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Chapter 51

George W. Bush is Romeward Bound

 

The United States Presidential election was ultimately decided by a single vote in a nation of 270 million citizens. By a 5—4 majority, the justices of the Supreme Court determined that election.

Nationwide Bush had received approximately half a million less votes than his Democratic Party rival, Vice-President Al Gore. The vote of the Electoral College hung in the balance, depending upon the count of votes in the state of Florida where Bush’s brother, Jeb, a convert to Roman Catholicism, was state governor. That vote was never completed conclusively, for the Supreme Court, split 5—4, refused to permit the completion of the recount. No American president has ever received such a precarious, indeed doubtful, mandate.

In such circumstances Bush could be forgiven for courting the popular vote as he contemplated the next election in 2004. As President, numerous opportunities presented themselves for Bush to do this.

In April 2001 President Bush was hosted, along with President Fox, of Mexico, foreign minister Shimon Peres of Israel, and foreign minister Fischer of Germany, by the American Jewish Committee. All four dignitaries spoke. Russell’s youngest son, James, who is Director of Legislative Affairs for the General Conference (World headquarters) of Seventh-day Adventists, attended that dinner as a guest of the American Jewish Association.

Traditionally the Jewish vote has favored the Democratic Party. No doubt Bush, whom Attorney James Standish reported had delivered an excellent presentation, was not unmindful that there can be a certain level of cohesion in the Jewish vote.

But it is to the Roman Catholic vote which George Bush has directed his most assiduous efforts. As The Washington Post of April 16, 2001 reported,

A number of Republican operatives view the Catholic vote as the linchpin of a larger Republican strategy to gain solid majorities among all white religious voters—critical to Bush’s reelection prospects. (The Washington Post, April 16, 2001)

Roman Catholic voters have tended to favor the Democratic candidate in Presidential elections. Bush believes that this trend has to be reversed. No doubt he will not repeat his strategy of speaking during the 2000 presidential campaign at the anti-Catholic Bob Jones University.

Already pollsters have discerned a trend toward the Republican party.

Religiously active voters have been gradually migrating to the Republican Party, leaving the Democrats as the party of the religiously indifferent as well as the politically liberal, pollster Steve Wagner, who is a member of an informal Catholic advisory group to the White House, recently wrote in the conservative Catholic magazine Crisis, "The migration began in the 1970s among morally conservative evangelical Protestants, especially in the South. Now, with Election 2000, it seems clear that religiously active Catholics are joining in, moving inexorably away from the solidly Democratic voting patterns that used to be a hallmark of American Catholics." (Ibid.)

When President Bush was invited to speak at the opening of the John Paul II Cultural Center at the Catholic University in Washington D.C. on March 1, 2000 he surely exceeded propriety, as a proclaimed Methodist, as he fawned over the Roman Catholic hierarchy present. This speech was recorded in full on the web site www.whitehouse.gov, the White House website.

Cardinal [Adam] Maida, [of Detroit] thank you for your vision, and thank you for your smile. What a great smile. (Applause.) Cardinal Szocha, thank you very much for your hospitality and, Cardinal [Theodore] McCarrick, let me congratulate you on becoming a cardinal last month. Though we’re both new to our jobs, I’m the only one who is term-limited. (Laughter and applause.) (Source: www.whitehouse.gov)

I may be just passing through and I may not be a parishioner, but I’m proud to live in your archdiocese. (Applause.) I’m pleased to join with all the church leaders and special guests here today to dedicate the cultural center. It is my high honor to be here. (Ibid.)

However it was his words of adulation for the reigning Pope which should have caused Protestants to reflect upon the price the new President was prepared to pay in return for votes in 2004. There was absolutely no need for Bush to quote in a positive manner the blasphemous statement of a journalist.

One journalist, after hearing the new Pope’s first blessing in St. Peter’s Square wired back to his editors: This is not a pope from Poland, this is a pope from Galilee. (Ibid.)

Such manifestly improper comparisons with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, are an affront to the Diety.

Nor was the President prudent in quoting Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev’s faulty claim:

The last leader of the Soviet Union would call him the highest moral authority on earth. (Ibid.)

Surely John Wesley, the founder of Methodism to which faith the President adheres, would have been aghast to hear a follower of that faith assert:

And maybe the reason this man became Pope is that he bears the message our world needs to hear. . . .

His is not the power of armies or technology or wealth. It is the unexpected power of a baby in a stable, of a man on a cross, of a simple fisherman who carried a message of hope to Rome. (Ibid.)

Bush’s concluding remarks in this speech ring contrary to the words of Scripture. Bush needs to spend more time with the word of God, lest he be seduced into further faulty conclusions concerning the true course and character of the Papacy.

I’m grateful that Pope John Paul II chose Washington as the site of this center. It brings honor and it fills a need. We are thankful for the messenger. We are also thankful for the message, for his personal warmth and prophetic strength.

Always, the Pope points us to the things that last and the love that saves. We thank God for this rare man, a servant of God and a hero of history. And I thank all of you for building this center of conscience and reflection in our Nation’s Capital. (Ibid.)

A President with a mindset on matters Papal, such as expressed in this speech, must take stock of his current course lest he find himself leading the United States to fulfill the prophecies concerning the second beast of Revelation 13. Certainly his present course is Romeward bound.

This bent has not been lost upon journalists and Roman Catholic prelates and laymen. Perilous it is that the President has countenanced weekly conferences between his administration and Roman Catholic advisers. We may rest assured that these advisors will carefully craft their counsel to profit Roman Catholic aims. We wonder if President Bush’s speech at the opening of the John Paul II Cultural Center was scripted by an ardent Roman Catholic.

