Yes, they do. We have different routes of getting there."

In short, George Bush has supported and advanced syncretistic idolatry while professing faith in God through the mediating redemption provided by Jesus Christ.

"As a result," says Baldwin, "not only do non-Christians look askance at Christianity, many genuine Christians have had their entire philosophy regarding Biblical principles uprooted and redefined. Worse still, many Christians have, either wittingly or unwittingly, chosen to adopt Bush's brand of Christianity, and in so doing, have abandoned genuine Bible Christianity."

This tendency has been noted frequently by correspondents who have written to me over the last several years. One lady wrote to say she had "been struggling with this heresy within my own church...and I have finally gotten to the point of asking the Pastoral staff and Elders for an accounting, justification if you will, of HOW they can embrace this war as Just and Of God when it was created with Lies and Deception."

Another American expatriate living in Europe read one of my essays and wrote of his experience. "I slowly watched my country and its leadership descend into its own hell, justifying each step it took along the path. Wrong became right and defendable as we were a country at war. We weren't quite sure who the enemy was, but they were real and dangerous. And most disturbing of all for me personally was that American leaders were espousing a strange form of Christian morality as the basis of their actions. And as you have so clearly pointed out, legitimate Christian leaders were lock and step in line with the political leaders."

What is instructive to note is that social ethics, and the application of biblical principles and law, has apologetic and evangelical consequences. This same writer saw what was happening in the American evangelical church and wondered if the fruit being produced indicated that the tree itself was poisonous. "I found myself unquestionably in conflict with my American political leadership and even began to question my own faith. If so many Christian leaders who I had previously seen as godly men in the bad old morally corrupt Clinton days could support the policies of this administration, then where did that leave me and my evangelical faith."

Another correspondent wrote to describe how alone he felt in challenging the consensus of the new political religion spawned by the president and his evangelical allies.

"Man, it's lonely out here! For the longest time it felt like I was the only Christian who recognized the duplicity of this administration regarding the Iraq war and the troubling veil of deception which seems to infect the Evangelical community at large. I remain mystified at the total lack of discernment in the evangelical community. Duplicity is the calling-card of this administration...the 'fruit' is rotten and it's everywhere. Appointing Gays, continued abortion funding, illegal immigration and the bogus 911 event as a pre-text for war...pure evil. Any dissention from the popular point of view is usually met with 'you're a liberal, a communist, Marxist, leftist, conspiracy nut' al. And of course, there's the simplistic propaganda and sloganeering made famous by our own President, who uttered the remarkably historic quip, 'you're either for us, or against us'".

The problem for Christians is their near full embrace of neo-conservatism. A Christian understanding of human nature and original sin recognizes that all authority is ultimately derivative, limited and delegated by God. Furthermore, Christians are naturally suspicious of globalist attempts to reconstruct the Tower of Babel, and recognize that borders and nations are gifts of God.

A Christian worldview applied to politics thus endorses limited government bound by a written Constitution and respect for law. It believes in a foreign policy that rejects the messianic impulse. It will defend the right of peoples and nations to maintain some measure of ethnic and religious coherence and integrity.

Conversely, neo-conservatives endorse untrammeled executive power, and seek the debasement of legislative bodies and reject the "interference" of judicial bodies. They conflate Israeli and American interests, driven to create a Pax Americana at the point of a bayonet under the rubric of Democracy. They are aligned with business interests who preach the doctrine of homo economicus, who seek mass immigration as a means of keeping wages low and seek the integration of the American nation into a global marketplace as a means of its destruction.

Evangelical voters have become little more than an instrument wielded by the GOP establishment, a rent-a-mob that has destroyed the last remnants of bona fide conservatism and constitutionalism.

The association of President Bush with Christianity and the subsequent public rejection of Bushism likely means that authentic Christianity will have a diminished role in shaping public policy and will wield less influence in the public square.

