The Christian Axis of Evil
by Laurence M. Vance
by Laurence M. Vance
"North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens. Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom. Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. . . . States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world." ~ President George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, January 29, 2002.
"Beyond the axis of evil, there are other rogue states intent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction — particularly biological weapons. . . . In addition to Libya and Syria, there is a threat coming from another BWC signatory, and one that lies just 90 miles from the U.S. mainland — namely, Cuba." ~ U.S. Ambassador to the UN John R. Bolton, Remarks to the Heritage Foundation, May 6, 2002.
Bush and Bolton chose their words carefully. The term "axis of evil" was deliberately designed to invoke images of the Axis Powers in World War II, which, of course, included Nazi Germany. Saddam Hussein was then said to be another Hitler, and the U.S. invaded Iraq. Now it is the president of Iran who is being compared to Hitler, by the Bush administration and others.
And who will be among the first to support the president's next military adventure? Why, the same ones that will support his current endeavor until the bitter end: Christians who try to serve two masters — Christ and the state (as long as it is controlled by "conservatives" or the Republican Party).
It is a disgrace — no, it is a moral outrage — that many Christians continue to support Bush and his war. Christian "leaders" are leading their followers astray. The blind are leading the blind. It is Christian "leaders" who moonlight as apologists for Bush and his war that make up the true axis of evil. To match the six members of Bush and Bolton's axis of evil, here are six members of the Christian axis of evil.
The first member of the Christian axis of evil is the Baptist pastor Jerry "God is pro-war" Falwell. It was bad enough when Falwell made a ridiculous, feeble attempt to justify, with Scripture, Bush's invasion of Iraq in a horrendous 2004 WorldNetDaily article entitled "God is Pro-war." (I have critiqued this article here). On FOX News' Hannity & Colmes show on February 11, 2005, Rev. Falwell appeared opposite Rev. Wallis of Sojourners and tried to deny that many evangelical Christians were opposed to the Iraq war. Falwell's claim that the anti-war Christian movement could fit into a phone booth shows just how out of touch with reality he is. Falwell's Liberty University (supposedly a Baptist institution) then gave Hannity (a Roman Catholic) an honorary doctorate, and had him deliver the university's commencement address on May 14, 2005. Senator John McCain, said by Liberty to be "a practicing Christian," delivered the commencement address this year.
The second member of the Christian axis of evil is Pat "take out Chavez" Robertson. He is another Christian apologist for the Republican Party who has supported this war from the beginning. Robertson, who actually believes the war is being fought on Christian principles, considers criticism of the war to be treason. It should be noted that Robertson's "faith-based initiative," Operation Blessing, receives millions of dollars in federal grants every year.
The third member of the Christian axis of evil is the psychologist and author James "just war" Dobson of Focus on the Family. Back on March 31, 2003, soon after the invasion of Iraq, Dobson expressed his support for the war on his national daily radio broadcast. America entered Iraq "as a liberator — not as a conqueror." After equating Saddam Hussein with Stalin and Hitler, Dobson labeled Hussein another brutal tyrant who "must be stopped" because the United States has a "moral obligation" to stop evil and tyranny. Invoking the Neville Chamberlain argument, Dobson insisted that "appeasement of tyrants is never successful!" Just before this broadcast, in the March 27, 2003, issue of Boundless (a webzine published by Focus on the Family), a two-part column by Jay Budziszewski (Professor Theophilus) was interrupted in the "Office Hours" section to reprint one of his "classic" columns from the April 29, 1999, issue entitled "Can War Be Justified?" His answer was, of course, yes, even if the war is not for self-defense.
That was three years ago. Perhaps Dobson has changed his mind?
Since phone calls and e-mails to his organization yield no response to this important question, we will have to rely on Focus on the Family publications, including its website. In the March 2006 issue of Citizen magazine, there is a pro-war article entitled "Worth the Sacrifice." The author, Karl Zinsmeister, believes the war is justified because of how we are helping the children of Iraq. He believes that the United States has been "fighting a war of principle, for self-determination, to make a grim part of the world more humane and thereby less threatening, so that our children and Iraq's can grow up to enjoy God's dignity and freedom." In the same issue of Citizen, there is an interview conducted by associate editor Stephen Adam with Daniel Ayalon, the Israeli ambassador to the United States. The interview is headlined "Israel, Iran and the Global War on Terror." In reply to the question: "Do you agree with President Bush's approach to the global war on terror?" the Israeli ambassador said:
Absolutely. Absolutely. We have to realize it's a war — and it's a total war-and once you realize it, that you're in a war, you cannot fight with one hand tied behind your back. The terrorists do not do that. They would use any vulnerability and everything in their power to destroy us. So, we have to be prepared for that. We have to take the war into their camp. If you play defensive, you know, things like 9/11 can happen again. You have to go after them to frustrate their organization, to go after their leaders, after everybody who gives them shelter as well.
A broadcast CD is available for sale from the Focus Resource Center entitled "Supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom." It is described on the website with these words: "Dr. and Mrs. Dobson, along with co-host John Fuller, express their support for America's military, discuss the atrocities taking place under Iraq's evil regime, and emphasize the need for our nation to unite in prayer." There is no date given for when the broadcast was aired, but that is irrelevant since it is still for sale on the website. On April 19th and 20th of this year, Dobson interviewed on his radio program Admiral Timothy Keating, the current Commander of NORAD and NORTHCOM at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. Obviously, this was not to criticize the war.
