the media, most American fundamentalists are not opposed to the
legalization of abortion. Few of them have ever picketed an abortion
clinic. The only way to persuade a majority of fundamentalists to
picket an abortion clinic would be to spread a rumor that after
each abortion, the abortionist gives a glass of beer to the woman
to calm her nerves.
Still, a small
minority of fundamentalists provide the picketers and activists
for the anti-abortion movement, along with a small minority of activist
On the question
of the Iraq war, the core voter bloc of the Republican Party is
both evangelical and pro-war. The Republicans refuse to break away
from this group. Until these voters switch to anti-war, the Republican
Party will remain paralyzed. The fact is, this voter base is committed
to imposing lethal force on Iraq until the counter-insurgency ceases
to fight. Yet they know this will never happen. Their view of Islam
tells them it will never happen. So, they are committed for the
long haul, which means until the Rapture into heaven removes them
from this world. They are die-hards.
The other die-hards
are the neoconservatives. They also are committed to staying the
course in Iraq forever. The two groups reinforce each other. The
neocons provide the position papers. The fundamentalists provide
strange bedfellows, the slogan says. This is surely true of the
Iraq war: pro, con, and neocon.
of neoconservatives has ever picketed an abortion clinic? Approximately
the same percentage of fundamentalists who have marched in an anti-Iraq
not interested in saving babies. Fundamentalists are not interested
in stopping Middle East wars in progress.
Then what binds
them together today? A bumper sticker slogan: Save Israel.
There are two
issues here, the moral and the judicial. In this case, they are
the same issue. The issue of the Iraq war is the issue of foreign
policy in general. One question, above all, divides Americans. “What
is the basis, moral and judicial, for one nation’s launching a pre-emptive
first strike against another nation?” While the word covenant
is rarely used with respect to this question, it is the fundamental
We can see
it played out in the career of one Congressman.
Ron Paul is
a gynecologist who opposes abortion. He is also a Congressman who
opposes the Iraq war.
He is opposed
by all neocons and most fundamentalists. Why? Because he opposes
committing American money or American troops to saving Israel.
that countries should defend themselves. Countries are not like
unborn infants. They can speak and act on their own behalf. They
can establish defenses. He thinks there is no legitimate reason
for people in one country to go to war to defend people in another
country unless, as in the case of Belgium in 1914, another country
is being invaded because it provides a convenient pathway for troops
marching toward the first country.
He is opposed
to treaties that commit the United States to military action on
behalf of other countries. He is opposed to the United Nations Organization.
Ron Paul understands
and honors a fundamental biblical principle that fundamentalists
say they believe but really don’t: without a legally binding joint
covenant based on a common confession, an individual has no lawful
authority to use violence against another person. Conclusion: if
I have not agreed in principle to live under a common political
covenant with you, then your battles are not mine, and my battles
are not yours. The Bible is clear on this point.
that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him,
is like one that taketh a dog by the ears (Proverbs 26:17)
Vietnam war, there was an anti-war poster with this verse on it,
which featured a photo of President
Johnson lifting up his beagle by its ears.
The same principle
applies to nations. Ask a fundamentalist if he believes in the United
Nations Organization, and he will probably say no. Why? Because
he instinctively recognizes that the UN is based on a common covenant
among nations even though they hold different views of God, man,
law, sanctions, and time. There is no confessional basis for such
a governmental organization. Prior to 1991, the fundamentalist had
in mind the Soviet Union and its satellite nations. Today, he has
in mind Islamic nations. His instincts are correct. They rest on
this biblical judicial principle:
shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods (Exodus
But then comes
the question of the State of Israel. At this point, say most fundamentalists,
all such biblical restraints on national covenants supposedly disappear.
The fundamentalist assures us that the United States has a moral,
legal, and therefore covenantal obligation to use American tax money
to pay the government of the State of Israel. The United States
also has a similar obligation to support the State of Israel in
all of its disputes with its regional opponents.
In short, what
the Bible says about meddling and what it says about illegitimate
covenants is ignored. Why? Because of Old Testament prophecies that
supposedly place the interests of the modern State of Israel above
prohibitions and warnings in the Old Testament against meddling,
meaning violence, both personal and national.
do not embrace fundamentalism’s view of the Bible or its official,
though conveniently ignored, doctrine of national covenants. They
surely do not embrace the fundamentalists’ view of Bible prophecy,
which teaches that the Jews of Israel will be surrounded by the
military forces of the antichrist, and two-thirds of them will be
slaughtered. This will happen a few years after all Christians
have been raptured into heaven. But the neoconservatives do embrace
the fundamentalists’ view of siding with the State of
Israel on most matters, with the possible exception of Israeli
nationals spying on the United States in the United States.
So, we see
this extraordinary alliance between secular neoconservatives and
fundamentalists. It has led the United States into two wars with
Iraq. It may lead this nation into a war with Iran. The swing voters
within the voter base of the Republican Party promote a foreign
policy of killing Muslims, including hundreds of thousands of civilians,
whenever these Muslims are perceived as a potential military threat
against the State of Israel.
September 11, 2001, pre-war, pro-war pundits asked: “Why do they
hate us?” They no longer need to ask.
to neoconservatives: picket abortion clinics. My recommendation
to fundamentalists: march in anti-war protests. My recommendation
to the State of Israel: don’t count on U.S. government dollars or
the U.S. military to reduce your costs of government indefinitely.
There comes a time to sell short. Now is such a time.