Friday, June 29, 2007

We're on the Way Out

Events of the past week demonstrate that we are on the way out of Iraq. Senators Lugar, Voinovich and Warner appear to be exiting the reservation and are publicly questioning administration strategy. If only they had shown such good judgment BEFORE the war.

Speaking in the Senate chamber in a fifty minute speech, Lugar, a prominent GOP honcho-establishmentarian-type said: "In my judgment, the costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved. Persisting indefinitely with the surge strategy will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests over the long term."

What are those interests? Lugar lists four: 1) Prevent creation of a safe haven for terrorists. 2) Prevent sectarian war from spilling out into the broader Middle East. 3) Prevent Iran's domination of the region. 4) Limit the loss of U.S. credibility through the region and the world as a result of a failed mission in Iraq.

Again, I ask, wouldn't it really have been better for Lugar to have thought about this is 2003?

More evidence that the war will be winding down can be gleaned from the military strategy being employed on the ground. With the expectation that Congress will soon enough implement timelines and draw down schedules, the "surge" strategy is now focused almost entirely on Al Qaeda rather than Shiite Muslim militias and death squads.

The change in strategy "reflects the belief of some senior officers in Iraq that the militias probably will reduce attacks once it becomes clear that a U.S. pullout is on the horizon. By contrast, they believe Al Qaeda in Iraq could be emboldened by a withdrawal plan and must be confronted before one is in place."

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Christians, Israel, and the Middle East

I recently read Paul Findley's "They Dare Speak Out." Findley was a congressman from rural Illinois from the late 60's until he was taken down by the Israeli lobby in 1982, defeated by a rising young politico named Richard Durbin, now one of the most prominent Dems in the United States Senate.

I've seen much ink spilled in the last month or so over the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War, but surprisingly (snicker, snicker) not too much discussion recalling a less auspicious anniversary--the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. You can read Findley's recounting here.

My concern for now is not the events of that day forty years ago, but the continuing and on-going political cover evangelical Christians provide for Israel. Much support for the state of Israel comes from a genuine and heartfelt belief among conservative, bible-believing Christians that God made promises to the Jewish people that are tied up in a piece of real estate on the Mediterranean Sea. So where does this belief spring from?

First, many evangelicals believe the Bible teaches that God literally gave Jews the land of Israel forever. Speaking to a group of Israelis, Pat Robertson said: “Ladies and Gentleman, evangelical Christians support Israel because we believe that the words of Moses and the ancient prophets of Israel were inspired by God. We believe that the emergence of a Jewish state in the land promised by God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was ordained by God. We believe that God has a plan for this nation which He intends to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth.”

But those promised blessings and realities have found their fulfillment in Christ. The Promised Land was once the specific place of God’s primary redemptive work, but now the arena of redemption has moved from type to reality. Abraham was not merely an heir to the land, but of “the world” (Rom. 4:13). It is no longer merely a portion of the world that is to be redeemed, but all the nations (Matt. 28:19-20).

In Christ’s redemption and ultimate victory, it is the entire cosmos (“the land” in a new covenant perspective) that is being recreated and redeemed. The promise of renewal and restoration symbolized by the old covenant land promises has been expanded to encompass the entire world. According to Christ, it is no longer ethnic Jews who will inherit the Promised Land, but the “meek” who will inherit the entire earth (Matt. 5:5).

A second factor driving evangelical support for Israel is eschatology, or the understanding of “the last things.” Much of contemporary evangelicalism and modern fundamentalism has adopted a strand of pre-millennialism called dispensationalism. Pre-millennialism teaches that Christ will return bodily to earth in order to establish a worldwide kingdom centered in Jerusalem. A final judgment will take place one thousand years after Christ's return; hence, the return is pre-millennial.

