Sheila Samples: Laughter Of The Gods
Laughter of the Gods
By Sheila Samples
The more I look at the chaotic mess George W. Bush is making in every blessed corner of the world, the more I am inclined to take a closer look at the God in whose name he claims to be making it. Just who IS this God that chats up brazen hypocrites and zealots in our midst -- whipping them into a frenzy of pharisaic attempts to strangle democracy at home and abroad? This awesome creature is on a murderous rampage in the Middle East, Africa, South America and -- as Donald Rumsfeld would say -- east, west, north and south somewhat. Armed and jackbooted, Bush's flinty-hearted Diety bears no resemblance to the compassionate and forgiving God in whom Christians have put their faith for more than two millenia.
More and more innocents are being herded onto the world's killing fields by the deliberate actions of a Christian nation -- in the name of its Christian God. What blasphemy! If Christians are unable to recognize the difference between good and evil; if they cannot see that those we crush under our heel are also God's creation -- then all those hours spent in Sunday School, church services, summer camp and "all day singing and dinner on the grounds" picnics were a sorry waste of time. The nature of a man is revealed by the company he keeps. Those who preach that maiming and killing terrified men, women and children is "God's will" -- who cover up the slaughter of their own citizens and who topple other regimes by force or farce -- are evil men who cavort with evil gods. And every single Christian in this country knows it.
The Beast may not yet be loosed upon the world, but his minions are having one hell of a good time, and laughing their asses off in the process. By joining forces in a destructive "means justifies the ends" crusade to both control and convert the world, the Neoconservatives and Religious Right have created a playground for wicked gods. Each needs the other to achieve its goals. And the glue that holds them together is a man whose own words indict him as the proverbial village idiot who has no clue about either means or ends, but who serves at this point in history as both the enabled and the enabler.
I have written so much about this ungodly bunch I sometimes feel like a rabid Sam Kinison, standing in the breach, screaming into the wind. Except for God's coat-tails they intend to ride in on, the Almighty does not enter into their equation for world domination.
Their names are familiar -- Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, Michael Ledeen...They tower contemptuously above God, their plan for a new world order far grander than His, and their fingerprints are all over the tens of thousands of innocents who have been killed, injured or horribly maimed.
They are everywhere -- from the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and other right-wing think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) -- to the Pentagon, State Department and White House. And, in their own words, they have only just begun.
Ledeen is possibly the most dangerous and influential neocon of all the Iran-Contra madmen who are back in power. In his book, Machiavelli on Modern Leadership, Ledeen says, "Creative destruction is our middle name. We do it automatically...It is time once again to export the democratic revolution."
"God," Ledeen explains, "understands that all men are evil, and the only way to achieve peace is through total war." Ledeen believes "the sparing of civilian lives cannot be the total war's first priority...The purpose of total war is to permanently force your will onto another people."
In the unlikely event that Americans emerge from their stupor before Ledeen and his New World Order is upon them, I hope they realize that following the hostile and unfamiliar God for whom Ledeen speaks would be kind of like walking a mad dog on a leash...
The God People
The Religious Right is also obsessed with power and control, and the majority of its members are living proof that, like the ancient Euripides wrote -- "Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad." God walks with them; talks to them and issues militant edicts to us through them. Most are Republicans -- proud "born again" Christians who speak deleriously of "God's will and the blood of Jesus Christ" -- but their true religion is cold, hard politics.
They walk the halls of Congress, and are by far the most powerful voting bloc in America. When they speak, presidents listen -- constitutional amendments are proposed, freedoms are lost, liberties dry up...
According to a project by TheocracyWatch.org, " The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party," they propose bills that are "anti-women, anti-labor and anti-civil rights. Their legislation opposes finance campaign reform; environmental protection; gun control; social justice for the poor; public education; teaching evolution; human sexuality; and a separation of church and state." The report says their bills "show a disregard for the U.S. Constitution, and finally, Democracy itself. Bills coming from the Religious Right favor the wealthy and large corporations. The ultimate political goal is to make this country a Christian nation." (Emphasis added)
We smile and shake our heads at the outlandish claims of TV evangelists Pat Robertson, to whom God confided recently that "Bush would win the 2004 election in a blowout," or Jerry Falwell, who believes the "idea that religion and politics don't mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country." We even giggled when Attorney General John Ashcroft assured graduates at Bob Jones University that "America has no king but Jesus."
Trust me -- these people are not funny.
