WASHINGTON, D.C. — Is supporting war more important for evangelicals
than their social values? Isn’t Ron Paul a social
He opposes abortion, gay marriage and promiscuous sex, he has never
been divorced and certainly supports family values, but he believes
in limited government. Two of his brothers are ministers. Why then
are evangelical leaders now opting for Santorum, and before him Gingrich?
The one big area of disagreement with Ron Paul is war; foreign wars
and the domestic one against drugs. For this they oppose him. Santorum
supports unending war in Afghanistan, backing Israel without limit
and a new war against Iran.
Earlier there was a major far leftist candidate who supported all
the issues that evangelicals oppose, and was a vocal proponent for
expanding Israeli settlements on the West Bank and promoting the war
on Iraq. He was overjoyed when open homosexuality became allowed in
the military, he supports abortion, gay marriage and the leftist agenda
for big, intrusive government; power
to labor unions as well as expanded,
unconstitutional police powers within the U.S. Evangelicals adore him
and went all out to support him 2006, when he lost his primary race
and ran as an independent for the Senate. He is Senator
Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.
All this shows how evangelical leaders put support for wars ahead
of their social values. Their support includes every new law giving
Washington ever greater police powers over American citizens, such
as the Patriot Act, Military
Commissions Act and the recent National
Defense Authorization Act which tear asunder much of the Bill of Rights.
Most also supported torture of prisoners of war (with the notable exception
of Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship). All this comes with their “social
They loved George Bush. They were major supporters of the two wars
against Iraq and the occupation of Afghanistan. Fear and ignorance
of the outside world joins together with a belief that God uniquely
favors America. Mostly poorer Southerners they also have strong affinity
for the American military and its industrial complex. In addition,
author Chris Hedges has written about how they are joined by many Northern
blue collar families hurting from new technology, globalization, and
poor schools in seeing government as out to undermine their communities
and social values. Their solace is to hope for Armageddon.
I know many of their leaders from the Reagan era when they joined
in supporting his anti-communism, indeed in making his electoral victories
possible. While the older ones consider my views against empire and
for peace in the Middle East anathema, I find many younger ones much
Pollster John Zogby also notes that there is a strong divide on issues
between evangelicals over 40 and younger ones. Christian economist
Gary North wrote some years ago that they numbered
about 20 million. He
told me also that younger evangelicals were not so enthused with end
of the world dreams as their elders. If you think this view excessive
see this video of Tom
Delay hoping for the end times and others saying
that the Anti-Christ is a leader who seeks peace in the Middle East.
This is the dark side to their religious world view. Their fantasy
is often sung to uplifting gospel music of a soon-to-come Paradise.
Its concomitant message (not openly discussed) is that God will then
(brutally) kill the entire human race except for Christians (for many
meaning “born again” Christians). The Left
series dwells on how God will eviscerate, torture and kill all non-Christians.
Why so many of them dwell on this is not clear. Perhaps it gives
meaning to their lives. Or instilling fear is a way to keep them
in line under their preachers’ domination. In any case they are
cleverly used by the Israeli lobby, imperial neoconservatives and (more
profitably) by the military industrial complex.
The Book of Revelation is the integral passion of their foreign policy,
their belief that the founding of Israel foretells the imminent Second
Coming, conversion or death for Jews and eternal happiness for themselves
in Heaven. In their view America, as God’s instrument, should
encourage wars and chaos in the Middle East in order to “hurry
up” God and His agenda. One of their leaders is John Hagee, founder
of Christians United for Israel. Senator
Lieberman is a friend
and favored speaker at his events. I have described The
Strangest Alliance in History about how each side thinks it is using the other for its
Evangelicals like to quote a biblical text that God favors those
who favor the Jews. However, for them they mean only Jews who make
wars and contribute to chaos in the Middle East. Jewish peacemakers
are cursed in their view. No tears were shed for Yitzak Rabin who negotiated
peace with the Arabs until Israeli fanatics killed him. Indeed Pat
Robertson said that Rabin was killed because he was trying to thwart
Herein lies their antipathy to Ron Paul, who in all other respects
is a family values conservative. Indeed, most of them are Baptists
who used to look upon Catholics with suspicion. Today they would prefer
Senator Santorum or Newt Gingrich, both Catholics, to Ron Paul, who
Santorum is no libertarian believer in limited government (he would
use government to enforce his social values) and urges absolute support
for Israel and the military industrial complex.
These evangelicals don’t want peace because it would mean postponing
Armageddon. That’s why their leaders oppose Ron Paul.
Jon Basil Utley archives
A version of this article appeared in the March 1, 2012 edition of
American Conservative magazine.
Read this article in Russian.
© 2012 by Jon Basil Utley and reason
.com. All rights reserved.