Though there are a number of more complicated variants, most Dispensationalists also hue to the doctrine of a “pre-tribulational rapture”. They teach that before His bodily return, Christ will first return invisibly to "rapture" the church into heaven. This translation of the church into a heavenly state precedes the “Great Tribulation,” which according to Dispensationalists is a future event and is described in Matthew 24. It is only after this period of tribulation, also called the “days of vengeance” (Luke 21:22), that Christ will return bodily to set up a worldwide kingdom that will last a thousand years.

According to most evangelicals, the Great Tribulation will be a period of tremendous suffering and will also see the rise of the anti-Christ. The slaughter of Israeli Jews, especially during the latter half of this period, will take grand proportions. Dispensationalist theologian John Walvoord says that 2/3 of Israelis will be killed: “According to Zechariah's prophecy Zechariah 13:8, 9), two thirds of the children of Israel in the land will perish, but the one third that are left will be refined and be awaiting the deliverance of God at the second coming of Christ which is described in the next chapter of Zechariah.”

Gary North points to one psychological benefit of holding to a Dispensational hermeneutic—it’s adherents believe they can cheat death by effectively sacrificing Israeli Jews:

Therefore, in order for most of today's Christians to escape physical death, two-thirds of the Jews in Israel must perish, soon. This is the grim prophetic trade-off that fundamentalists rarely discuss publicly, but which is the central motivation in the movement's political support for the State of Israel.

It should be clear why they believe that Israel must be defended at all costs by the West. If Israel were removed militarily from history prior to the Rapture, then the strongest case for Christians' imminent escape from death would have to be abandoned. This would mean the indefinite delay of the Rapture. The fundamentalist movement thrives on the doctrine of the imminent Rapture, not the indefinitely postponed Rapture.

If North is correct, the survival of a Jewish state of Israel is necessary for its sacrificial role. There are a couple of implications.

First, there will be little evangelism of Jews. Hence Pat Robertson or John Hagee will hobnob with Israelis and never mention Christ’s work, for if Israeli Jews were converted en masse to Christianity, they would then be Raptured, too, leaving only Arabs behind. Such a scenario would make the immediate fulfillment of prophecy impossible because there would be no Jews left to persecute. So instead of evangelizing, many fundamentalists opt instead to send money to organizations whose goal is to return Jews to Israel.

Second, as North says, if Israel were militarily removed from the land it would mean an indefinite delay of the Rapture. The result is untrammeled support for Israeli policy. Some go even further and see the displacement of non-Jewish inhabitants of the land as legitimate, something of a replay of the conquest commanded by God during the days of Joshua.

When Findley first wrote “They Dare Speak Out,” evangelical support for Israel was strong. If anything, it has gotten stronger. According to a recent Zogby poll, 31% of Americans and 40% of Protestants believe that "Israel must have all of the promised land, including Jerusalem, to facilitate the second coming of the messiah." Zogby's poll would have been more informative had he separated Protestants from self-described Evangelicals.

If evangelicals believe that all of the promised land belongs to Israel by God’s promise and that it is the key to facilitating the return of Christ, they will obviously feel compelled to support the policies of Israel. One of America’s most prominent Baptist leaders, Richard Land, puts it this way: “God blesses those that bless the Jews and curses those who curse the Jews. Consequently, we believe America needs to bless the Jews and Israel because if we bless the Jews and support Israel, God blesses us. And if we don't, God curses us.”

Dispensational theology has entered the American bloodstream through the religious media and books such as the Left Behind series. But it shows up in other strange places, too.

In a speech to the Knesset in 1994, Bill Clinton sounded like Dr. Land, asserting that abandoning Israel would be an unforgivable sin and that according to the will of God the land of the bible should continue as the possession of Israel in perpetuity. He also committed the United States to supporting that aim and goal.

Here is a snippet of the speech that can be read in its entirety here:

The truth is that the only time my wife and I ever came to Israel before today was 13 years ago with my pastor on a religious mission. I was then out of office. I was the youngest former governor in the history of the United States. No one thought I would ever be here -- perhaps my mother; no one else.

