Sunday, July 16, 2006

"Name It and Claim It" Conservatives and "Left Behind" Warriors

There is a variant of the prosperity gospel known colloquially as "Name It and Claim It" Christianity. It teaches that the Bible is perfect, eternal and unchanging, like God its author. And in the Bible God makes promises of rewards for believers. Since God is ever faithful, he will (he must) deliver on those promises if the believer asks in the right way.

For the savvy initiate, it is simply a matter of naming the desire and invoking the appropriate verse. Sure as cranking the mechanism makes Jack pop out of his box, the creator of the universe can be made to deliver what the believer wants.

When the magic doesn't work one never questions the theology, but the believer who must have done the incantation wrong:

"Did you plead the blood? You have to plead the blood."

"Did you ask in the name of Jesus?"

"Do you have unconfessed sin in your life?"

And so forth. The fault lies with the bad believer, not the bad theology.

Conservatives have their own version. "Conservatism never fails. It is only failed." Rick Perlstein wrote at the Huffington Post. If conservative governance doesn't live up to its advance billing, it's because the practitioners were never real conservatives.

Huge deficits, huge expansion of government, failures in policy and execution? Surley not "the natural, even inevitable result of ... conservative governing philosophy," but of a cabal of faux conservatives who got conservatism wrong.

The parallels with "Name It and Claim It" Christianity were irresistable.


And the "Left Behind" wing of the GOP got a gift this week from William Kristol, publisher of the "Weekly Standard" (The Official Bathroom Reading of the Official Bathroom).

One of the most influential and best-known neocons, Kristol went all "Michael Ledeen" in his recent column, "It's Our War." (Meaning the current fighting between Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah). Ledeen has been cheerleading in print for action against Iran for some time and is straining against his leash again. Now Kristol's all for doing Iran too (and maybe Syria). He suggests hitting Iranian nuclear facilities now. "Why wait?"
They are now testing us more boldly than one would have thought possible a few years ago. Weakness is provocative. We have been too weak, and have allowed ourselves to be perceived as weak.
The fact that it's a result of the U.S. getting bogged down remaking the Middle East in the last instant war Kristol and his PNAC buddies were so hot to start has gotten lost with the WMDs.

So, Bill, when do you and Michael and what army ship out? I'll pay for your very own M4 myself, but we'll have to hold a bake sale to buy you body armor.

Meanwhile, Armageddon fans are celebrating the carnage.

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