Leave it to Pat Robertson to ascertain God’s will yet again, this time in regards to the stroke that befell Sharon.

The televangelist detected the hand of God Almighty, saying that Sharon had crossed the Creator’s wishes by giving Gaza back to the Palestinians.

“He was dividing God’s land,” Robertson said on his 700 Club TV show, adding: “I would say, ‘Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations, or the United States of America.”

Many people chalked up this latest Robertson rant as just another indication that the guy’s not all there.

And while I’m certainly prepared to believe that, there’s more to this story.

Robertson was merely espousing in his typical clumsy style what a lot of rightwing fundamentalists believe: And that is that the existence of the state of Israel foretells the End Times, the coming of the Apocalypse, when Jesus will return and when everyone will either have to convert to Christianity or die.

And Bush, whether he believes this or not, takes that constituency seriously.

Like Robertson, many rightwing fundamentalists were outraged in 2004 that the Bush Administration was urging Sharon to leave Gaza and make peace with the Palestinians. Ever concerned with his base, Bush had neocon ex-felon Elliott Abrams meet with them on March 25, 2004, according to the Village Voice.

Abrams was Bush’s National Security Council director for Near East and North African Affairs.

According to the Voice, Abrams sat down with leaders of the Apostolic Congress to massage “their theological concerns.” They said that “all of old Testament Israel belongs to the Jews,” and “until Israel is intact and Solomon’s temple rebuilt, they believe, Christ won’t come back to Earth.”

Abrams, who himself will have to convert or die if the Apocalypse arrives any time soon, tried to persuade them that Gaza “had no significant” biblical importance.

This is the company that the White House keeps.

It’s not Robertson I worry about. It’s Bush.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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