Thursday, November 11, 2004

Then God Was Wrong 

Via our distinguished colleagues at Cursor: For over a week now we have been frantically groping for some rational explanation of the obvious balloting irregularities in Ohio and Florida, and we think we have finally found one. According to the evangelical scholars cited below, God was so moved by the sacrifice of Pennsylvania housewife Diana Sheehan, who resisted her sweet tooth and went without sugar for a full 40 days, that he rigged the election for George W. Bush:
On the day after President Bush was re-elected, he gave much of the credit to his political adviser, Karl Rove, whom he called “the architect” of his campaign. But in evangelical churches, on Christian radio, and in voter precincts dominated by conservative Christians, the credit is going instead to someone a whole lot more powerful: God.

The Almighty intervened in the U.S. election, these evangelicals believe, to allow Bush to remain president. They say God has “blessed” America with Bush--and had Sen. John Kerry been elected, God would have “cursed” the U.S. By allowing Bush to be re-elected, God has given America “more time” to stop its slide into evil.

“This was Providence,” evangelical leader and presidential adviser Charles Colson told Beliefnet. “Anybody looking at the 2000 election would have to say it was…a miraculous deliverance, and I think people felt it again this year.” By allowing Bush to stay in office, Colson said, God is “giving us a chance to repent and to restore some moral sanity to American life” . . . .

Plenty of ordinary American evangelicals also believe that by allowing Bush to be re-elected, God has given the United States another chance. For months leading up to the election, many Christians nationwide prayed and fasted, in an effort led by Intercessors for America, to assist in Bush’s re-election.

Among them was Diana Sheehan, a mother and housewife who led a weekly prayer group at her Pennsylvania church whose sole task was to pray about the election. For 40 days ending on Nov. 2, she also participated in a no-sugar fast. On Election Day, Sheehan paced back and forth reading the Bible in her church, Dove Christian Fellowship in Ephrata, Pa., as part of a round-the-clock 48-hour prayer vigil for the president. His reelection, she said, was God’s signal that "he's giving us more time to get our act together. I think this nation is going down the tubes very quickly."

Now that God has given America extra time from which to be spared his wrath, evangelicals feel some urgency to buckle down to God’s business. That is why, for example, a group called Christian Response has already sent out an email with the subject line “EMERGENCY!” to induce supporters to blast Capitol Hill with faxes condemning Sen. Arlen Specter, the Republican Pennsylvania senator who said last week that judicial nominees who oppose abortion would face difficulty getting Senate confirmation. The Family Research Council and Focus on the Family followed within hours with emails entitled "Stop Specter."
TODAY'S CONTEST: The title of this post is taken from the dialogue of a 1956 Hollywood movie. A brass-plated Zemblan no-prize to the patriot who can identify both the movie in which the line appears and the bigger-than-life actor who delivers it.

UPDATE: There are many, many blogs we love, but there is only one we regard as art. From What Alice Found, news of a major theological brouhaha in the making:
What if the Rapture has already happened?

What if Revelation's prophecies have been fulfilled?

These questions are unthinkable for those Christians who believe that the end of the world is, well, still to come - and that it will unfold in accordance with apocalyptic interpretations of the Book of Revelation: the Rapture, the sudden snatching up of millions of the faithful into heaven, followed by the seven-year Tribulation, during which the world is ruled by the Antichrist, followed by the return of Jesus and his triumph in the battle of Armageddon.

That's more or less the story line hewed to in the phenomenally popular "Left Behind" series. Now, however, Tyndale House, the Christian publisher of "Left Behind," is planning a new fictional series with a very different view - one that posits that Revelation actually tells the story (in code) of the first-century persecution of Christians and of the fall of the Jewish Temple.

Tyndale officials say they're simply presenting different sides of an important theological issue.

But the Rev. Tim LaHaye, co-author of the "Left Behind" books, called the decision by his publisher "stunning and disappointing" and said he felt betrayed.

"They are going to take the money we made for them and promote this nonsense," he said.

The co-author of the new series, obviously, disagrees. "I am elated with Tyndale's support," said Hank Hanegraaff, the host of a syndicated call-in radio show, "The Bible Answer Man" . . . .

"I don't know what science fiction he is reading," said LaHaye. "We believe the Rapture is going to come, not his nonsense that Christ came back in 68 A.D."

"I am reading the Bible, specifically Revelations it was written for first-century Christians," retorted Hanegraaff. "I am not relying on some wooden, literal interpretation that is unsupportable."

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