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Overheard this morning at the doctor’s office: two perfect strangers simultaneously concluding that the tsunami is another “sign.” They flashed knowing looks at each other. I can only assume that this has something to do with the Apocalypse, an extension of Dispensationalist theology, a crazy 19th century creation accepted by nearly every red-state evangelical in this country (and only in this country). Dispensationalism teaches against peace, and says that the AntiChrist will be a world leader who calls for peace (and presumably, then, godly leaders go to war). All dredful things are regarded as works of God. This stuff is deeply ingrained in American culture. It is a view held by vast amounts of the voting population and probably the president and much of his staff. It is another example of mass lunacy stemming from bad theology, and yet hardly anyone really wants to talk about it. And I suppose the eschatological position of the masses wouldn’t matter in the slightest if the US weren’t the world’s only superpower or if people who believed this stuff had no influence over policy. Sadly, this is not the case. I have no idea just how influential these beliefs are over the direction of American political culture–and I suppose no one really does–but somehow I suspect it is greater than we think.

3:59 pm on December 28, 2004