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Revelations about the Whore of Babylon

Posted on | March 22, 2006 | No Comments

Revelation 17:13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast It was 1976, and I was just seven years old. The Evangelical movement was taking flight and it was built on an apocalyptic foundation. The Book of Revelations was pure, predictive truth and the rise of the Beast–the Whore of Babylon–and ensuing the Second Coming wasn’t a matter of if, but when. And “when” was soon. That year a neighbor “witnessed” to my mother and she began taking us to Fairway Baptist Church. It was an all-encompassing experience. Sundays, Wednesdays, weekend retreats and a school I would attend for half of 3rd grade. I was paddled for not completing Bible verses. I was taught a glowing rendition of American history. I was not allowed to wear my Star Trek shirt or Star Wars socks—graven images, you see. It was quite an experience. Our pastor–Pastor Paulson–was a charismatic former CIA agent. I’m not kidding. And we were fed the diet of the day: the Number of the Beast, Hal Lindsay’s Late, Great Planet Earth, preparing our souls for Rapture, the evils of the United Nations, the role of the USSR in Armageddon. On Wednesdays, the children would play Jesus-themed games and the adults would learn more about the ins and outs of the End Times. Occasionally, we’d all pile into the main church and watch a movie. Movies about the Last Days…about relatives and friends disappearing in the Rapture, the Mark of the Beast on foreheads and the bloody reign of the Beast. One image stands out…of those who refused the Mark being denied food, medicine and, eventually, their heads by the Beast’s guillotine. It was powerful stuff. My mother bought a portrait of Jesus, 5 feet by 3 feet…with long, flowing sandy blond locks, a full beard…in profile…looking upwards. You know the image…Jesus as roadie for Lynyrd Skynyrd. It hung in the living room. It dominated the decor of our family room as only a Southern Fried Roadie of God could. I deprogrammed myself slowly, over time. I asked about dinosaurs and how all those insects fit on Noah’s Ark. The answers begged more questions. My questions led me to science and to history. Eventually it led me to philosophy. Although I was re-Baptized out of my Southern Italian Catholic beginnings in front of 500 people and wearing nothing but a white robe, I was not a believer. At least not for long. My rebellious temperament wouldn’t permit it. But I know. I was part of it. I get it. Which is why today, here in the Whore of Babylon, I find myself explaining all the craziness of the Red States and the Bush Administration and Evangelicals to those who just don’t get it. To those who haven’t had Revelations envelop them like a wet blanket. To those who’ve been Blue State thinkers and intellectuals and media-types. To those who don’t know the Book of Revelation. Revelation 17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of earth The irony that I’ve come here to make my way and work in the media is…well…revelatory. This is my second time here. My own personal second coming, I guess. The first time I engaged the Whore, seeking out some of her riches. But all my passes led only to some dry humping. No penetration. Perhaps because I was quietly and subconsciously appalled by her. I didn’t want in. This time? I’m trying in my own small ways to battle the Whore. And maybe I’ve found my “calling”–to explain the role of Revelation in all that is happening. To explain it to those who don’t know. The End Times provides the Administration with its base of support. Christian Zionists see the invasion of Iraq, the return of the Israelites to the Biblical boundaries of their God-given land and the destruction of the Al Aqsa mosque as keys to fulfillment of Prophecy. Evangelicals love that George talked to God to get the go-ahead to invade Iraq. The historical home of Babylon is key. The Whore of Babylon, to them, will come out of this toppling of Saddam. Muslims have taken the place of Godless Communists as the key player to set in motion Armageddon. The end of the Cold War and fall of communists was a downer since Evangelicals thought they were the “Great Bear” that would come out of the North to the great Battle to End History. But this Administration, which meets with 30-40 Evangelical leaders every couple months to consult on Mid-East policy, knows how to use the language of the End Times. They know how important Revelations is to their base. Their base, which defaults to “George has a good heart” when faced with a

