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Ear to the Ground

Bush Staffers Consulting With Christian Apocalyptic Fiction Author

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Posted on Aug 7, 2006
consulting for the president
Photo: AP /Jim Mone; Illustration: Blair Golson

Joel C. Rosenberg, who writes “Left Behind”-style books about the apocalypse, told the Washington Post (scroll down) he was invited to the White House last year to talk current events and biblical prophesy, and has been in touch with several staffers since.

(Photo to the right is a satire.)

(h/t: Tiny Revolution)


Wash Po’s Dan Froomkin via Tiny Revolution:

Joel C. Rosenberg, who writes Christian apocalyptic fiction, told me [the Washington Post’s Dan Froomkin] in an interview this week that he was invited to a White House Bible study group last year to talk about current events and biblical prophecy.

Rosenberg said that on February 10, 2005, he came to speak to a “couple dozen” White House aides in the Old Executive Office Building—and has stayed in touch with several of them since…

Rosenberg—like Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, the authors of the phenomenally popular “Left Behind” series—writes fiction inspired by biblical prophecy about the apocalypse. The consistent theme is that certain current events presage the end times, the Rapture, and the return of Jesus Christ. Rosenberg’s particular pitch to journalists is that his books come true…

Rosenberg says he got a call last year from a White House staffer. “He said ‘A lot of people over here are reading your novels, and they’re intrigued that these things keep on happening. . . . Your novels keep foreshadowing actual coming events. . . . And so we’re curious, how are you doing it? What’s the secret? Why don’t you come over and walk us through the story behind these novels?’ So I did.”

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By Bukko in Australia, April 1, 2007 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bill Carruthers: that’s satire, right? I’d think so, except for the spelling. Home-schooled fundies have a hard time with that. Does Tim LaHaye publish a “Left Behind Dictionary”? Invest in one!

And good luck being one of the Raptured! What shoe size are you? I know I’ll be staying down here, so if you’re my size, can I have yours when you’re gone? All the better to run away from the armies of the Antichrist, of course.

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By Bill Carruthers, April 1, 2007 at 6:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can almost with 100% certainty say that for the christain, “global warming” is one of the biggest farces of our time. We all know that God is not going to let anything happen to his earth that he does not want to happen. Look how he protects Isreal!! He protects “ALL” that he loves. In my opinion, It’s possible that the U.N. and other leaders will use Global Warming as the excuse as to why so many people have dissapeared when the rapture of the church happens. DON’T believe them people. It’s all a big LIE!!! We’re gone because God has called his people home to prepare for that terrible battle known in the bible as Armeggedon. You’re in for the toughest seven years that now, you can’t even imagine. Hang tough, believe in Christ, and maybe you will be one of the lucky ones to find a home in heaven with us after the tribulation. But whatever you do…do not get the tatoo or the chip or whatever they’re going to call it implanted or placed on your right hand or forhead.You do this; and you’ve signed your own ticket to hell.

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By my karma ran over your dogma, March 6, 2007 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yeah this is all we’ll be as we are; however, i’ll live to dream again even if i end up a techni-colored gold fish. So, yeah lets enjoy it!

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By GW=MCHammered, August 10, 2006 at 8:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The news media recently began aiming their product to a specific audience ear, hence the growing number of news channels. But with nearly 34,000 Christian denominations and God knows how many “Word of God” Bibles, you would think the news business could have caught on sooner. Politicians seem to have always known, spin-is-in.

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By Gandersen, August 8, 2006 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Response to:

Nitrogen1: 
Trust me, if you try real hard, you can make just about any prophecy come true or seem fulfilled.  You can make a vague prophecy seem spacific.  All you have to do look for current events that fit your predicted event.  In this day and age, there is plenty good and bad to sift through.  “I predict that sometime in the next 5 months another high ranking republican will be exposed for corruptiton”. 

Nice scripture.  But, if those are “specific” example of profecy, then by me pridicting next week on Wednesday, someone will Die in Iraq qualifies as profecy!

