by Gary North
Contrary to 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 Catholics.
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 the votes.
Politics makes strange bedfellows, the slogan says. This is surely true of the Iraq war: pro, con, and neocon.
What percentage of neoconservatives has ever picketed an abortion clinic? Approximately the same percentage of fundamentalists who have marched in an anti-Iraq War demonstration.
Neocons are 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 issue.
We can see it played out in the career of one Congressman.
RON PAUL'S COVENANTAL POLITICS
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.
He believes 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.
He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears (Proverbs 26:17)
During the 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:
Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods (Exodus 23:32).
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.
The neoconservatives 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.
Beginning on September 11, 2001, pre-war, pro-war pundits asked: "Why do they hate us?" They no longer need to ask.
My recommendation 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.
September 24, 2007
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