Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Left Behind .... by Paranoia

The silly, bestselling Left Behind fiction book series (over 100 million copies sold) is singularly responsible for the unhealthy paranoia-ization and rampant joyless, God-like judgment of all others by its readers....most of whom are politically conservative evangelical Christians.

Clearly, Bush/Cheney administration leadership subscribes to the Left Behind school of thought, without exception or hesitation. And they press the public buttons of Left Behind fear, paranoia, and damning judgment of others (and entire cultures and countries) with constant not-so-veiled threats and panic-inducing scenarios. Cynical political manipulative technique at its finest. Cheney, Ashcroft and Ridge have honed it to political high art.

It's no coincidence that Tim LaHaye, co-author of the Left Behind gold mine, was a founder of the infamous Moral Majority, the largest ever ultra-conservative political action lobby, which was absorbed in the 1990s by Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition. LaHaye was also one of the master strategists and major fundraisers behind the political rise of Ronald Reagan and later the elder Bush.

It's sad and alarming to see this well-meaning population polarized into an angry, irrational, militant sect-like mentality, separated from appreciation of the beauty and richness that all of God's creation, as a whole, has to offer to those with eyes to see. ("God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." Genesis 1:31.) Many have taken these nutty fictional stories to heart, and it's poisoned their real-life perspective.

The following was published in Salon.com, the MSN online magazine, on August 2, 2002, fully 6 months prior to our invasion of Iraq to allegedly avenge 9/11 and to find Hussein's WMDs.

"I am an ordained Christian minister troubled by two key elements in the (Left Behind) series. One : the scenario of chaos following the sudden disappearance of all true Christians is a fabrication not found in the Bible. 'One taken, the other left' in Scripture is a prelude to martyrdom rather than an easy escape. 'Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.' Two mass resurrections of the faithful are mentioned in the Book of Revelation, but the reading of 'the rapture' into one ambiguous verse before the Tribulation begins is wishful thinking on a grand scale.

Two : The series endorses lying, cheating, stealing, killing, gun-running, computer hacking, evading arrest, misappropriation of gov't property, sabotage and conspiring to commit illegal acts. Any action can be justified if one's enemy is identified as the antichrist.

This rationale can be expanded too easily to bombing abortion clinics, committing violence to homosexuals, and expanding the war on terror from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein and anyone else who gets in the way or dares to resist. Such thinking is so far from the life and teachings of Jesus, that I believe the spirit of Antichrist is at work in the Left Behind series and its writers." ------- Keith E. Clark

Certainly profound food for thought with an eery element of truth. Such "the end justifies the means" thinking has been used by this administration to justify thousands upon thousands of horrific abuses and lies of all sorts in the Iraq debacle. This is the heart of George Bush political doctrine, and Left Behind devotees are buying into it.

My friends, it's fiction. Fiction designed to sell a lot of books and make lots of money. It's no more real than Danielle Steele romance novels, Harry Potter's magic or Tolkien fantasies. It's not real.

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