For example, Tom Delay, Texas Republican and House Majority Leader, once told a group of evangelical Christians that God was "using him" to promote a biblical worldview. "Only Christianity offers a comprehensive worldview that covers all areas of life and thought -- every aspect of creation," DeLay said. "Only Christianity offers a way to live in response to the realities that we find in this world. Only Christianity." (Emphasis added) Like his counterparts, DeLay believes that fundamentalists should "overturn the separation of church and state and bring government under religious control."
And listen to Gary Potter, president of Catholics for Christian Political Action -- "When the Christian majority takes over this country, there will be no satanic churches, no more free distribution of pornography, no more talk of rights for homosexuals. After the Christian majority takes control, pluralism will be seen as immoral and evil and the state will not permit anybody the right to practice evil." (Emphasis added)
But few are more frightening than Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe who strode to the Senate chamber shortly after 9-11 to announce that the attacks were punishment by God because we were not sufficiently in awe of Israel. Inhofe said God told him Israel is "entitled" to the West Bank, and the U.S. should not pressure Ariel Sharon to stop killing Palestinians.
According to Inhofe, God angrily slung three airliners full of unsuspecting souls into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, incinerating more than 3,000 innocent citizens, and furiously rammed another plane into the Pennsylvania countryside -- because America was not sufficiently subservient to Israel. Inhofe believes America got what it deserved, and we should heed God's "wake up call" lest He strike us again...
Brother James Inhofe -- just one reason we sleep with the lights on in Oklahoma...
The Chosen One
From Jesus is my philosopher to God is my co-pilot, George Bush has been nothing if not ghoulishly entertaining. Far more talented writers than I have gone completely berserk while attempting to explain what makes Bush tick. It's simple, really. The answer is Nothing. Nothing makes him tick. That's why he's the perfect foil for the warhawks and religious zealots.
Bush is a swaggering, paranoid, hubristic bully, consumed by an irrational sense of his own worth. Just your normal, run-of-the-mill Texas good ol' boy Republican -- with money. After carousing, falling down drunk, and failing at every business enterprise his daddy set up for him -- at the tender age of 40, Bush was "born again" and became the Lord's own most visible high-stepping 12-stepper. Fourteen years later, he was President of the United States. In his defense, I have to say Bush is acting no differently than any other 14-year-old spoiled bully would be expected to act under the same circumstances...
And he's a Believer. Bush believes what they tell him he believes, such as he was chosen by God to lead the Christians in a righteous war against Islam. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia even blames God for his own deadly vote that thwarted democracy in 2000 and seized power from the people. Believing that Bush is serving by divine appointment, Scalia wrote in a May 2002 article, God's Justice and Ours that the government has a higher authority granted to it by God. He said unequivocally, "Government carries the sword as the minister of God, to execute wrath upon the evildoer..."
Much of Scalia's, and therefore Bush's, belief is based on, and his core speeches drawn from, the 13th Chapter of Romans, which admonishes citizens to "obey the government, for God is the one who has put it there." Punishment is swift and sure for those who refuse to "obey" the laws of the land, for the scripture says, "the policeman is sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for he will have you punished. He is sent by God for that very purpose..."
Bush shrugs aside wimps like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John who can't seem to get beyond love, kindness, helping the vulnerable, caring for the needy and the sheer compassion expounded by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount, and seem to prattle on endlessly about salvation. Bush is also wont to deep-six most "Thou Shalt Nots," because, in Romans 13, it clearly says all ten commandments "are wrapped up in this one -- to love your neighbor as you love yourself..." It is the only law Christians need to obey -- other than, of course, those of the government and its Ashcroftian Mr. Policeman whom God has sent to punish them...
Americans who look at Bush and see either compassion or morality are severely suffering from optical delusion. This is a man who sets himself up as a purveyor of truth and knowledge, but who sees "thugs and killers, brutal dictators and barbarians" behind every tree, and is committed to not let "terriers and rogue nations hold this nation hostile." This is a man who declared war upon Islam --calling it a "crusade" -- from the pulpit of the National Cathedral rather than the Oval Office. This is a man who enjoys what he is doing in God's name, and who promises that he will not stop killing until the entire world is "safe."
The world cringes as George Bush, militant neocons and the completely mad religious right steer the Bush Ship of State toward the jagged shoals. God has left the building.
Is it any wonder the lesser gods are shrieking with laughter...?
Even so it is not the will
of your Father which is in heaven,
that one of these little ones should perish.
And he took them up
in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer, a former US Army Public Information Officer and Axis of Logic contributing editor. Reprint permission is granted if it includes name of author and Axis of Logic designation.