what of the night?”
"The hour has come, the
hour is striking and striking at you,
The Forming of the Image
To the Beast
Is It Now Accomplished?
The author of this special issue wishes to remain anonymous under the pen name, Pro Libertas. A Seventh-day Adventist since 1953, he has a legal background as a graduate of London University and Lincoln's Inn of Court, London, England, with degrees of LL.B and Barrister-at-Law. He practiced law in a British jurisdiction for twenty years before coming to the United States in 1975. Now an American citizen, he received training in the laws of the United States before working as an assistant to attorneys in the Corporate and Civil Litigation law departments of a major California corporation between 1991 and 1996. Deeply concerned with what he sees taking place since the American election and having followed closely the development of the Religious Right, the author has deep convictions as to the fulfillment of the prophecy of Revelation 13 before our very eyes today. However, he leaves with each reader the final judgment as to what he sees, really means. Is the forming of the Image to the Beast now being accomplished? There is no question but that the events of the past few months leaves one stunned. The selection by the Supreme Court of the President of the United States in a five to four decision, with three of the five judges confessed Romanists, plus the rapid fire changes initiated by the President without a clear mandate to govern, clearly indicates the meaning of what we have been told - "the final movements will be rapid ones."Consideration needs to be given to the fact that the common bond between the Religious Right and the Hierarchy of the Roman Church is the issue of abortion, and the basis of this factor is grounded in the doctrine of the immortality of the soul.
Is It Now Accomplished
To the knowledgeable Seventh-day Adventist, there should be no question about the connection between the Roman Catholic Church and the Image to the Beast It is a fact established beyond all reasonable doubt that the first beast of Revelation 13 is the papacy. All the characteristics and identifying marks apply to none other than the Church of Rome. It can also be established that the second beast "coming up out of the earth" is Protestant America. Our Lord revealed that in time the second beast would exercise all the power of the first beast before him. Sadly the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has for many years departed from the former clear separation of the church from Rome and apostate Protestantism, so that today the message of Revelation 13 is at best muted and at worst repudiated.In the American colonies the Roman Church had little influence. Of the original thirteen only Maryland included an appreciable number of Catholics. Roman Catholics were often unwelcome in the other colonies, and in some colonies, they were excluded. Some estimates indicate there were 25,000 in the colonial population of 4,500,000 in 1776. In 1789 John Carroll was appointed Bishop of Baltimore, with a diocese encompassing the entire new nation. While the laity were social outcasts, and viewed with suspicion and hostility on the part of their Protestant neighbdrs' well into the 20th century, the hierarchy enjoyed its place in the free society of the United States from the beginning. This and the growth of the Catholic population are of profound significance. In 1850 Catholics made up only 5% of the total population; by 1906, they made up 17% (14 mIllion out of 82 million) and constituted the largest single religious denomination in the country. They have never looked back.
At the 1895 General Conference session, A T. Jones as a part of his series on the "Third Angel's Message" presented a study on "The Papacy." He noted the intense interest with which Leo XIII viewed the American experiment in democracy and the place of the Roman Church in the United States, where he believed the stronghold of Romanism of the future lay. Of particular interest to Leo was the fact that this democracy was "without restraining bonds." Jones brought this central issue into focus by stating:
The papacy is very impatient of any restraining bonds; in fact, it wants none at all. And the one grand discovery Leo XIII has made, which no pope before him ever made, is that turn which is taken now all the time by Leo, and from him by those who are managing the affairs in this country, - the turn that is taken upon the clause of the Constitution of the United States, - "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Leo has made the discovery that the papacy can be pushed upon this country in every possible way, and by every possible means, and that Congress is prohibited from ever legislating in any way to stop it. That is a discovery that he made that none before him made, and that is how it is that he of late can so fully endorse the United States Constitution. (GC Bulletin, pp.29, 30)
In an Encyclical published in the Catholic Standard, February 2, 1895, Leo XIII made it very clear that although the Church of Rome was enjoying "a prosperous growth" in America, this was not to be taken as evidence that it was better to have Church and State separate. Thus was Leo both the admirer and the foe of democracy and the U.S. Constitution. The diabolical insights and the machinations of Leo XIII are a critical component of the relentless assaults against the twin First Amendment Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the United States Constitution.
The Nation with two Lamblike Horns
Christian Edwardson in his book, Facts of Faith, provides an analysis of the second beast of Revelation 13. In the last two of six specifications drawn from the prophecy, he states:
(5) It would be a great nation, for it was equal in power to the Papacy (v.12).