We visited the holy sites. I relived the history of the Bible, of your Scriptures and mine. And I formed a bond with my pastor. Later, when he became desperately ill, he said I thought I might one day become President. And he said, more bluntly than the Prime Minister did, "If you abandon Israel, God will never forgive you." He said it is God's will that Israel, the biblical home of the people of Israel, continue forever and ever.

So I say to you tonight, my friends, one of our Presidents, John Kennedy, reminded us that here on Earth, God's will must truly be our own. It is for us to make the homecoming; for us to chose life; for us to work for peace. But until we achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East and then after we achieve comprehensive peace in the Middle East, know this -- your journey is our journey, and America will stand with you now and always.

What are some of the consequences of this Israel-centric view of the complexities and vagaries of Middle Eastern geopolitics? Look at two events from just the past week.

After meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Washington, President Bush pledged to increase US military aid to Israel over the course of the next decade. Since the Camp David Accords, Israel has received $3 billion from the United States. Despite our turning Israel into the penultimate regional military power, there is a demand for more. More financial support, diplomatic cover, and even military action on Israel's behalf are demanded.

A more serious matter was a resolution passed by Congress last week, calling on the United Nations Security Council to "charge Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the United Nations Charter because of his calls for the destruction of the State of Israel."

The measure past by a tally of 411-2, and demonstrated again the clout wielded on Capitol Hill by the Israeli Lobby. Interestingly, the motivation for the resolution is the claim that Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be "wiped off the map” in a speech last year.

In fact, the quotation was a mistranslation, indeed a fabrication, of what was actually said, but that doesn’t matter, because as a post-modern imperial power we simply choose to make our own reality. That only two members of the House, Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, voted against this piece of nonsense is demonstrative of the hypocrisy of the “antiwar” Democrats. It also reveals the depth of the foreign policy consensus where the Middle East and Israel are concerned.

My point is not that 411 members of the House are Dispensationalists or Christians, for that matter. Most are not. Rather, I am asserting that ideas have consequences and theology has outward manifestations. Is the fruit produced by Dispensationalism and Christian Zionism good fruit, or is the tree rotten?

Friday, June 15, 2007

It's Back

Like a monster in a bad B-movie, "comprehensive immigration reform" will not die. Over cocktails yesterday, Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid resurrected the “grand compromise” which could come to the Senate floor as early as next week.

Attempting to allay concerns of critics that enforcement provisions will ultimately fall by the wayside, the president said, "We're going to show the American people that the promises in this bill will be kept.” Legislators in the “world’s greatest deliberative body” will consider 19 amendments to the bill, including several which will provide $4.4 billion for enhanced border security.

As with prior attempts at immigration overhaul, employer sanctions will inevitably go absolutely nowhere. Moreover, given the track record of Congress and the Administration it is inconceivable that the border will be genuinely secured. I mean really, we’re much too busy securing the borders between Iraq and Syria, Iraq and Iran, North and South Korea, Afghanistan and Pakistan, etc.

During the first six years of the Bush presidency, the illegal population grew by 79%, legal immigration has increased about 20%, and nearly 2 million babies were born to immigrants.

Domestic enforcement of employer sanctions has likewise been abandoned by our government. As recently as 1997, there were 17,554 workplace arrests of illegals. In 2005, there were a mere 251. Out of an estimated 7.2 million employed illegals, 0.003 percent can expect to be arrested.

As one great statesman and orator once remarked, "Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lying Libertarian Lickspittles

Writing from his perch at the Independent Institute, libertarian Alvaro Vargas Llosa spews forth a pathetic attempt to defend open borders and malign those conservatives who might not wish to imbibe the Kool-Aid being offered by immithusiasts.

