Not Saussure

October 30, 2006

A Country Ruled by Faith

Filed under: usa, Wingnuts — notsaussure @ 2:44 am

He remembered, in this light, the first feeling he had experienced in that non-Muslim country: “I could feel the presence of evil…. The demonic presence is real in a place that has rejected Allah.” His task was not simply to defeat an enemy force, but to carry Mohammed to the benighted. “It is the principalities of darkness. It is a spiritual enemy that will only be defeated if we come against him in the name of Allah.” The fundamentalist groups he addressed responded eagerly when he attacked the “godless” courts of his own country. “Don’t you worry about what these courts say, our Allah reigns supreme.”

Source: The New York Review of Books: A Country Ruled by Faith

Ah. It’s almost Halloween and my computer is clearly in need of a good exorcist, since the chap quoted in the New York Review of Books is not, in fact, Abu Hamza or Omar Bakri Mohammed.

It is, rather, an evangelical Christian, and not just any evangelical Christian; he’s the US deputy undersecretary for defense intelligence, General William (Jerry) Boykin, one of the men leading the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

What the article actually said, of course, before the forces of darkness started playing around with the text was,

After he led the failed “Blackhawk Down” raid on Mogadishu in 1993, he flew over the city taking photographs. When developed, the pictures showed black smears on the landscape. He showed them to his Sunday-school-teaching mother, and she asked, “Don’t you know specifically what you were up against?” Only then did he get the full supernatural meaning of the pictures. “It was a demonic presence in that city, and God revealed it to me as the enemy that I was up against in Mogadishu.” He remembered, in this light, the first feeling he had experienced in that non-Christian country: “I could feel the presence of evil…. The demonic presence is real in a place that has rejected God.” His task was not simply to defeat an enemy force, but to carry Jesus to the benighted. “It is the principalities of darkness. It is a spiritual enemy that will only be defeated if we come against him in the name of Jesus.”[36] The evangelical groups he addressed responded eagerly when he attacked the “godless” courts of his own country. “Don’t you worry about what these courts say, our God reigns supreme.”[37]

Senior general and leading figure in the War Against Terror. Scary or what?

It’s part of a lengthy article about the influence of the religious right in the USA, and well worth a read. It concludes with the observation that

There is a particular danger with a war that God commands. What if God should lose? That is unthinkable to the evangelicals. They cannot accept the idea of second-guessing God, and he was the one who led them into war. Thus, in 2006, when two thirds of the American people told pollsters that the war in Iraq was a mistake, the third of those still standing behind it were mainly evangelicals (who make up about one third of the population). It was a faith-based certitude.

Meanwhile, the excellent Keith Olberman, an American commentator whom I discovered through Chicken Yoghurt here and, very memorably indeed, here, did an item a couple weeks ago about David Kuo’s book complaining of the hypocritical manipulation of these American evangelicals by the deeply cynical Karl Rove. The two theses might seem contradictory, but I don’t think they are; the religious right seem to get their way, by and large, while it suits the White House’s political agenda. When it doesn’t, the White House is somewhat more pragmatic and tosses them bones — abortion, emergency contraception, gay marriage — on which to gnaw to keep them quiet.


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