(6) And yet its principles were to be lamblike, mild (v. 11), or as the Danish and German have it: "Like a lamb" - Christlike. And Christ advocated two great principles: First, separation of church and state. He said: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's" (Luke 20:25). That is keep the two separate. Second, religious liberty. He said: "If any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not" John 12:47. "Judge not, that ye be not judged" Matt. 7:1.
It is evident that only one nation answers to all these specifications: the United States of America. (p.235).
There is much talk today by right-wing jurists about the "original intent" of the framers of the Constitution. Their real agenda is to reinterpret the Constitution with the primary purpose of destroying the "wall of separation" between Church and State. Whatever can be discerned of the original intent of the founders of this nation, their object in framing the religion clauses can be deteimined from the plain language of their private statements and letters. The following are a few selections that give the lie to opponents of the total separation between Church and State:
The tribute of thanksgiving which you offer to the gracious Father of lights, for His inspiration of our public councils with
wisdom and firmness to complete the national Constitution, is worthy of men who, devoted to the pious purpose of religion, desire their accomplishment by such means as advance the temporal happiness of mankind. And here I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe, that the path of true piety is so plain as to require but little Political attention. To this consideration we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation respecting religion from the Magna Charta of our country. (George Washington in a letter to Presbyterian Church representatives in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, October 1789; emphasis supplied)
You have not extended your ideas of the right of private judgment and the liberty of conscience, both in religion and philosophy, farther than I do. Mine are limited only by morals and propriety. (John Adams in a letter to M. M. Noah regarding Jews in America July 31, 1818).
The civil Government, though bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability, and performs its functions with complete success, whilst the number, the industry, and morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people, have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the State. (James Madison, letter to Robert Welsh, March 2, 1819)
The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity. (James Madison, a letter to F. L. Schaeffer, December 3, 1821)
Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together. (James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822; emphasis supplied)
Ye States of America, which retain in your Constitutions or Codes, any aberration from the sacred principles of religious liberty, by giving to Caesar what belongs to God, or joining together what God has put asunder, hasten to revise & purify your system, and make the example of your Country as pure & compleat, in what relates to the freedom of the mind and its allegiance to its Maker, as in what belongs to the legitimate objects of political and civil institutions. (Excerpt from James Madison's Detached Memoranda)
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make "no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State. (Thomas Jefferson, Writings, Library of America, p. 510; Emphasis supplied).
In the case of Reynolds v. United States, decided in 1878, redecided in 1879, the Supreme Court quoted Jefferson's statement and said:
Coming as this does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured.
In 1947 the Supreme Court again adopted Thomas Jefferson's view in the case of Everson v. Board of Education and stated, "That wall must be kept high and impregnable." Opponents of the "wall of separation" claim that the Court went far beyond Jefferson's original intent; but this flies in the face of the facts of history. Similarly, the powerful forces that are now engaged in the work of undermining the constitutional guarantee of religious liberty argue that the United States was founded as a "Christian Nation." Perhaps all of them, or a majority of them, really believe their own propaganda. The fact is that they are wrong. In addition to all of the statements of the framers of the Constitution which indicate the contrary, there was a treaty between the United States and the Barbary, in which Article 11 expressly stated that the "government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." This treaty was made under the presidency of George Washington and signed into law by President John Adams. The Catholic hierarchy has never been under any illusion on this point. The Roman Catholic Church did "recognize" the United States as a "Christian nation" when in 1892 a Supreme Court Justice said that it was. However, from Pope Leo XIII's own statement in his encyclical to America, we know that he recognized "State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced."
In Facts of Faith, Christian Edwardson makes this comment on Rev. 13:11:
The prophet continues: "He spake as a dragon." ... A nation speaks through its laws. This prophetic statement, therefore, reveals that a great change in policy is to come over our beloved country. The "dragon" is a symbol of pagan Rome, that persecuted the early Christians during the first three centuries. ...
This prophecy also reveals what influence will be brought to bear upon our lawmakers and people to produce this sad change. We have already seen that "the first beast" of Revelation 13:1-10 represents the Papacy, and by reading the eleventh and twelfth verses we see that the effort of the lamblike beast will be to cause "the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast,
whose deadly wound was healed." That
is: The whole trend is Romeward,
therefore it must be Rome that is working in disguise to bring about such a
trend. (p.239 ; emphasis added.)
; emphasis added.)