Llosa, a Peruvian immigrant who maintains dual American/Peruvian citizenship, is a typical libertarian—he knows exactly what conservatives should think. “Conservatism,” writes Llosa, “has always been pro immigration…[and] conservatives have understood that spontaneous social interactions and institutions are what make nations healthy, prosperous and peaceful. It is those social customs—and not bureaucracies detached from reality—that make the law. For conservatives, a real legislator is someone who pays close attention to social norms and tries to adapt to them.” Llosa even manages to enlist Edmund Burke into the cause of amnesty for illegals.

Burke was the epitome of the prudent legislator and thinker. Unimpressed with abstractions, Burke fought against the ideological currents of his era. In our time, the great existential challenge to the American nation is the demographic tsunami unleashed by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which continues to transform the country economically, culturally and politically.

Commenting on the threat emanating from the south, Samuel Huntington has written that the current flow of immigration has no historical precedent and signals the death-knell of the American nation. "Mexican immigration differs from past immigration and most other contemporary immigration due to a combination of six factors: contiguity, scale, illegality, regional concentration [in the American Southwest], persistence, and historical presence... Demographically, socially, and culturally, the reconquista (re-conquest) of the Southwest United States by Mexican immigrants is well underway."

Would Burke counsel passivity in the face of the threat documented by Huntington?

Llosa accuses amnesty opponents of irrationalism, while he is evidently toting around a raft full of facts. Nevertheless, Llosa reverts to a human-interest story designed to, in the immortal words of “Simpson’s” newsman Kent Brockman, “tug at the heart and fog the mind”

Llosa tells the story of a Bolivian women named Rosita. On her way across the border (illegally), Rosita was raped in Guatemala, swindled in Mexico, lost a brother, and encountered major health issues. Rather than a criminal, Rosita is heralded by Llosa as a “civil heroine ahead of her time.”

Rosita’s plight as chronicled by Llosa is sad and distressing on a human and emotional level, but Llosa ignores several things: 1) That all of her problems stemmed from a willful and premeditated violation of the sovereignty of another nation; 2) That the consequences to her were the result of lawlessness; 3) She was raped, swindeled and her brother was killed while traveling through Latin America, but she received medical treatment (likely free of charge) in the United States.

Granted I’m irrational, but such facts lead me to conclude that it might be prudent, heck almost Burkean, to actually enforce immigration laws and restrict entry of those from backward and violent cultures.

As a libertarian, Llosa is largely unconcerned with arguments about law, culture, sovereignty, nationhood and all such other irrationality. And as an apparent proponent of the myth of homo economicus he grounds his argument in the alleged economic necessity of immigration.

Llosa argues first that immigration does not cause the displacement of native-born workers. “In a country with an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, who can seriously maintain that immigrants take jobs away from the natives?” asks Llosa incredulously.

VDARE’s intrepid number-cruncher Ed Rubenstein has demonstrated on repeated occasions that Hispanics are increasingly displacing natives in the job market. Since the beginning of the Bush reign, Hispanic employment has risen 25.9 percent while non-Hispanic participation in the workforce grew by an anemic 3.2 percent.

Moreover, unemployment statistics are not indicative of the entire economic picture and ignores underemployment and decreasing wages caused by immigration.

Contrary to elite opinion, immigration does little to create or generate wealth. In fact, the primary economic consequence of immigration is the exacerbation of class cleavages via the dramatic redistribution of wealth from workers to employers and users of immigrant services.

Harvard labor economist George Borjas has exploded the myth that immigration adds substantial wealth to the American economy. In fact, Borjas says, “All the available estimates suggest that the annual net gain is astoundingly small, less than .1% of GDP.” In real terms, that translates into approximately $10 billion dollars added to the overall economy, just $30 per person.

Llosa is correct that the lure of employment is drawing immigrants from Mexico and that there is a demand for labor among business owners and trade associations. However, while the profits accruing to business are private, the economic costs of immigration are public, and completely ignored by Llosa and other pro-amnesty prevaricators.

