Sunday, December 05, 2004

Bill Moyers | Grist Magazine

Bill Moyers just gave an important and deeply troubling speech at Harvard upon receiving an award, which is excerpted below. Read the whole thing, and weep.

(T)he delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the oval office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.

Remember James Watt, President Reagan's first Secretary of the Interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, 'after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.'

Beltway elites snickered. The press corps didn't know what he was talking about. But James Watt was serious. So were his compatriots out across the country. They are the people who believe the bible is literally true - one-third of the American electorate, if a recent Gallup poll is accurate. In this past election several million good and decent citizens went to the polls believing in the rapture index. That's right - the rapture index. Google it and you will find that the best-selling books in America today are the twelve volumes of the left-behind series written by the Christian fundamentalist and religious right warrior, Timothy LaHaye. These true believers subscribe to a fantastical theology concocted in the 19th century by a couple of immigrant preachers who took disparate passages from the Bible and wove them into a narrative that has captivated the imagination of millions of Americans.

Its outline is rather simple, if bizarre (the British writer George Monbiot recently did a brilliant dissection of it and I am indebted to him for adding to my own understanding): once Israel has occupied the rest of its 'biblical lands,' legions of the anti-Christ will attack it, triggering a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. As the Jews who have not been converted are burned, the messiah will return for the rapture. True believers will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to heaven, where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts, and frogs during the several years of tribulation that follow.

I'm not making this up. Like Monbiot, I've read the literature. I've reported on these people, following some of them from Texas to the West Bank. They are sincere, serious, and polite as they tell you they feel called to help bring the rapture on as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That's why they have declared solidarity with Israel and the Jewish settlements and backed up their support with money and volunteers. It's why the invasion of Iraq for them was a warm-up act, predicted in the Book of Revelations where four angels 'which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of man.' A war with Islam in the Middle East is not something to be feared but welcomed - an essential conflagration on the road to redemption. The last time I Googled it, the rapture index stood at 144-just one point below the critical threshold when the whole thing will blow, the son of god will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moyers used the alleged words of one person, from over 20 years ago, to slander, first, conservative Christians, then the president and his administration, and then ever widening to denounce most Americans who are Christians. Isn't this by definition, hate speech?

When I was growing up as a Christian, we didn't talk about environmentalism, we just practiced it. We maintained and repaired things instead of trashing and throwing things out. We walked a lot, didn't drive far, and never flew. It was just a basic assumption that littering, polluting or desecrating was an affront, not only to the earth, but to other people.

I became interested in end-times biblical prophesy in the 70's, and have read many books on the subject. Almost all of them include an admonition to continue to act responsibly in all things, not knowing when the final days will be. I've never encountered a single person like this article portrays.

We now know that the article, and the quotation are entirely false; confirm by searching "moyers watt".

Bill Moyers is the darling of the New Age and Paganism. These groups also have hopes and plans for the coming of (their) Christ. They are more influential than you may think, so you may be interested in looking into that a bit: Search "blavatski" and "ascended masters".

In my opinion, the most serious pollution problem we have is disrespect for truth. There has been lying for thousands of years, but most people tried to limit their lies, and were ashamed of them.
Postmodernists distain truth and are proud of it. Unfortunately, many of these folks are concentrated in education, journalism, entertainment media, and history. Oh yes, and in environmentalism. It can bury us a lot faster than global warming!

11:26 AM  

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