The Papacy was formed by a union of church and state, which resulted in the persecution of dissenters. An "image," or "likeness" to the Papacy in America would be a union of church and state, or a co-operation between them, as in the days of papal Rome. And, seeing it is to be "an image to the beast," it cannot be the beast itself, but must be an effort started among Protestants, who desire the aid of the state to enforce some of their dogmas. (p.302)
The course of history in this Republic which has brought us to the apocalyptic conditions of the present is precisely in accord with the above statements. The principle of total separation of Church and State was under steady assault from the very beginning. The excerpt quoted above from a letter of George Washington to church representatives indicates the dissatisfaction of some church people then to the exclusion of an establishment of religion from the Constitution. The first serious effort to reverse this wise action of the framers occurred in 1864. An amendment to the Constitution proposed by the National Reform Association, known as the Christian Amendment, attempted to have inserted God, Christianity, and Jesus in the Preamble. Sixty-four other religious measures were introduced in Congress between 1888 and 1910. At all times it has been Protestants who have been pressing this agenda publicly. However, the blueprint laid out by Leo XIII has been followed assiduously by the Catholics. They, in the words of Christian Edwardson, were:
... focused on America, not in an antagonistic way, but quietly, in wisely planned, systematically organized, and well directed efforts along numerous lines, so as to gain favor among Protestants, and not to be suspected as propaganda. (p.241)
So successful were the Catholics in gaining favor among Protestants that the latter sought the former's aid in achieving their objectives, all unsuspecting of the ultimate goal of Catholicism in the United States. This is documented in the final chapter of Facts of Faith (pp. 304-306). It has now culminated in the modem political movements and organizations that have now imposed the distinct form of the Image to the Beast on this Republic that was founded on the grand principles of civil and religious liberty.
The Religious Right & Allies Take Over
The origins of the modern religious right can be traced back to the failed presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater. Following Goldwater's defeat a conservative movement known as the New Right was formed with a declaration of war against communism and a perceived "movement" which they called "secular humanism." They believed that this "movement" was trying to steer the U.S. away from a God centered society to "atheistic socialism." Key leaders of the New Right were three men from the Goldwater campaign: Richard Viguerie, Howard Phillips and Paul Weyrich. By the early '70s they had laid the foundations for a conservative revolution in the United States. Viguerie built a fund-raising empire with the use of a list of Goldwater donors. Phillips founded the Conservative Caucus which promoted militarism. Weyrich obtained financial backing from Colorado beer magnate Joseph Coors to found the Heritage Foundation. This is a right-wing think tank that has exercised great influence on Republican presidential administrations since Ronald Reagan's election in 1980. He also brought into being the Free Congress Foundation for the purpose of building a right-wing political movement and electing sympathetic politicians to Congress. Although possessed of superb organizational skills, the three men did not have a popular base of support. To remedy this lack, they targeted Democratic working class voters with social and cultural issues. (See, "Historical Background of the Religious Right" at http://www.aclu.org/about/right3.html).
The next phase of the campaign to rid the nation of "secular humanism" is noted in this ACLU report, under the caption - "Mobilizing a New Constituency":
In the mid-1970s Viguerie used his sophisticated direct mail fund-raising techniques to address another constituency: evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. Viguerie sought to tap resentment toward Supreme Court decisions banning prayer in the public schools and establishing a woman's right to an abortion. His direct mail efforts not only brought money into the New Right's coffers; they disseminated a steady flow of appeals that encouraged evangelicals to become involved in politics. Other new activist organizations also played an important role in mobilizing this constituency. In 1974 and 1975 a group of key leaders, including Richard DeVos, president of Amway Corporation, and Bill Bright, president of Campus Crusade for Christ convened a series of secret meetings to plan the development of the religious right. This group published a blueprint for Christians to win elections and a manual designed to persuade evangelical Christians to adopt conservative positions on a whole range of issues. Bill Bright subsequently sponsored the "I Found It," campaign, which used billboards, bumper stickers, and newspaper ads in a massive effort to expose every person in the United States to the gospel. Between 1976 and 1980 the campaign spent several hundred million dollars, much of it raised by Texas billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt.Organizations arose to mobilize women by appealing to "family values" and anxieties about the emerging feminist movement. In 1972, Phyllis Schlafly founded the Eagle Forum to organize opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment, which she saw as a threat to the traditional family. (Schlafly had authored a conspiratorial book titled A Choice Not An Echo, which had served as the slogan of Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign.) And in 1979, Beverly LaHaye founded what would become the most successful New Right women's organization, Concerned Women for America. Civil rights for gay people emerged as another flashpoint for the Right. ...
