If you read nothing else today, read this recent cover article from Der Speigel, looking into the religious underpinnings of America’s fixation on Iraq. In case you don’t read it, I’ll put bits of it here. It begins with this:
By attacking Baghdad, US president George W. Bush wants to fulfill a divine order. In the highly religious United States, there has rarely been such a deep connection between national power interests and fundamentalist false piety. Christian fanatics are calling for a crusade against Islam.
The press in other countries is giving more coverage to the Christian vs Islam aspects of Bush’s war plans. The story also goes into Bush’s personal history.
The next day, he was severely hung-over and vowed to stay dry from then on. His wife Laura said that he went back and forth with this resolution for one year, but kept falling off the wagon. One day, at the end of a week-long drinking binge, he woke up and looked at his vomit-covered face in the mirror. He fell to his knees and prayed for God’s help. America loves such stories of the return of a lost son.
A little further into the article:
The decision to give up alcohol was probably his first somewhat momentous and independent decision. Apparently, however, he was unable to give himself sufficient credit for having accomplished this about-face on his own, instead feeling that he had a higher power to thank. Since then, he has become one of about 60 million Americans who view themselves as “born-again Christians” and constantly profess gratitude to their God for having reformed them. Incidentally, Bush has said that he considers Jesus to be one of the most important political philosophers of all time, “because he helped me give up drinking.”
Heads of state only noticed this change after September 11th, when they arrived to pay their condolences and make inquiries. To them, Bush no longer seemed like an uninformed, disinterested lightweight. Although he is still not well-informed and worldly, and he continues to become grotesquely muddled in language, and he has trouble relying on his memory, his basic stance has since become clear and unwavering: Anyone who is not with us is against us.
And a little further:
Bush has confirmed his first rebirth with the fact that, in spite of a lack of talent, he has been called to do greater things. The second rebirth has launched this belief in predestination into the historic realm. Weak presidents can be dangerous, because they give free rein to their subordinates. However, religious presidents can make the world a worse place by spectacularly failing in their efforts to improve it.
It goes into America’s religious nature, leading to a discussion of how this affects Europe:
Since the attacks on September 11th, the apocalypse of John, Book of Revelations, is experiencing a booming comeback in the fundamentalist churches of America. In light of the military campaign against Saddam, the simple-minded exegetes of the last book of the New Testament do not shy away from even the most uninspired attempts to connect this puzzling piece of scripture to present-day events. To them, the United Nations represents the preferred forum of the Antichrist, because Revelations 17,13 teaches that the kings of the earth “will transfer their power and strength to the animal.” The pope, also an opponent of war, is chastised as a “whore of Babylon” because, according to Revelations 17,9, its throne is on “seven mountains,” just as Rome lies on seven hills. The fact that the EU exists as a result of the Treaties of Rome makes all of Europe an instrument of the devil.
There’s a LOT more there. So go read. If this article is typical of how Europe is talking about us, our standing and credibility in the world has certainly changed.
Thanks to Robert Hildebrand of Exposing the Right for pointing this article out to me.