Rob:
I was not tring to pin down a date. As many do, you focus on the medium more than the message. All I was refering to is that Humans wrote the Bible, not god himself.  Even if they were “inspired” humans, they all had an agenda, and it may or may not have been inspired by god.
And, who cares when it was written for that matter.  The The church defines the bible as the “word of God”  Historically they have resorted to torture, murder, excommunication and genocide to make sure Ideas and any science contrary the “Bible” is squashed.

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By C Quil, August 8, 2006 at 8:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The bible is simply many variations on a theme. The same stories have been told over and over again since humans were able to tell stories. The Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest surviving intact story, had a massive flood as a central theme.

The stories were attempts to explain phenomena for which there were no other explanations at the time. Every civilization who wrote one put themselves at the center. Each was always the “chosen people” with the barbarian hordes at the borders trying to invade. Each set up its own laws as the just laws and its own customs as the perfect ones.

The stories morphed from gods inside trees to gods in tree branches to gods being nailed to trees. (Ref: The Golden Bough). When you consider how much a simple story can change from day to day and week to week, think of the changes that have occurred during the thousands of years that these have been tinkered with. Even the bible in English has had numerous translations, including the truly awful clunky, unpoetic modern versions. (For pure poetry, the standard King James version has them all beaten flat.)

But all the testaments of all religions are only stories to reflect the time they were written.

And there is nothing else after this world. This world was the beginning and is the end for these particular consciousnesses we call ourselves. I wish that all the end-timers could be sent somewhere, another planet maybe(?), to meet their rapture, if that’s what they want, and leave this beautiful world to the rest of us to enjoy for the short time we’re here, since they value it so little and always have their eyes on the next (fantasy) world.

Since there is nothing after this, the believers will never know that their beliefs were in vain, and they will have wasted their time here, which will be a comfort for them in a twisted kind of way and their attempts to destroy it or their simple neglect of it will be no comfort for those of us who know this is all there is.

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By Harv, August 8, 2006 at 8:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I learned about Halley’s comet as a kid back in the fifties, I looked forward to seeing its return in 1986.  I was somewhat let down, it looked nothing like the one on posters and labels. 

It now seems likely that I may witness the end of civilization, provided by religious fanatics disagreeing over whose imaginary friend is better and unfazed by the possible destruction of humanity.  The christian fundies eagerly await rapture, when they all float up into the sky and disappear.  I don’t believe in that, but I would like to see it happen.  At least it would get rid of the current administration and the average IQ of the US would soar.  If the muslims kill all of the rest of us they get 72 virgins in heaven.  I hope they’re piglets.  Is it possible that religion is an innate intra-species trait to assure human extinction?  No, that would be intelligent design.

How ironic that humans have evolved far enough to travel in space and engineer genes but may lose it all due to religious superstition.  Oh well, if the idiots blow it all up maybe I’ll get to at least see some of the goddamn fireworks.

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By Matthew, August 8, 2006 at 8:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The implication here seems to be not only that we are living in the “end times,” but that we can through our actions (or inaction) bring on those events.  Whether the end of the world is imminent or not, one has to wonder to what extent an almighty, all powerful, god would in fact be influenced by human efforts to bring about His return…and what of the sanity of those who would worship such a fickle savior? 

Religious questions aside, what any individual believes is fine, if somewhat perplexing…but to turn Biblical prophecy into public policy is inexcusable.

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By joe, August 8, 2006 at 7:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Okay guys

Most folks with a little common sense know that what they extract from the bible is either made up or not true. What I am afraid of is that the current administration is looking for ways to rekindle and connect with the real ignorant republicans who believe in all that foolishness.

I will say that of the current registered replcns, 95% are very ignorant, and the only way they can cope in this world is to band together and promote this foolishness. It is something that makes them feel competent, makes them feel like they have something to compete with.

They are a sad and ugly bunch and unfortunately for the rest of the world very destructive and dangerous. A little knowledge is said to be a very dangerous thing.

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By Rob, August 8, 2006 at 7:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jim,

Shouldn’t you be over at http://www.foxnews.com? It is clear that critical thinking is not your forte, so leave that to others and spout your dogma somewhere else where people have their brains in neutral.

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By Jimi S. Anidiot, August 8, 2006 at 7:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Deal with it?
More like don’t deal with it.