Although usually regarded as a fringe religious cult, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, or Moon Organization, played an important behind-the-scenes role in spurring the development of the New Right and religious right. Direct mail guru Richard Viguerie has raised money for various Moon Organization groups since 1965. The principle source of Moon's funding, however, is in Japan, where Moon has had close connections with the Japanese right wing and prominent members of the Liberal Democratic Party. Beginning in 1975, a conservatively estimated $80 million a year began flowing from the Japanese branch of the Unification Church to the United States. Much of this money went to various New Right organizations and to Moon's Washington Times, a daily newspaper that since 1982 has served as a sounding board for the New Right. Activists for the Moon Organization usually work with others on the right through an array of groups with patriotic-sounding names, such as the American Freedom Coalition and the anti communist CAUSA. Founded in 1987, the American Freedom Coalition brought together various elements of the right, including anti-Communist, anti-abortion, and "pro-family" groups.
The ACLU report describes the organization and work of Falwell's Moral Majority and its eclipse. Being –
Disappointed with their accomplishments through the Reagan Presidency, religious right leaders shifted their strategy and tactics to winning offices at the state and local level and gaining control of local Republican Party organizations. With the eclipse of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, Paul Weyrich and Pat Robertson worked as allies in both this shift in strategy and this power struggle.
Of enormous significance is the ideology driving the agenda of the religious right. It is an end-times ideology. The ACLU describes this ideology as 'To Rule and Reign:" The analysis reads:
If the religious right is, as many of its leaders say, fighting a war, then it is a war in which ideas are critical. Conservative evangelical leaders seek control of political institutions as a means to implement their theological ideas. And their theology can provide a powerful motivation for political activism. Awareness of these ideas is essential to understanding their political tactics and objectives. [IHowever], the religious right is by no means monolithic; it is divided on certain theological issues and organizational style. Yet despite these divisions, it has forged a working consensus on political ideology and strategy.
Further, the Evangelical concept of the "End Times" enters the picture. The report continues:
Belief in an evangelical religion does not automatically lead to involvement in public affairs. For much of this century, evangelicals have avoided direct involvement in politics and instead have focused on saving souls. Evangelicals' motivations for political activism depend, in part, on their beliefs about the "end times." Indeed, the most important divisions within the religious right revolve around beliefs on this issue. There are two main schools of thought.
In the larger school are the "premillenialists." They believe that Christians will be lifted into heaven en masse - in what is known as the rapture - before the battle of Armageddon, the final battle between good and evil. Afterwards, they will return to earth, where they will "rule and reign" with Christ. Since premillenialists believe that Christ's return will cause the world to be reformed, they have little incentive to become politically active and reform the world themselves. Instead, their primary obligation is to evangelize - to convert as many non-believers as possible before Christ's return. Overcoming this disinclination to political activism has been one of the greatest challenges confronting the leaders of the religious right. In the smaller theological camp are the "postmillenialists," who believe that Christ will not return until after Christians reign for a thousand years. Because they believe that they must literally prepare the way for Christ's return, their ranks include some of the most committed political activists on the religious right.
Involved in this picture are the "Christian Reconstructionists:"
The most militant postmillenialists are known as Christian Reconstructionists. Though a tiny minority on the religious right, their ideas have exerted an important influence. They stress a literal interpretation of the Bible and believe that society should be "reconstructed" to conform to Biblical laws. The most prominent Reconstructionist is Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony, a former Orthodox Presbyterian minister and John Birch Society activist who has published numerous books and tracts through his think-tank, Chalcedon, headquartered in Vallecito, California. He and his son-in- law Gary North (now estranged) are largely responsible for developing and propagating Christian Reconstructionism's political program. Rushdoony and North seek to rebuild society according to a biblical blueprint. Their prescriptions include the death penalty for unrepentant homosexuality, abortion, and adultery; the abolition of the prison system; which would be made possible by imposing the death penalty on serious criminals and forcing less serious criminals to make restitution; the elimination of sexually explicit materials; schools run entirely by the churches; and the complete elimination of property taxes. Rushdoony's extreme views are shared by only a tiny minority of the religious right, but these views have had a major impact through what is loosely known as "Kingdom" or "Dominion" theology. According to these theologies, Christians are mandated by the Bible to take control of all secular institutions and build the Kingdom of God on earth. Kingdom theology gives evangelical organizers not only a powerful incentive to become politically active, but also a long-range social vision which has become the central, unifying ideology for the religious right.