The fourth member of the Christian axis of evil is the prophecy guru Hal "I'm on my fourth wife" Lindsey, who recently claimed in a column for WorldNetDaily, contrary to the Bush administration, that "it is now evident to all but the blindest partisans that the intelligence was correct and that Saddam not only had weapons of mass destruction, but that he worked directly with al-Qaida." Incredibly, after saying in his article that "Lenin is reputed to have referred to blind defenders and apologists for the Soviet Union in the Western democracies as ‘useful idiots,'" Lindsey, one of the blindest apologists for this war that Bush could ever hope for, labels opponents of Bush's war as the "useful idiots."
The fifth member of the Christian axis of evil is Cal "I have a long list of favorite patriotic movies" Thomas. Back before the Iraq war formally started in March of 2003, Thomas, invoking Scripture, wrote in a column dated February 19, 2003, that "if ever there was a ‘time for war' (Ecclesiastes 3:8), surely this is it." This was just after he wrote in a column dated February 6, 2003, about Colin Powell speaking to the U.N. Security Council and making "so strong a case that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is in material breach of U.N. resolutions that only the duped, the dumb and the desperate could ignore it." This is the speech that Lawrence Wilkerson, a former colonel in the U.S. Army, a decorated Vietnam vet, and a life-long Republican who served as chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, has recently stated was "a hoax on the American people, the international community, and the United Nations Security Council." This is the speech that Powell himself said, in a February 2005 interview with Barbara Walters on the ABC News 20/20 program, was a "blot" on his record. Did Thomas learn from his mistake? His most recent statement about the war is his most radical one yet: "This war should be stepped up and fought like World War II." And this man is "the most widely published op-ed writer in the world"?
The sixth member of the Christian axis of evil is Pat "I wanna get in the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame" Boone. Although he has been in the news of late for rebuking the Dixie Chicks because they refuse to respect a president who lied the country into war, Boone was a full-fledged Christian warmonger and Bush apologist long before then. But that hasn't stopped him from being an embarrassment to the president:
Boone: "More 9-11s are gonna happen unless we try to take the battle to them on their turf instead of letting 'em bring it to us on ours."
Bush: "We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th."
Boone: "Pre-war intelligence about Saddam's WMDs was correct all along."
Bush: "It is true that most of the intelligence turned out to be wrong."
Boone is part of a desperate group of diehard Republican armchair warriors who maintain that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were smuggled across the border into Syria. But being the champion warmonger that he is, Boone further maintains that "they may still be there, waiting to be used against us." First it was said to be an unnamed number of trucks that transferred the weapons to Syria in February and March of 2003. Now it is said to be converted 747 passenger jets that transported the weapons into Syria in 2002. The latter claim (examined here) is based on the word of former Iraqi general Georges Sada (examined here), who claims that the two pilots (unnamed) of the two airliners that moved the weapons on fifty-six flights told him about it (he was not an eyewitness). Syria? According to Stephen Zunes (Middle East editor for Foreign Policy In Focus, and author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2002):
Syria, despite being ruled by the Baath Party, has historically been a major rival of Iraq's Baath regime. Syria was the only Arab country to back Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. It was one of the only non-monarchical Arab states to have backed the United States against Iraq during the first Gulf War. Iraq and Syria backed rival factions in Lebanon's civil war. As a member of the United Nations Security Council, Syria voted this past November in favor of the U.S.-backed resolution 1441 that demanded full cooperation by the Baghdad government with United Nations inspectors, with the threat of severe consequences if it failed to do so.
But as I have previously showed in my article, "Weapons of Mass Distraction," it doesn't matter whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. There is still absolutely no reason why the United States would be justified in attacking and invading a sovereign country — no matter what we thought of that country's ruler, system of government, economic policies, religious intolerance, or human rights record.
Poor Pat Boone doesn't know if he wants to be a consecrated Christian or a rock star; he hasn't decided whether he should be a singer or a political commentator.
I suppose that since the publisher of WorldNetDaily, Joseph "I believe I am the only serious daily news columnist on the Internet" Farah, published the articles I referenced by Falwell, Lindsey, and Boone, and, judging by the things he himself has written, believes what those gentlemen have written, that he will have to be added to the Christian axis of evil as well. But that would make seven members, and since I have limited the group in this article to six, I won't include him — this time.
Anyone who is familiar with my writings knows that I do not write these criticisms as an outsider. I am willing to match my Christian, Protestant, conservative, evangelical, fundamentalist, Baptist credentials up against anyone. And yes, I know all about the doctrines of Islam and the dangers of "Islamofascism." But I also know all about the insidious nature of a U.S. foreign policy that sows discord, stirs up strife, intensifies hatred, and creates terrorists.
There is no telling how many thousands of Christian Americans that Bush administration lapdogs Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, Lindsey, Thomas, and Boone have influenced. I am sure there are many other Christian leaders and wannabe leaders who, because they likewise serve as cheerleaders for the president, the war, and the military, are candidates for membership in the Christian axis of evil. Identify them, mark them, avoid them — and speak out against them if you can. It is only when Christians learn to look behind the façade of religious piousness that cloaks these Christian warmongers that the influence of the Christian axis of evil will be destroyed.
July 24, 2006
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] is a freelance writer and an adjunct instructor in accounting and economics at Pensacola Junior College in Pensacola, FL. He is also the director of the Francis Wayland Institute. His new book is Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State. Visit his website.
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