Notes From All Over: Does The President Really Believe He Receives Locutions?
By Michael H. Brown
There is so much going on. First off, a question. Is it true that This comes up because we note a brief item in the highly liberal Jerusalem-based newspaper, Haaretz, at least as stated by Dateline President George Bush believes he is in direct contact with God?: Israel -- which reported that at a meeting in Aqaba, Jordan, with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas last month, Bush allegedly told Abbas, "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."
Focus on the quote, "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam."
We don't know the veracity of it -- and have our doubts. It could well be an exaggeration, or a quote that has been taken out of context. It could be a red herring. At the least, it may be an attempt to discredit the President and make him look like a religious zealot (which, coming from sources in the Middle East, would be ironic).
But we're paying heed because the President is a very spiritual man who may be prone to searching for direct heavenly word (he starts out every day with prayer and spiritual reading), and he has spoken about a "mission" involving terrorists. Thus, there is a chance that he said something like that. Evangelicals -- among whom we would categorize the President -- are prone to listening for the voice of God.
And this is good. We do well to seek the Lord's guidance (in fact, anything else is foolish), and God speaks to all of us all of the time. We should acknowledge his infusions of advice and heed his promptings.
But we also urge caution. When it comes to direct verbiage -- if indeed this is what the President was alluding to -- we must be careful we are not misled by deceptive voices (especially if one is the leader of the world's most powerful nation).
Whatever the truth of the rumor, if true, it would not be without precedent. There is a legend that George Washington experienced the apparition of a beautiful woman at Valley Forge who showed him the future of a great country [see this story]. There was also Abraham Lincoln -- a highly spiritual man who got caught up, however, in seances, allowing spirit mediums in the White House. With Bill Clinton, it was self-help gurus who entered the Oval Office.
This is volatile stuff, and, again, must be handled with tremendous caution. Where better for spirits to work than in the White House? Those who rely on voices (and we're not at all convinced that Bush does) are often misled by deceptive ones.
Perhaps this is something else about which we must pray.
At this point, we have no reason to believe that Bush experiences direct locutions, yet there are some intriguing aspects to the entire situation. There is a mystical undercurrent. Bush's victory was made possible by a Supreme Court decision on December 12, 2000 -- feast day of Guadalupe, the miraculous Mexican apparition thought by many to represent the patroness of the Americas as well as pro-life forces. Bush's brother, Jeb, governor of Florida, is a deeply Catholic man who was converted by his wife, a woman devoted to Guadalupe. There is even a rumor that Jeb has thought about consecrating Florida to the Blessed Mother.
Rumors and more rumors, but this we know: the Bushes' father, former President George Herbert Walker Bush, was born in Milton, Massachusetts -- where a likeness of the Blessed Mother resembling Guadalupe has appeared in the condensation between two plates of window at Milton Hospital. On another window is what looks like a fetus, an unborn baby. [See here for yourself.] The hospital doesn't currently allow abortions but is ready to merge with one that does.
A message here? A connection with a pro-life President who is ready to sign a ban on late-term abortions -- and may appoint Supreme Court justices who overturn Roe v. Wade?
Interesting stuff. Watch it become even more interesting in the days ahead. We don't believe in "coincidence." But back to President Bush: if he has said anything like it is reported that he said, he needs to be awfully careful.
We support the President, although, when it came to the war in Iraq, we went with the discernment of the Pope. If anyone is in communication with the Lord, it's the Supreme Pontiff -- who prays in a way that we doubt any other leader prays.
The safe harbor is John Paul II.
That's our message this day when confusion threatens and rumors fly and notes come from all over as the flag on the Fourth is raised.
At The Root Of Presidential Woes May Be A Number Of Untold Spiritual Factors
By Michael H. Brown
Whatever the upshot this week, whether President Bush begins to turn things around, or whether the momentum remains against him, it has been a tremendous downward spiral and we look at the spiritual forces that may be involved.
At times, it's nearly like presidents get cursed. Will the withdrawal of Harriet Miers now change that dynamic? Will it help blunt the impact of indictments?
Any leader is subject, of course, to the vicissitudes of office, especially in second terms. He is also subject to tons of negative thoughts. Call them "reverse blessings": Tens of millions simply don't wish the leader well. This can include both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, although obviously, in the present circumstance, the "negative wishing" is mainly from the liberal side.
Does it seem like a curse? One can only guess at how many New Agers and assorted other occultists -- who tend to be pro-choice -- are "wishing" Bush, who at least talks pro-life, less than the best. One website for witches proclaims at the top: "The Goddess -- A Republican's worst nightmare."
If one digs just a bit, one finds, in fact, that a prominent American witch named Starhawk, who has even taught priests, is firmly against the president.