It is not possible within the limits of this article to mention all of the arms of the religious right movement. Suffice it to say that all of the maior religious right leaders have united in a single political entity called the Council for National Policy. These include the three original founders of the New Right movement, all of the well-known names of the religious right leadership plus some not so well known, all of the multimillionaire funders of the religious right organizations, and a number of leaders of the Republican Congress
among them Dick Armey, Tom DeLay, and Trent Lott. The Council "is an extremely secretive organization that meets behind closed doors to strategize and co-ordinate its campaign." (See: http://www.geocities.com/alanjpakula/triple2.html). Now President George W. Bush addressed this organization in a secret meeting in October, 1999, and his presidential campaign refused to allow the tape to be released. However, notes of persons in attendance reportedly indicate that his promises included restrictions on "special" civil rights, "Christian" prayer in schools which would be "Christian" or corporate only, that he would "work hard" to overturn Roe v. Wade, and appoint only anti-choice judges to the Supreme Court and the federal bench. He expressed his approval of revoking First Amendment guarantees of separation of Church and State and freedom of speech. In his view, Christianity is the only real religion.
There is another powerful right-wing organization, not directly connected with the religious right. It is the Federalist Society. Its origins are described by Jerry Landay in The Washington Monthly (March, 2000):
The Society's origins can be traced back to 1979 - the year before Ronald Reagan's victory - when a legal scholar named Michael Horowitz published a tract on the public-interest law movement, exhorting conservatives to overturn a half-century of liberal dominance of the legal establishment. This could be done, he wrote, by indoctrinating or winning over succeeding generations of law students, lawyers, and judges. By definition, the campaign had to be rooted in the fertile ground of law schools. To Horowitz's good fortune, Reagan was elected in 1980, and his administration set to work filling the sails of the Federalist movement.
Horowitz's concept was taken up with relish by senior members of the new Administration. They operated on two tracks - designed to insure that the Reagan Revolution would well outlast the Reagan Presidency. The first, to reclaim the Federal courts from liberals, swept an array of conservative scholars and judges from law schools and state courts onto the Federal bench: the likes of Robert Bork, Ralph Winter, Antonin Scalia, Richard Posner, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Anthony Kennedy.
The second track was even more forward looking and involved the apprenticing of a new generation of conservative lawyer-intellectual-under-30 to the Reagan apparat.
The Second track was laid with the establishment of the founding chapters of the Federalist Society at Yale under Robert Bork, and at the University of Chicago under Antonin Scalia. It has been fair sailing ever since.
When one looks for a connection between the Catholic Church and the religious right, it is not to be found primarily in institutional organization, but rather in a community of interests in specifically defined areas such as the anti-abortion movement, aid to parochial schools, and so on. However, in the establishment of the Federalist Society one can see the fingerprints of the Roman Catholics, whose modus operandi has ever been to capture the elite of society. Scalia is of course a Catholic. Bork is believed to be an agnostic, but clearly is subject to a powerful Catholic influence: his wife is a board member of the Catholic Campaign for America, which seeks to teach Catholics to bring Catholic values into public life:
With 25,000 members plus scores of close affiliates nation-wide - including Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, and University of Chicago brain-boxes Richard Epstein and Frank Easterbrook (also a federal appellate judge) - the Federalist Society is quite simply the best-organized, best-funded, and most effective legal network operating in this country. Its rank-and-file include conservative lawyers, law students, law professors, bureaucrats, activists, and judges. They meet at law schools and function rooms across the country to discuss and debate the finer points of legal theory and substance on panels that often include liberals - providing friction, stimulus, and the illusion of balance. What gets less attention, however, is that the Society is accomplishing in the courts what Republicans can't achieve politically. There is nothing like the Federalist Society on the left. (Ibid.: emphasis supplied.)
Starting with the New Right in the '70s, this is the pervasive, entrenched, sinister power that Satan has built up and put into place for this end time. The total force of all these movements has been concentrated on seizing the White House for George Bush.
The Selecting of a President with a
Many political commentators who are uncomfortable with the notion of religion in government indulge in the wishful thinking that George W. Bush learned from his father's problems with the evangelicals, and merely professes Christian faith to secure what has become the base of the Republican party. But Bush has talked freely about the "spiritual awakening" that he experienced from a single conversation with Billy Graham in 1985. does not describe himself as "born again" he says, because his faith deepened more gradually than that term implies. He made a startling statement in a Republican presidential primary debate that Jesus Christ was his favorite philosopher "because He changed my life." An article in the New York Times (January 23, 2000) reported that, far from mere political posturing his belief was "both a central pillar of his life and critical to his vision for the nation and the way he would govern." This information came from religious leaders, friends and Bush himself. The article went on:
As president, Mr. Bush says, he would “look first” to religious organizations of various faiths, rather than government or secular agencies, to attack poverty, homelessness and addiction. He has also said he would not require religious programs to censor their spiritual teachings to get government aid. He believes that God has a place in government, that religion has a place in society, and it is not to be marginalized and put on the periphery as though it is some sort of extra,” said the Rev. Tony Evans, an evangelist and senior pastor of the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas who prays with Mr. Bush….