First there is education. According to a report by FAIR, the expenditures for illegal immigrants from grades K-12 costs states "nearly $12 billion annually, and when the children born here to illegal aliens are added, the costs more than double to $28.6 billion." Ed Rubenstein has calculated that educating illegals costs $900 per American child.

The data pertaining to health insurance coverage is likewise shocking. While 13% of natives lack insurance coverage, 34.5% of all immigrants and 45.3% of non-citizen immigrants do not have health coverage.

According to a FAIR study, one out of every four uninsured Americans is an immigrant. Furthermore, 1/2 of immigrants have no insurance or have it provided at taxpayer expense. Unfortunately, the problem of uninsured immigrants is on the rise. Immigrants (legal and illegal) who arrived between 1994 and 1998 and their children accounted for 59 percent of the growth in the size of the uninsured population in the last ten years.

Because immigrants typically have limited job skills and are very poor, they also frequently become a burden on the American welfare state. According to analyst Steve Camarota, state governments spend an estimated $11 billion to $22 billion to provide welfare to immigrants. Camarota finds, not surprisingly, that welfare use remains high over time; immigrants in the country for more than 20 years still use the welfare system at significantly higher rates than natives.

What's worse is that according to Heritage Foundation scholar Robert Rector, all of these costs will skyrocket if the Senate's "Grand Compromise" is adopted as the law of the land.

I'm clearly not suggesting that an economic cost/benefit analysis should drive immigration policy. I think there are plenty of other reasons to oppose the transformation of our country. I am merely challenging the assumption of pro-amnesty lackeys and lickspittles that immigration produces nothing but positive economic consequences.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Foreign Policy and the Crusader Mentality

A disconcerting element of American public life is the crusading impulse inherent in contemporary humanism. In the realm of foreign policy, the crusader zeal has found its most enthusiastic adherents in the neo-conservative movement, and has a fervent apologist sitting in the Oval Office in the person of George W. Bush, Ideologue-in-Chief.

After 9/11, Mr. Bush stoked the fires of a justifiably angry body politic by creating the Manichean distinction between “us” and “them". Bush and his defenders posit a world where the U.S. and her "coalition partners" are the defenders of freedom and civilization, attempting to thwart the “terrorists” and “homicide bombers” populating the backwaters of the Islamic world.

Aping the words of Christ, Mr. Bush said there is no neutrality: “There is no neutral ground – no neutral ground – in the fight between civilization and terror, because there is no neutral ground between good and evil, freedom and slavery, and life and death. The terrorists are offended not merely by our policies; they’re offended by our existence as free nations. No concession will appease their hatred. No accommodation will satisfy their endless demands.” Hence diplomacy and discussion were consigned to the proverbial dustbin, castigated as appeasement to godless wickedness.

Mr. Bush went on to substitute the realism he espoused in the 2000 campaign with the pabulum and prattle of Democratist ideology. According to Mr. Bush and has neo-con puppeteers, non-democratic states are incubators of terror by virtue of their form of government.

“I believe democracy can take hold in parts of the world that have been condemned to tyranny,” said Mr. Bush. “And I believe when democracies take hold, it leads to peace. That's been the proven example around the world. Democracies equal peace.”

Mr. Bush next enlisted the American nation in a grand crusade to end tyranny in the world via the spread of democracy. In his second inaugural address, Mr. Bush sounded the revolutionary horn saying, "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

In an earlier speech, the president said, "With the power and resources given to us, the United States seeks to bring peace where there is conflict, hope where there is suffering, and liberty where there is tyranny."

It looks as though we could be busy!

But contra Mr. Bush, terror is not a new tactic, but a weapon of the weak wielded against foreign occupation, perceived or real, and it is a mistake to blindly assume that “free” elections will produce anything other than anti-Americanism and illiberal democracy.