"We were in Crawford, Texas, at Camp Casey, where Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, camped near Bush’s ranch to confront Bush with the painful reality of the deaths his policies have caused," writes the famed California witch. "Many of the supporters there were from New Orleans, worried about their homes, their friends, and families. The overall culture of the camp was very Christian—we found no natural opening for public pagan ritual, although a number of people did indicate to me quietly that they were ‘one of us.’ But our little group gathered by the roadside, cast a circle, chanted, and prayed."
There you have it in her own words: a major witch marshalling "forces" (earth, fire, water, wind) against the president.
Thus we see that a president needs our prayers, and this includes for discernment. Whether or not from negative well-wishers, such forces cloud us. We have an affinity for President Bush because he professes to be Christian, reads the Bible, and was even photographed on election night (at top, left) with an icon of the Virgin.
But there are mystical weak points with him, wounds, and some may be self-inflicted.
Take Iraq. It has been reported -- and denied by the White House -- that President Bush believes he heard God tell him to attack Afghanistan and invade Iraq. He supposedly has claimed that he was told by the Lord to bring settlement to the crises in the Mid East, in grand fashion. Of course, thus far, it isn't working out that way.
We reported these claims two years ago when we noted a brief item in the highly liberal Jerusalem-based newspaper, Haaretz.
Allegedly, Bush spoke about hearing God to Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and then foreign minister Nabil Shaath in June of 2003, soon after the start of the war.
Shaath, now the Palestinian information minister, claims that ''President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq..." And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"
The ministers recently repeated these claims to the anti-Bush British network BBC for a documentary that aired earlier this week but that after White House denials left out the supposed locutions.
Nonetheless, the BBC producer, Norma Percy, claims she double-checked the quotes, substantiated the meeting, and says she believes the remarks are true despite the White House denials.
"The U.S. leader also told them he had been ordered by God to create a Palestinian state," reports one wire service of the ministers and their meeting.
The White House has dismissed such remarks as "absurd." "He's never made such comments," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
Let us hope not. While we would never belittle a person's communication with God (all should seek this), direct locutions as described in this case are very tricky business and prone to deception. Many who are evangelicals believe they hear such "words." But when that evangelical may be the president, and when a communication leads to war (if it did), it takes on a new dimension.
Ironically, fellow evangelicals hear the opposite and believe Israel should have ceded no land to Palestinians.
Who is hearing what?
The subconscious can be involved, and when there are false locutions, they can cause a cult-like frenzy in which opposite views are simply not tolerated.
It's the hot seat there in Washington, and no matter how spiritual a president aspires to be, few jobs could be more worldly -- which can cloud spiritual judgment. Whatever President Bush did or did not say (we know he has said he is on a special mission, and that God chose him for this time), it has also been reported that when he met with the Pope's emissary, Cardinal Pio Laghi, about the Iraq invasion in March of 2003, the president seemed so sure of what God wanted that he set aside a letter from John Paul II and began his discussions about his plans for war without reading it, leaving the emissary miffed.
Is this stuff true -- or political slander?
We have to wonder. It is piling-on time against the President, and we have no intentions, despite our misgivings about the war from the start, to join that piling on. Faced with the choice a year ago, we gave him our vote because he expressed a view that was pro-life. His nomination of Justice John Roberts seems to be a splendid one -- and will prove so if he rules against abortion.
But the Vatican believes that "pro-life" means more than just against abortion, and the question becomes: who was hearing correctly from God about the war in Iraq: Pope John Paul II -- who was vehemently against it (as is Benedict XVI) -- or the president?
"When I went to Washington as the Pope's envoy just before the outbreak of the war in Iraq, he (Bush) told me: `Don't worry, your eminence. We'll be quick and do well in Iraq,'" Cardinal Laghi told Italian Catholic TV station Telepace, which was broadcasting the pontiff's annual address to diplomats. The Cardinal called the attack on Baghdad "tragic and unacceptable. Bush was wrong."
"God is a neutral observer in the affairs of man," the Vatican has stated. "Man cannot march into war and assume God will be at his side." The Pope had called for "common efforts to spare humanity another dramatic conflict." He said war is "always a defeat for humanity."
To whom do we listen? And those to whom we are listening: to what are they listening?
Whatever the view, the Iraq situation has led to very difficult fruits. There are the tens of thousands of civilians dead (these we tend to forget); the death toll of Americans has topped 2,000; there are new antagonisms; the cost has been more than $200 billion; and indeed the focus on Iraq (and the distraction of Cindy Sheehan) may have figured into the perplexing response to Katrina.
Now the president has faced the further distraction of charges, right or wrong, that the war sapped National Guardsmen who could have been used in the disasters and that the war led to the uproar over the CIA leak, which has threatened top officials with indictment.
We'll let the pundits sort all of that out.
This is not to criticize the president; we don't do that here; but it is to request prayers for his spiritual clarity. It is also to ask prayers for his protection. We sense he needs this. He is a man who like the rest of us struggles to be a Christian in a world of confusion and in a place where there is spiritual battling in high places (Ephesians 6:12), places invisible to the world of politics.
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