But behind the scenes, some of the nation's most prominent Christian conservatives are supporters, friends and advisers of Mr. Bush. They say they are confident he will promote their agenda on abortion and "family values," as well as church-state issues. (Emphasis supplied.)
We will probably never know what commitments Bush made to the Council for National Policy; but the above quotations are proof enough of his enmity against the separation of Church and State.
Bush had two direct masters in the recent presidential election campaign - the hierarchy of the Roman Church, and its offspring the New Right-Religious Right alliance. The Washington Post reported that about two years earlier meetings began between a small group of conservative Catholics and Carl Rove, Bush's top strategist, to plan a coalition based on an alliance of deeply religious, churchgoing Protestants and Catholics. The article stated:
Their goal was to secure the GOP as the political home of regular churchgoers. If successful, they would create a political party dominated by those seeking to advance an agenda of moral re-generation, with a core committed to ending legalized abortion, promoting premarital abstinence and attacking sexuality in the movies and on television. (Oct. 28, 2000)
Significantly, the coalition move coincided with a decision at the 1998 conclave of the National Conference of Bishops to make banning abortion the top political priority of the Roman Church. Flowing from this decision, the Catholic hierarchy "sharply ratcheted up its political activity during the 2000 elections," according to a report in Church & State (December, 2000). The report by the editor, Joseph L. Conn, stated that, "While the news media focused its attention on the partisan posture of the Christian Coalition and some African-American churches, the political activities of the Roman Catholic Church, the nation's largest religious denomination, went little noticed." Bush established close personal relationships with the Catholic hierarchy during the election campaign. Conn reported that on the final weekend of the campaign Bush met in private with Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia, who is "one of the most right-wing partisan prelates in the country." It is not clear how successful the hierarchy was in its political activism on behalf of Bush. Gore won 50 per cent of the Catholic vote (down from 53 per cent for Clinton in 1996) to Bush's 47 per cent (compared to Bob Dole's 37 per cent in 1996.) Considering the report by Church & State of the intense pressure on the Catholic laity from pulpits across the nation, it is surprising that Bush failed to get the majority of their votes to win a clear victory. This can be credited in part to an independent streak in the Catholic laity of America. Perhaps it is also a reflection of the uneasy union between the Religious Right and the Catholic laity? Nevertheless the damage is done, and there has been a break-through of enormous magnitude. Can the tide of battle be turned for a little while before the end? Time will tell.
What George Bush has done from the day of his inaugural ceremony through the ensuing two weeks so loudly proclaims his antipathy to separation of Church and State that mention of his high-handed accession to power is almost redundant However, the power struggle in Florida, and its outcome, belie the amiable image that he seeks to project while waging war against the constitutional rights of the people. Whoever was the true winner of Florida's electoral votes, the crucial point is that all of the votes were never counted. Despite the propaganda to the contrary released by the Republicans and believed by a majority of Americans, according to the polls, there were persistent, reliable reports that they feared Gore would have won either a full recount in the selected counties or a full statewide recount It was truly alarming to see the undemocratic forces that were unleashed by the party in the Florida contest. It was an exercise in raw political power against the will of the majority of voters in the nation. It was accomplished by determined action and threats on the ground in the counting process. It was advanced in the Florida legislature and the U.S. Congress. There were vicious attacks on the Florida Supreme Court in the exercise of its rightful jurisdiction as the ultimate interpreter of Florida law, combined with unprecedented appeals for intervention by the federal courts. There was no genuine federal constitutional question involved in the post-election controversy. The equal protection clause of the Constitution was rejected by a Federal District Court and the Federal District Court of Appeals as a basis for halting the counting of undervotes. The U.S. Supreme Court did not take up that ground on the first appeal, but the conservative majority seized on the clause in the second appeal to hand down a decision that they said must not be taken as a precedent for any other case. Ironically, the equal protection clause had been enacted to benefit newly emancipated slaves, but by its application in the present case it was mostly the votes of their descendants that were discarded. It was a win at all costs strategy in which the conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court became deeply involved. All of this was done by Republicans who had been preaching for years that we are a nation of laws and not men! This was an awesome manifestation of the very spirit of the beast.