So why the persistence of Democratist mythology? There is something almost idolatrous about it all. It is indeed an aspect of self-worship, and an offspring of the religion of Americanism. As Rushdoony has written: “One of the marks of the crusading temperament is the desire to reform everyone except one’s self. The crusader has a simple solution: to remake the world after his own image. Crusading thus fosters self-righteousness, and self-righteousness feeds on hypocrisy. Modern warfare is a form of crusading, and hence its particularly intense form of horror.”

Another rationale for continuing warfare is that it strengthens the State, and the elite that governs and manipulates the political and cultural apparatus. Moreover, in an age where the State is often seen as the incarnation of God walking among men, wars rapidly evolve into Holy Wars. Rushdoony writes:

Thus, despite all the pious bleatings about a love of peace, ours is an age of warfare, and of holy wars. These wars serve two purposes: first, a war always consolidates greater power over the citizenry in the hands of the state, so that a victorious state emerges not only victorious over its enemies but over its people as well. Thus, whatever losses the Germans, Japanese, North Koreans, and Vietcong or North Vietnamese may have suffered at American hands, this much is certain, that, since 1917, the major and consistent losers have been the American people. By their sinful propensity for the cult of the state, they have seen their freedom diminished and economic slavery emerge: the state has been the consistent winner.

Conservatives and Christians used to believe that ordered liberty was a product of Northern European culture and specifically Protestant Christianity.

Trinitarian Christianity resolves the tension between the one and the many, providing for a social structure balancing order and freedom. Humanism by definition lacks any basis for law and values, and ultimately collapses upon itself. For Christians, that base is God’s written law, revealed in Scripture. The content and the authority of the Law is ultimately grounded upon and rooted in God Himself. Therefore, neither the church nor state is above the Law. The beauty of Reformed Christianity was its return clearly and consistently to the origin and source of Truth.

But what of Islam? Can it produce the ordered liberty that is an off-spring of Christianity?

Mr. Bush thinks so, and rebukes those who beg to differ: “Some skeptics of democracy assert that the traditions of Islam are inhospitable to the representative government. This ‘cultural condescension,’ as Ronald Reagan termed it, has a long history…Time after time, observers have questioned whether this country, or that people, or this group, are ‘ready’ for democracy -- as if freedom were a prize you win for meeting our own Western standards of progress…It should be clear to all that Islam -- the faith of one-fifth of humanity -- is consistent with democratic rule.”

I make no pretense to being an Islamic scholar in the mould of George W. Bush, but let me say that I’m skeptical that Islam can produce a republican form of government because its fundamental presuppositions mitigate against it, and in favor of an externalized, statist polity.

In contradiction to the Apostle Paul’s declaration, “He is a Jew, which is one inwardly,” Mohammed said “he is a Muslim who is one outwardly.” The Muslim conceives of God as an all-powerful sovereign, and yet Mohammed circumscribes the authority of his “God” by defining religion as mere outward conformity, thus barring God from the heart and mind of man. Man is therefore left to think and act as he likes, so long as he adheres to a handful of Koranic prescriptions.

What is the result? Rushdoony writes:

Mohammed ensured the congenital stagnation of the Moslem world as far as true growth was concerned by eliminating from God’s total government the mind and heart of man. The restlessness of the orthodox Christian, and especially the Puritan, with the status quo, and his continual desire to improve himself and his world, and his delight in growth, is lacking in the Moslem, who sees all outward things as fate and is content to leave things inward alone.

One disturbing tendency which I have noted previously is the shilling that conservative evangelicals have done on behalf of Bushism, pre-emptive war, and Democratism. Maybe my evangelical friends should go back and read Francis Schaeffer, who surely would have had little use for the “freedom agenda” of the current administration. Schaeffer understood that liberty was a product of culture, specifically Christian culture, and could not grow in the soil of alien worldviews. He wrote, “When the men of our State Department, especially after World War II, went all over the world trying to implant our form-freedom balance in government downward on cultures whose philosophy would never have produced it, it has, in almost every cases, ended in some form of totalitarianism or authoritarianism.”