Bachmann discussed the signs she sees that indicate that we are at the end of “God’s time clock” earlier in the year on a radio program appropriately titled “‘Understanding the End Times’ with Jan Markell”, which centers on her opinions that President Obama is “pro the goals of Islamic jihad”, and that Obama has “declared war on Israel from the United States” in a way that will bring about divine punishment.
But even if the world is going to hell, literally, Bachmann offers some relieving hope and calls for greater Christian efforts to spread the word.
“The prophets said in the Old Testament they longed to look into the days we live in, they longed to be part of these days. That’s why these are not fearful times these are the most exciting days in history and for pastors this is the time to preach. One thing that we see is that a lot of young people don’t care that much about church, well why not? Because they’re not hearing anything relevant from our pulpits. Talk about what you see in the newspaper every single day. We can talk about God’s time clock and the fact that Jesus Christ’s return is imminent. Is there anything more important to talk about?”
Maybe the idea that Bachmann, a former US Representative and one-time Republican presidential candidate frontrunner, is accusing the President of basically being the Antichrist given that his foreign policies are allegedly bringing about the destruction of Israel and the ascension of Christians to heaven. Bachmann, of course, has the right to free speech, but there is no right of critical immunity.
And thinking critically, maybe it is a good thing that Bachmann is no longer in Congress or running for president. It is not good governance to legislate or execute policies with intentionally near-sighted, fundamentalist hope for humanity’s apocalypse and the end of physical existence. If the end times are indeed nigh, should we even worry about government at all?
“We need to be so on fire right now about the things of Christ and the things of God,” says Bachmann. “That needs to occupy our time and our thoughts virtually from morning to night because we have very little time in my opinion left before the second return of Christ.”
But what about secular problems such as climate change, income inequality, poverty, world hunger, endless American war, etc? How can fundamentalist Christians even care about those issues if all of their time is spent praying and trying to convert non-Christians ahead of the impending rapture?
This is why fundamentalism is a huge problem for the public sphere of American life: because many of our Congressional representatives legitimately have these apocalyptic expectations. Democratically speaking, a disproportionately represented, fundamentalist-leaning Congressional delegation has no right to be making self-destructive decisions for a religiously diverse nation of 320 million people, and ultra-Christians in Congress are indeed making self-destructive decisions.
Take for example America’s eternal support for Israeli’s increasingly apartheid-esque domestic politics. American politicians often talk about the special bond between America and Israel, and the issue has become an international liability as Israel is increasingly viewed as a pariah state. The support for Palestinian statehood is gaining global sympathy, and even many countries within the European Union, ardent supporters of Israel in the past, have begun to criticize Israeli hostility against the Palestinian people. Increasingly, America is the only major nation supporting what can be termed legitimately as an occupation, and it is neither strengthening our foreign policy nor advancing our national interests.
But the strange part of American support of Israel is that the US is protecting Israeli statehood for ultimately anti-Israel reasons. The fundamentalist prophesy that Israel will be destroyed in order for Christians to go to heaven is wildly anti-Semitic, no matter how many billions of dollars in military aid the US gives to Israel. Christians in the US want to ensure Israel’s national survival just long enough for Jesus to come back and leave most Jews behind as Christians ascend to eternal salvation.
This is an absurd theological conception on which to base America’s hegemonic foreign policy, and it is apparent in the political controversy behind the Iranian nuclear deal. Clearly opening relations with Iran, a Middle Eastern superpower of a region in which America is chronically fighting wars, is positive for American security interests. But Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to Congress and politicized the issue with Christian Republicans. Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has also put in his two cents, claiming that President Obama is marching Israelis to the “door of the oven” in a bluntly offensive Holocaust reference that is perhaps unsurprising given that Huckabee arguably has positioned himself as the most fundamentalist Christian candidate in the Republican field.
But it is not only in international politics that fundamentalist Christians are standing in the way of national interest. The US has certainly moved toward the left on the issue of gay marriage, but fundamentalist Christians are standing—as in the case of Kim Davis, literally—in the way of what most Americans think is progress. And Bachmann naturally agrees.
“The world is embracing degeneracy.” she says.
To fundamentalist Christians, progressive, democratic equality is considered morally degenerate, and this is exactly why religious fundamentalism has no place in public, secular government. Unfortunately, though, fundamentalist doomsayers are not about to hope for the apocalypse privately.
“As Christians we know that the word of God is true, it’s inherent,” she says. “Let’s preach the true living word of God from every pulpit so that believers can know what God’s time clock is.”
It would be nice if God revealed Himself by asking fundamentalist Christians to stop slandering his benevolence.