The Scripture says, "Saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast ..." Rev. 13:14 (part 2.) Amazingly George Bush was declaring it throughout his campaign, and somehow precisely what he was saying did not get through to millions of Americans, who would never have given him their vote if they had known. The term "compassionate conservatism" was not a promise to soften the harsh, laissez-faire policies of the Republicans which favors the affluent in our society. Only those who were familiar with the name Marvin Olasky, and his books, The Tragedy of American Compassion (1992) and Renewing Compassion (1996) could have had any idea what was involved. Only those who were aware of another Olasky book, Compassionate Conservatism. What It Is, What It Does, and How It Can Transform America,
for which George Bush wrote a foreword and an appendix could have had any inkling what the nation was in for if Bush was elected. Bush calls Olasky "compassionate conservatism's" leading thinker. He also says, "Compassion demands personal help and accountability, yet when delivered by big government it came to mean something very different" Bush further states in the Foreword:
Government can do certain things very well, but it cannot put hope in our hearts or a sense of purpose in our lives. That requires churches and synagogues and mosques and charities.
Not surprisingly, the ideology of Olasky's 1992 book was enthusiastically embraced by Newt Gingrich and his congressional allies to form the basis for "The Republican Revolution." They emphasized economics and smaller govemment; but "compassionate conservatism" is, above all, the blueprint of a plan to, "Tear down that wall of separation" between Church and State, Olasky's own phrase spoken in a lecture, "What Is Compassionate Conservatism and Can It Transform America?" delivered before the Heritage Foundation on July 11, 2000.
As alarming as current events are, there is cause for greater alarm because the opening wedge of "compassionate conservatism" has already been enacted by Congress as a part of the 1996 welfare reform legislation. It was sponsored by then U.S. Senator John Ashcroft, now George Bush's Attorney-General. This devout Pentecostal has a well documented hostility towards many of our cherished constitutional freedoms, most notably the wall of separation between Church and State. Charitable Choice frees religious organizations from the requirement that government subsidized services be provided in a secular manner, and usually through a separate legal entity. Sadly, even Al Gore stunned civil libertarians by endorsing Charitable Choice in May, 2000, stating that dispensing a little religion along with a hot meal or job training is a good idea, and government should support it. As reported by ABC News, Rev. James Dunn, executive director of the Joint Baptist Committee put it well:
We've got a whole lot of people who are going to take the money and try to win people to Jesus with it. They are going to take it and use it to undergird their overall mission. It's who we are today as a Christian people. We don't distinguish between our do-gooding and our good-talking. We can't separate them because we sincerely believe when you are feeding someone who is hungry, you should be telling him about Jesus, too. There is nothing evil about that. That's the way the contemporary Christian understands the gospel. But we had better not take tax dollars to do it because those tax dollars were not paid to help my church win converts or to proselytize. (Emphasis supplied.)
With non-Christians present at Bush's inaugural ceremony, his presidency started with the promotion of Christianity in the opening and closing prayers. Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell said in the closing benediction, "in the name that's above all names, Jesus the Christ. Let all who agree say amen," to the certain discomfort of many. Bush included in his speech a promise to give "Church and charity, synagogue and mosque ... an honored place in our plans and laws." (Emphasis supplied.) Then, within the first two hours of his presidency, he made a proclamation declaring January 21, 2001, a "National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving to God."
All of this has been followed during his first week in office by actions on abortion, and an education package sent to Congress with inclusion of voucher funding for religious and other private schools. (CONCERNING ABORTION, IT IS OF GREAT SIGNIFICANCE THAT THE "RIGHT TO LIFE" MOVEMENT IS BASED ON THE CATHOLIC DOGMA OF THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL, AND THE CONDEMNATION OF THE UNBAPTIZED ABORTED FETUS TO AN ETERNITY IN LIMBO.)
On January 29, Bush unveiled a new White House Office for promoting government aid to "faith-based" organizations (i.e. churches) as a part of a major "faith-based" social service initiative. This is a man with a purpose - and in a hurry! Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church & State declared:
Bush is throwing the massive weight of the federal government behind religious groups and religious conversions. The President appears to believe that the government should use religion to solve all the nations social problems. This approach strikes at the heart of the religious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. (See http:www.au.org/pr126O1.htm [no longer found online].)
