As we Presbyterians sometimes say, "Theology matters."
I received an email from a parishioner of ours, which directed me to a piece by James Haught, editor of the Charleston (WV) Gazette. In his article, "Agog over Bush's comments on Gog and Magog," he notes, "Incredibly, President George W. Bush told French President Jacques Chirac in early 2003 that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible's satanic agents of the Apocalypse.
"Honest. This isn't a joke. The president of the United States, in a top-secret phone call to a major European ally, asked for French troops to join American soldiers in attacking Iraq as a mission from God." This, according to Chirac in an interview with journalist Jean-Claude Maurice, who relates this in his new book, Si Vous le Répétez, Je Démentirai ("If You Repeat It, I Will Deny").
I am all too familiar with this type of theology. Some refer to it as Christian Zionism. I was once in a church that was comfortable with, if not insistent upon, a view of the scriptures that would lead one to this position.
Now, I present what I believe to be a more faithful understanding of the Bible. Of course, I've never encountered someone who is armed, or far worse, someone with the authority to order thousands of people to their deaths—based, in no small part, on bad theology.