I don’t want to die, so I’m going to believe in an assinine fairy tale. 
I don’t want to take responsiblility for making anything in this world better so I’m going to put the responsibility on an imaginary nova daddy in the sky. 
I’m too lazy and stupid to want to actually look for any meaning in my life so I’ll accept being a tool for those who can see through the frailities of others and use them for their own gain. 
I am a complete hypocrit and read the bible selectively, while saying it’s all true.

You, Jim, are truly pathetic.  I guess the good news is any progeny you have will probably be destroyed by actions condoned by your own ignorance.

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By Collin, August 8, 2006 at 4:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

At least learn how to spell “prophecy”.
“Prophesy” is a verb form.

Collin

http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com

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By nitrogen1, August 8, 2006 at 3:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hmmm,...The Bible is just a collection of stories,...written by mere human beings?

Well, if that’s so, their intellect would have dwarfed the greatest minds of the 20th century.

The Bible is aprox. 2/3rds Prophecy, written by these mortals, and the vast majority has come to pass,..and they came to pass to the letter!

I won’t waste time listing dates, and times of fulfillment,...it would take months! But it might interest Gandersen to look into the prophecies of Daniel, the Psalms, Ezekiel, Isaiah,and Jeremiah!

It might also interest Gandersen that he is a part of prophecy fulfillment himself! I refer him to: 2Pe 3:2,...That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior:
2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Hmmm,...kinda interesting when one compares Gandersen’s comment in his posting to the above prophecy!

“People started saying that about 2,000 years ago and are still saying it.  In about 1,000 years from now they will still be saying “we are in the end days”

I hope this will create a thirst in him to look into that book of ‘Stories’, just a little closer.

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By Bukko in Australia, August 8, 2006 at 2:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Right on Gandersen! What Biblical believers do not realise is that what they think of as a holy book with every word written in stone is the end product of many different versions compiled by committees over thousands of years. The Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic Gospels and a host of other chapters that were left out of the Bible show different spins on “God’s” own story. What we know as the Bible is the version by the dominant faction of Christianity.

If you look at the history of Islam, you’ll see that the same thing happened to the Koran. It was re-written by the victorious faction after Mohammed’s death. Same story with the Ramayana and other sacred texts for different faiths. They’re not God’s word, people! They’re men’s words. There might be some noble sentiments in them, but they’re not inscribed with tongues of fire. Definitely not a blueprint for the end of all human life.

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By D Andrews, August 8, 2006 at 1:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As one who grew up in evangelical Christianity, was once licensed as a Southern Baptist minister, and one who eventually made an intellectual exodus from the Christian faith - I have studied and read source materials on dispensationalist and other end-times hybrid theologies for years. 

It is truly frightening that these beliefs are held, so powerfully by many leaders, for multiple reasons:

1) The end-times interpretations of the Books of Revelation, Joel, Jude, Daniel and others that are espoused by books such as Left Behind (and subsequently interwoven into current evangelical theology) have only existed for a little over a hundred years, and sprung predominately out of the first and second Great Awakenings in America.  Most Christians, for two thousand years, have viewed the apocalyptic literature as signposts of non-literal notions and metaphors to reinforce other teachings and doctrine in Christian living.  From the early Fathers, to later Orthodox theologians, into Middle Ages and on through the Enlightenment - all held the prophetic books to have a ‘spiritual’ and not ‘literal’ interpretation to them. 

2) Because of the pre-eminence of End Times teaching within most Evangelical circles, it has become virtually impossible to separate these views of the world from a heartfelt evangelical Christian belief.  Meaning, our current President, as a professed evangelical Christian, is bound by belief to hold that the events of the current time are directly linked to Biblical precedence, and that he, as leader of the Free World, holds a unique mandate to carry forward the work of God, as predicted, 2000 years hence, in the book of Revelation, to work out his own faith from his position of power.

3) If you read any of the books over the last century, from Clarence Larkin, to Hal Lindsey, to Hank Hanegraaf, to Tim Lahaye, you will find continual assertions, generationally, that the ‘current’ conflicts in each specific era are ‘certainly’ indicators of events occuring in the Book of Revelation (and other significant prophetic books in the Biblical canon).  However, each of these books have been, clearly visibly, proven false as time roles on and the climax (Apocalypse) is never reached.