Bush seeking to capitalize on those trends, has met privately with at least three high Catholic Church officials and has adopted Catholic themes in speeches; his staff has instituted a weekly conference call with an informal group of Catholic advisers and the Republican National Committee is setting up a Catholic Task Force. (The Washington Post, April 16, 2001)

President Bush has also sought to promote contacts with the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

Bush, bidding to improve on those margins in 2004, has met with Archbishop Justin Rigali of St. Louis, Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh and Washington’s Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. His staff has created an informal advisory group that includes Crisis publisher Deal Hudson and Princeton University political scientist Robert George. (Ibid.)

One of these Roman Catholic advisers, Deal Hudson, has declared,

It’s almost too good to be true, how much they [the Bush administration] have come to understand what appeals to religiously active Catholics. (Ibid.)

Ominously another adviser, Robert George, referred to—

a Catholic "third way" which dates to the Encyclical letter "on the condition of the working classes" issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891, and has been evident throughout the 20th century. George cites John Paul II’s 1991 Encyclical as an example. (Ibid.)

In that 1891 encyclical, Rerum Novarum, Leo XIII advocated state assistance in enacting Sunday as a rest day for workers. Such would seriously breach the liberty of those who worship on other days or choose not to worship at all. It is to be hoped that George does not convince the Bush administration to enact such a law.

Another Roman Catholic, Paul Weyrich, head of the free Congress Foundation,

wrote that he recently asked senior Bush adviser Karl Rove to tell the president "that he has mastered the art of Catholic governance." Rove, according to Weyrich, replied, "That’s pretty good for a Methodist." (Ibid.)

Roman Catholics most assuredly would be content that President Bush’s "Catholic Governance" was "pretty good for a Methodist," but surely no student of prophecy would draw such a conclusion.

Professor Robert George’s statement concerning President Bush’s obedience to Papal wishes is full of meaning as we look ahead during his presidency. George noted that,

in 1960, John Kennedy went from Washington down to Texas to assure Protestant preachers that he would not obey the pope. In 2001 George Bush came from Texas up to Washington to assure a group of Catholic bishops that he would. (Ibid.)

That statement is worthy of a second reading.

In providing 8 billion dollars for faith-based charities President Bush has received Roman Catholic accolades. Jesuit priest, Fred Kammer, head of Catholic Charities U.S.A., stated that,

an infusion of new federal dollars is essential to expand our capacity. None of these faith based partnerships proposed by the president can work without sufficient funding. (Our Sunday Visitor, February 18, 2001).

President Bush is determined to fulfill this wish. Yet, in general, Protestantism slumbers on. Two factors have seriously eroded Protestant concerns. The Ecumenical Movement, the first of these factors, has focused the attention of Protestants on the search for a Christian unity based not upon God’s Word, but rather upon compromise of the pillars of the Christian faith, pillars important to Christian virtue and the preparation of characters fit for heaven.

The second factor eroding genuine Protestantism has been the Charismatic Movement. If, as many believe, the ancient pagan practice of glossolalia is now an evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life, then all who manifest this "gift" share the approbation of the Third Person of the Godhead.

Thus it is concluded that Roman Catholic charismatics and Protestants also manifesting the "gift of tongues" are equally approved of heaven and consequently can unite in worship and Christian initiatives. It is time long overdue for Protestants to re-evaluate this charismatic issue, for it is fraught with serious dangers.

The practice of glossolalia has a long history within paganism. The Encyclopaedia Britannica records the greatest Roman poet, Publius Virgilius Maro, commonly known as Virgil, who lived from 70 b.c. to 19 b.c, citing an ancient pagan prophetess speaking in tongues. The article describes—

oracular possession [as being] common among savages and people of lower culture; and Doctor Tylor, in his Primitive Culture, ii.14, gives examples of ecstatic utterances interpreted by the same. Thus in the Sandwich Islands the god Oro gave his oracles through a priest who "ceased to act or speak as a voluntary agent, but with his limbs convulsed, his feature distorted and terrific, his eyes wild and strained, he would roll on the ground foaming at the mouth, and reveal the will of the god in shrill cries and sounds violent and indistinct, which the attending priests duly interpreted to the people." (1963 edition, Volume 22, p. 288)

Many Christians have placed their own interpretation upon the gift of tongues mentioned in Scripture. When this gift was bestowed at Pentecost it most certainly was not ecstatic utterances. It was that of languages used by the various nations represented in Jerusalem at that time. The purpose of the gift was to enlighten men and women of various languages with the gospel message.

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Gali-læans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? (Acts 2:4—8)

It is time for Christians to recognize that on each occasion Christ taught men to pray he recommended language, not ecstatic utterances. The Lord’s Prayer is evidence of this. We would do well to follow His example, remembering that Satan has counterfeited every Christian virtue and practice. The manner in which the charismatic practice is leading men into the aura of Catholicism should be a warning.

The Bush administration would do well to examine the warning penned in 1884 by Ellen Harmon White who wrote once more as if she were writing the words in the twenty-first century rather than the nineteenth,

Protestants have tampered with and patronized popery; they have made compromises and concessions which papists themselves are surprised to see, and fail to understand. Men are closing their eyes to the real character of Romanism, and the dangers to be apprehended from her supremacy. The people of our land need to be aroused to resist the advances of this most dangerous foe to civil and religious liberty. (Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, p. 382)


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