Is Every Christian Down Deep Really Fred Phelps, Part II: Thank God for Economic Destitution

A few months ago I pointed out that while more mainstream evangelicals may know better how to couch their statements so as not to be so vulgar, there is really little difference between their widespread beliefs and those of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church (“Is Every Christian Down Deep Really Fred Phelps?, 31 July 2012). Adding to this litany, Reverend Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, had the following to say shortly after the reelection of President Obama (Beamon, Todd and Kathleen Walter, “Franklin Graham to Newsmax: ‘We Have Turned Our Backs on God’“, Newsmax, 15 November 2012):

Maybe God will have to bring our nation down to our knees — to where you just have a complete economic collapse. And maybe at that point, maybe people will again begin to call upon the name of almighty God.

In Christian apocalyptic fantasies, ten percent unemployment, diminished lifetime earnings, lost homes, trillion dollar deficits and worse aren’t economic happenstance or the work of the greedy and short-sighted on Wall Street. They are the just deserts that a jealous god reigns down on those who would create a pluralistic society. One can almost see the Reverend Graham with one of those brightly colored signs outside the house of a poor family being evicted: “Thank God for Foreclosures.”

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The Bibliographic Legacy of the Cold War

Walking around a used book store in Washington, D.C. I am reminded of another as yet unresolved dilemma left over form the Cold War: what to do with all the really narrowly focused specialty books on the Soviet Union for which all the retired Kremlinologists no longer have any use. You go to the Russia section in the store and it is like the PC book section: full of titles so arcane to the average used book store buying agent that they have no idea that they are the dupe to someone’s need to offload a bunch of obsolete books. Instead of, say, a few general histories of Russia in the Nineteenth Century or some modern books on Putin’s Russia, what you have are dozens of heavily thumbed tombs dating from the Sixties and Seventies on topics such as the persistence of the third five year plan in Soviet economic planning or the roll of the Politburo in ideology formation, 1954-1960. Just like many used book stores don’t buy PC books, D.C. used book stores should adopt a policy of no books on the Soviet Union by former CIA Directorate of Analysis employees.