News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Bush in Hot Water with Evangelicals?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Bush in Hot Water with Evangelicals?

Keep an eye on how the Religious Right handles the revelation that Bush ordered the NSA to spy on Americans. The reason why evangelicals might find this disturbing is the following: an important sign that will give away the AntiChrist is his use of surveillance technology to track people.

In some versions of the Rapture mythology, known as Dispensationalism, this surveillance is a sign of the AntiChrist's plan to form a world government. In some versions of the myth this will happen through computer chips implanted in children at birth. Other versions include using computers and technology to surveille people.

No doubt, how the image of his administration carrying out one stage in the AntiChrist's plan will play with the evangelicals might account for Bush's high anxiety when he discovered that the NYTimes was going to publish the story...

Reports have Bush calling in NYTimes editors and begging them to not release the surveillance story. Certainly one reason for his anxiety is the scandal of the US spying on its citizens. But, as we've seen, the secular Right is quite comofortable with that notion. And Bush and Rove don't care what the Liberals think.

But when it comes to their base of evangelicals, a very superstitious lot, were they to connect this story to the end-of-the-world scenario, you are talking about serious repercussions not only for Bush but potentially for the conservative and Republican agenda in the next few years. As I say, watch how evangelical stalwarts spin the story. Chances are they'll try and downplay the story and wheedle Bush some wiggle room.

On the other hand, they have to be pretty careful here. If they don't express any concern then they run the chance of disaffecting their followers who take the Left-Behind scenario so seriously. Evangelical leaders can't simply pooh-pooh this central tenet of worldwide government surveillance, which plays such an important part in the end-of-the-world script.

No matter how they spin it, there might still remain some suspicions of Bush's true agenda after the scandal settles down. This suspicion in and of itself might prove harmful to Bush and his acolytes, further eroding trust in the administration and its foreign and domestic policies.

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