George W. Bush is Romeward Bound
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
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
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
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:
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
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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)