The "wall of separation" between Church and State has been breached by Congress in the Charitable Choice legislaton and now by a broader executive order. The nation has been set inexorably on course towards the ultimate fulfilment of Revelation 13. Is the Image to the Beast now fully formed, or must the full force of the tyranny and persecution first be manifest? One must come to his own conclusions. There is one certainty - prophecy has and will continue to be fulfilled. Our Lord stated that these things "must shortly come to pass" (Rev. 1:1). As this nation teeters on the brink of the extinction of democracy and the freedoms we have dearly cherished, we have only one hope of survival. We must place all our trust and confidence in Christ whose mighty arm will deliver His people out of their affliction.
Since the George W. Bush administration's initial flurry of alarming cabinet appointments, religious declarations, religion influenced legislative proposals, and executive orders culminating in the unveiling on January 29 of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the attention of Congress and the nation has been distracted by the style of the
Bush presidency. In an article by Carla Binion in the Online Journal, she put it this way:
Today, as George W. Bush reaches out to woo church groups and Senate Democrats and put them in a virtual trance of peace and bipartisan harmony, it seems that maybe he picked up a tip from his dad's longtime supporter, Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Moonies practice a technique they call love bombing." One former Moonie. .. defines love bombing as a "persistent psychological effort to disarm a skeptical recruit by showering him with excessive attention and love" in order to win him over... Bush now takes political schmoozing to unprecedented heights, but for what ultimate purpose? (Feb. 3, "Stealth tactics, Moonies and the art of cynicism")
Stealth, and therefore by definition, deceit, is the modus operandi of George W. Bush and the allies he has gathered around him. Indeed this is a characteristic of the Bush family. After referring to a September, 1995, Washington Post report of a Moon rally speaking fee paid to ex-president George H. W. Bush that was to remain secret, Binion stated:
The problem with these secret fees and other clandestine activities is that when it comes to the Bush family, what you see is riot always what you get. The public front is one of calm good will, but the public record reveals that what happens behind the scenes is often another matter. For example, George W. Bush campaign adviser Ralph Reed once defended his Christian Colalition colleagues for fronting 'stealth candidates" - meaning, politicians running on secular issues but hiding their religious-right agendas. Reed told the Los Angeles Times (March 22, 1992) that when it comes to stealth tactics: "It is like guerrilla warfare. If you reveal your location, all it does is allow your opponent to improve his artillery bearings. It is better to move quietly, with stealth, under cover of night."
Thus as stated by Benjamin Soskis:
These days, when President Bush talks about his newly established White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the only gospel he seems to be preaching is deregulation. "Our plan will not favor religious institutions over nonreligious institutions," Bush declared in early February at the National Prayer Breakfast "I am interested in what works." In the executive order creating the new office, Bush said he was allowing private charities and religious groups to 'compete on a level playing field." Don't believe him. Bush's initiative assumes that religion's power to transform lives is both unique and essential to the nation's welfare. And once upon a time Bush used to say so. As the former governor of Texas announced in a 1996 speech titled, 'We Need a Renewal of Spirit in This Country," in the final analysis there is no overcoming anything without faith - be it drugs or alcohol or poverty or selfishness or flawed social policy." (The New Republic, Feb., 26, art "What Religion Cannot Do")
The propaganda is working. Soskis stated, "It's a sentiment endorsed by believers on both sides of the aisle" referring to politicians, and he points out that:
According to a 1999 Gallup Poll, 61 percent of Americans believe religion "can solve all or most of today's problems." So perhaps its no wonder that in the weeks since Bush's announcement. hordes of commentators have insisted that faith-based organizations do a better job fixing society's ills than their sterile secular alternatives.
Here is "a virtual trance of peace and bipartisan harmony" indeed! In Bush's first press conference on February 22, veteran reporter Helen Thomas was the lone reporter who raised the question of Church and State in the following exchange (cnn.com.2/22/01):
QUESTION: Mr. President, why do you refuse to respect the wall between Church and State? ... why do you break it down?
BUSH: Well, I strongly respect the separation of church and state.
QUESTION: Well, you wouldn't have a religious office in the White House If you did.
(According to a press release in Americans United for Separation of Church and State 12/23/011, "Bush itheril attempted a brief defense, arguing the constitutionality of his Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, including a muddled reference to "the line between the separation of church and state.”)
QUESTION: You are a secular official?
BUSH: I agree. I am a secular official.
QUESTION: And not a missionary? (emphasis supplied)
This Is the alarm bell that should be sounding. Instead, there is a seductive sound, the deceptive ring of a bell of peace and tranquillity. In reality it is tolling the impending death of democracy and its civil and religious freedoms. The call now is to all religions to come and worship the image of the beast.