4) One common theme between most recent End Times books is that America, as a relatively ‘new’ global force in history, holds special power in instigating the changes that will lead to the ‘return of the King’, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  This emphasis rides heavy on those evangelical Christians in American government.

I do not negate the faith of many Christians to cause good and desire social justice in the world.  I do, however, hold an extreme vendetta against prevalent doctrines such as End Times teachings, which have only been in existence for a very short time in the larger realm of ideologies.  It is too bendable, innacurate, and abused by those in powers to futher promote an unhealthy and destructive global American agenda.

The Apocalyptic agenda that Bush and Co. are promoting is indeed real - however, should this story ever be truly written, there will be no winners, only those who suffer through war, fallout, and global collapse - atheists, Jews, Buddhists, Christians - ALL suffer under the forward march of apocalyptic imperialism.

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By rob, August 7, 2006 at 11:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

wow!  ganderson, you reveal an astonishing lack of historical knowledge.  MOST of the Bible was written more than 2,000 years ago and the “Church” had nothing to do with it.  you should read up a bit before you spout off.  inform yourself, my friend.

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By Jim, August 7, 2006 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am curious, At what point will the scoffers and mockers of the Bible realize that they are commenting on the mysteries of the bible out of complete ignorance. For those who haven’t cracked the pages of the Bible to comment that the Bible was written by ignorant men who created fairy tales and fables is to call attention to their own inadequacies in regard to a complete and well rounded education.

The fact of the matter is that these buffoons who rave on about Bible scholars and prophets believing in a flat earth, and having no concept of the processes and functions of the heavens and the earth, only magnifies their own lack of wit.

The Bible has this to say about God’s creation of the earth.

“Hell is naked before Him. And destruction has no covering. He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. He binds up the water in his thick clouds, Yet the clouds are not broken under it. He covers the face of His throne, and spreads His cloud over it. He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, At the boundary of light and darkness.” Job 27:6-10

These Biblical scholars already knew that which it took scientists thousands of years to discover. You would think that those who demean the Bible believe it was they who invented gravity and hung the planets and the stars upon nothing. But, I have news for them they couldn’t approach those who wrote the Bible in brainpower or intelligence. They are inferior and substandard by comparison. 

I have news for you folks, this planet is not all we have. Those who believe that they die like a dog and do not transition into an eternal afterlife either in the presence of the Sovereign God of creation or with the devil in the lake of fire are in for a real education when they stand before the great white throne of judgment. And they most certainly will have not made the earth a better place.

Deal with it.

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By Gandersen, August 7, 2006 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As silly as it sounds, it is probably true.  Bush and the rest of the religious right are convinced we are in the end days.

People started saying that about 2,000 years ago and are still saying it.  In about 1,000 years from now they will still be saying “we are in the end days” 

This lunacy is going to be the undoing of America.

The scary thing, is that there are some who want to facilitate the war and violence to help usher in Jesus’s return????

We are a strange speicies.  Our large brain is both our biggest single advantage and our biggest single curse. 

If this planet explodes,implodes or is racked with a mega virus that wipes out the entire population, God and religion will have nothing to do with it.  It will be human beings, the dominant animal on this planet that are soley to blame.

I am curious, at what point will people realize that the bible is a collection of stories(written by human beings) written at a time when heaven was in the clouds and if you dug real deap in the dirt you would find hell.  It was written in a time when the earth was still flat, and natural forces of nature were considered god’s anger.  It was written at a time when people really believed in witches and fiends.  It was written at a time when 99% of the population could not read, write and was so uneducated they could not challenge anything the church put forth.

Now, nearly 2000 years later, many many things have changed.  The earth is not flat, the sun does not revolve around the earth and contrary to the church’s belief, if a woman drowns when held under water, she is not a witch.  The church was flat wrong in many of these scenarios and even condembed many to death and torture for trying to proove these things.

This is mind boggling.  But, what is really mind boggling is the need human beings have for hope, or a better place.

I got news folks, this beautiful planet is all we get.  if we are lucky we get about 60-90 years to enjoy it and hopefully leave it better than we found it. 

Deal with it.

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