Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Seeking the Evil One

by JOHN CHUCKMAN

Imagine a fundamentalist tent-meeting somewhere on the dusty plains of Oklahoma or Texas without the Devil? a spluttering preacher at the pulpit with nothing about which to shout and frighten people? Preaching the actual teachings of Jesus – so far as we know them, about peace and toleration – wouldn’t cover rental payments on the tent and electric organ.

That little thought-experiment offers genuine insight into the nature of American fundamentalism as well as insight into the terrible new era of perpetual war ushered in by that fine Christian gentleman, George Bush.

There is little doubt that the nature of a person’s religious universe shapes and orders his or her understanding of the physical one. We know the Catholic church for centuries fought scientific discovery, certain that questioning ancient preconceptions about nature also questioned aspects of the supernatural. This way of looking at things continues into the twenty-first century, especially in the gulag of creepy places that is George Bush’s America, places where they discuss topics like the Mark of the Beast in hushed tones.

It was that sly, clever Voltaire who declared, “If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him.” A slight altering of his words tailors them to the American experience. Simply remove the word God and put Devil in its place, for, although America is sometimes called a God-fearing nation, Devil-fearing is nearer the truth.

For many years, America enjoyed the blessing of having Communism against which to rage and threaten. It made for a balanced, harmonious universe: America as God’s Kingdom, ready with sword and buckler to defeat the Evil One, and all those other nations out there providing an unsaved mob to fill America’s tent and contribute to the mighty battle.

Communism as Evil One played to rave reviews for decades, but all good things do come to an end, including the planet itself if you embrace the tortured, perhaps psychotic, visions of the Book of Revelation.

America’s new Official Evil One is a little difficult to define, but some ambiguity likely serves the cause well. After all, those Americans who believe in speaking in tongues, as does the current Attorney General of the United States, don’t specify the languages. Any babble will do. It is clear, however, that America’s new Great Awakening has to do with Islam and people wearing strange headgear. In the humble, but direct, language of places like the Midwest and Texas, it’s about turban-heads. Unlike godless Communists, this newly discovered slithering mass of evil believes in God, but it might just as well not since it calls him by the wrong name and reads the wrong holy book.

Well, burning people alive was a specialty of the competing churches in Europe after the Reformation, a charming custom that Puritans brought to the land that would become America. The practice has gone through many changes and refinements, and it is jealously retained by America’s Hi-tech Army of Roundheads. As I write this, they are using helicopter gunships to burn and blow up women and children in Fallujah.

I came across a fascinating passage in Richard Rhodes’ excellent history, The Making of the Atomic Bomb:

“One of Roosevelt’s first acts was to appeal to the belligerents to refrain from bombing civilian populations. Revulsion against the bombing of cities had grown in the United States since at least the Japanese bombing of Shanghai in 1937. When Spanish Fascists bombed Barcelona in March, 1938, Secretary of State Cordell Hull had condemned the atrocity publicly…As war approached, revulsion began to give way to impulses of revenge…”

America, as we know, went, in a short time, from revulsion at someone else’s bombing to fire-bombing a number of cities and atomic-bombing two others. Before the ashes had cooled on a million or so innocent victims of air raids, that nest of vipers, the Communists, was released on the world. A long series of bloody, largely pointless, conflicts culminated in the holocaust-bombing of Vietnam and Cambodia. Hell, what’s a few million peasants when they might be demon minions of the Evil One?

 

John Chuckman lives in Canada.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel and Academic Freedom: a Closed Book
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate? 
Andrew Levine
A Putrid Election: the Horserace as Farce
Mike Whitney
The Biggest Heist in Human History
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Sick Blue Line
Rob Urie
The Twilight of the Leisure Class
Vijay Prashad
In a Hall of Mirrors: Fear and Dislike at the Polls
Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Built Clinton World
John Wight
Who Will Save Us From America?
Pepe Escobar
Afghanistan; It’s the Heroin, Stupid
W. T. Whitney
When Women’s Lives Don’t Matter
Julian Vigo
“Ooops, I Did It Again”: How the BBC Funnels Stories for Financial Gain
Howard Lisnoff
What was Missing From The Nation’s Interview with Bernie Sanders
Jeremy Brecher
Dakota Access Pipeline and the Future of American Labor
Binoy Kampmark
Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 and the Joint Investigation Team
Andrew Kahn
Nader Gave Us Bush? Hillary Could Give Us Trump
Steve Horn
Obama Weakens Endangered Species Act
Dave Lindorff
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
John W. Whitehead
Uncomfortable Truths You Won’t Hear From the Presidential Candidates
Ramzy Baroud
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Nuclear Man
Brandon Jordan
The Battle for Mercosur
Murray Dobbin
A Globalization Wake-Up Call
Jesse Ventura
Corrupted Science: the DEA and Marijuana
Richard W. Behan
Installing a President by Force: Hillary Clinton and Our Moribund Democracy
Andrew Stewart
The Democratic Plot to Privatize Social Security
Daniel Borgstrom
On the Streets of Oakland, Expressing Solidarity with Charlotte
Marjorie Cohn
President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation
Norman Pollack
The “Self-Hating” Jew: A Critique
David Rosen
The Living Body & the Ecological Crisis
Joseph Natoli
Thoughtcrimes and Stupidspeak: Our Assault Against Words
Ron Jacobs
A Cycle of Death Underscored by Greed and a Lust for Power
Uri Avnery
Abu Mazen’s Balance Sheet
Kim Nicolini
Long Drive Home
Louisa Willcox
Tribes Make History with Signing of Grizzly Bear Treaty
Art Martin
The Matrix Around the Next Bend: Facebook, Augmented Reality and the Podification of the Populace
Andre Vltchek
Failures of the Western Left
Ishmael Reed
Millennialism or Extinctionism?
Frances Madeson
Why It’s Time to Create a Cabinet-Level Dept. of Native Affairs
Laura Finley
Presidential Debate Recommendations
José Negroni
Mass Firings on Broadway Lead Singers to Push Back
Leticia Cortez
Entering the Historical Dissonance Surrounding Desafinados
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi: ‘My Life is My Message’
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
David Yearsley
Bring on the Nibelungen: If Wagner Scored the Debates
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]