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litany of destructive policies…policies in contradiction to their own professed beliefs…cannot let go of the neck of history now that they’ve got a stranglehold on it. Now that Prophecy is finally coming true. Here I am, in the middle of a hard-facts culmination of those things I was taught as a child. It’s amazing, ironic and, somehow, symmetrical. Enter Kevin Phillips. Phillips was the GOP strategist who helped the GOP begin to take the South in the late Sixties and early Seventies. He worked for Nixon. He was a scion of Republican strategists. Phillips has since emerged as our best political analyst and a great historian.The Cousins’ Wars is the best American history book I’ve ever read. Ever. The Politics of Rich and Poor and American Dynasty are the two most important books on contemporary American politics I’ve ever read. And now he’s done it again. In his latest, American Theocracy, Phillips dissects the intersection of Evangelicalism, End Times thinking, national debt and war. Phillips gets it. He’s been following the role of religion in American politics for years. He understands the power of the Babylon-Iraq connection and the desire of so many Americans to see Biblical prophecy fulfilled. So, I am not alone. Someone else gets “it.” That violent, scary “it” that will chew up thousands of lives in the attempt to catalyze history and induce the End Times and the Second Coming. That “it” which drives the anti-gay voters and the pro-Bush sycophants. That “it” which does an end-run around the Democrats directly to the hearts of the Heartland, where churches teach Old Testament fire and brimstone and New Testament millenarianism. That “it” of Joshua and Paul…and not much of Jesus. That Heartland that believes America is God’s instrument. Revelation 18:3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies But Phillips is a academic, a rational observer…a genius of political analysis. Far more than I could hope to be. There is one thing he, quite understandably, doesn’t illustrate. That the Evangelicals are themselves aligned with the Whore of Babylon. That Evangelicals need only read and re-read their Book of Revelation to see that, if Prophecy is true, then Bush and his team of Neo-Cons are false prophets. That the great city ruling over the world as a neo-Roman Empire is DC and that we are a great force for evil. They are so divorced from their Christianity that they ignore Jesus’ teaching in Matthew. We kill innocents. We worship the money changers. We do not feed the hungry, or show mercy on the sinner. But we speak the name of Jesus and all is permitted in his name. But none of his admonitions about love and turning the other cheek or loving those who hate us…none are obeyed. We kill indiscriminately in the service of a growing empire. A Romanesque empire, I might add. We are pushing RFID tags and forms of identification that could, to the reflective Christian, function very much like a Number of the Beast. We take other’s lands, their resources and their lives. All the while, our leader speaks of peace and Jesus and God, takes away rights…God given rights…and does the opposite of what he proclaims. The Whore of Babylon is here. The false prophet is here. The Beast is rising here. The irony of this for me is that I don’t care for Revelations. I don’t care much for American Protestant Christianity. I don’t embrace monotheism…or any theism for that matter. But I truly understand the power of these ideas and the bloodthirsty hope of some Christians to nudge history in the direction of Prophetic fulfillment. While many Blue State intellectuals marvel at the ineptitude and illogic of this Administration, I see the skill and logic of their propaganda. I see the meetings between Iran-Contra all-star Eliot Abrams and Evangelicals on Mid-East policy as logical. They have a base. They speak their language and manipulate their faith like a power tool to achieve their wholly un-Biblical aims. They’ve sent messages through Bob Woodward about George’s war councils with God. They use unreflective support of Israel and the ethnic cleansing of the West Bank as a prophetic, political tool. They have Revelations on their side. They’ve been called Mayberry Machiavellis…by the first Faith-Based Initiative Czar…who left totally disillusioned by his experiences with the Administration. For them, these religious messages are tools…nothing more. As Leo Strauss, father of the Neo-Con philosophy, put it (I’m paraphrasing): Noble Lies must be told by the elites to the masses, for the masses cannot govern themselves…cannot make rational decisions. The most effective Noble Lies are those based on religion. Religion sways the masses like nothing else. But intellectuals, media-types, Blue Staters and Democrats don’t understand. They don’t understand the power of Revelation and the End Times in the thinking of Evangelicals. So no one, save Phillips, sees this clearly. But I go further. For the Prophecies they embrace and the unfolding of history they crave are double-edged swords. Revelation, the New Rome, the Whore of Babylon…these things, according to their own Bibles, are manifest here. In America. In Washington, D.C. In their own hearts. We’ve found the enemy…and it is us.

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