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Sundays With The Christianists: A 'World History' Book That's Ready For Apocalypse, Now
Well, time tourists, we have made it to our final visit to our 10th grade textbook for homeschoolers, World History and Cultures In Christian Perspective. This post will be a bit longish, because there's a whole lot of crazy to cover between the fall of the USSR and the end of the world, but we want to wrap this book up today so next week we can read some Christianist Sex Ed.
Fresh off Ronald Reagan's single-handed victory in the Cold War, George H.W. Bush gets credit for using lots of cool weapons "developed and stockpiled during the Reagan Administration" to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. The textbook empasizes that we'd learned the lessons of Vietnam: Bush made sure Desert Storm was "directed by military men rather than politicians" so that The Troops would "not fight with 'one hand tied behind their backs.'" (You may have thought the top lesson of Vietnam was to not jump into an unwinnable war, but you are wrong. Only socialists think like that ). Bush's wisest decision was to remember what a fool Harry Truman was for insisting on civilian control over the military and firing Douglas MacArthur for mere insubordination -- and so
Bush placed General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in command of Operation Desert Storm; for the first time since World War II, the American President and Congress followed the counsel of a military commander.
What a relief that the President and Congress finally recognized their proper place!
The other important lesson of Vietnam is that knowing about what happens in war makes people not like war, so it's best to just show cool stuff, like smart bombs flying through windows:
Generals Powell and Schwarzkopf...remembered how, during the Vietnam War, reporters had exploited the violence and distorted the news to reflect their anti-war bias. Through television briefings beamed by satellite across the globe, Generals Powell and Schwarzkopf kept the public aware of the daily events of the war free of news network manipulation. Although the decision to control news coverage was severely criticized by the frustrated media, the policy maintained vital military security while a patriotic spirit sustained morale among the soldiers and the American public.
Yay! We sure feel a lot better about wars when we don't have to see any icky details about what happens after the smart bomb goes through the window!
There's a large section on "The Continuing Threat of Communism," which notes that while Russia and China have adopted market-based economics, individual liberty has not flowed from these changes. For some reason, the editors do not explain this paradox; instead they condemn Vladimir Putin for restricting the media (a bad thing when not done by American generals). And continuing oppression by China's Communist Party shows how bad communism is, even when it becomes capitalist. Among the religious groups suppressed by the Chinese government, the book lists "the Galon Fong," whoever they are. Fortunately, North Korea is still pretty much an old-style Communist sytem, so the section on the horrors of that country today is almost as long as the section on modern China.
We also get a lengthy discussion of the tragedy of South Africa -- the tragedy in this case being not apartheid, but "UN-sponsored trade sanctions" against the country, which
caused widespread suffering and unemployment, especially among black South Africans and immigrants from other African nations, weakening the legitimate government’s attempts to achieve gradual reform while resisting Communism.
Despite the wisdom of the apartheid regime's hypothetical plan to eventually maybe someday be nicer to the blacks, South Africa's government eventually gave in to the sanctions and
released Marxist agitator and head of the African National Congress (ANC), Nelson Mandela, from prison in 1990 and agreed to share power with the ANC, long dominated by the South African Communist Party (SACP).
In one of several deletions to save space, the 2010 edition snips a full paragraph that follows this in the 1997 version, which takes pains to tell us that after his release, Mandela "stood behind a podium draped with the flag of the South African Communist Party" and "saluted" the Party's alliance with the ANC. We also are told that the country's 1994 elections "were marked by widescale fraud, especially directed against moderate black Zulu candidates who opposed the ANC and feared totalitarian rule." Worse, while campaigning, Mandela was "often photographed raising a clenched fist -- the victory salute of Communist terrorists." (No mention of a terrorist fist jab, however.)
Sadly, even in the United States, the magic of the Reagan years was short-lived:
Although the United States had experienced the beginnings of a moral and spiritual revival during the Reagan years, many people had developed a false sense of security. Believing that Communism was “dead," they looked forward to a new era of world peace and prosperity... [But President Bush] compromised with a liberal Congress to increase government spending and raise taxes after he had promised the American people that he would support neither.
Stabbed in the back again! This section reveals that the editors of different sections don't necessarily talk to each other; while the earlier discussion of Desert Storm blandly states that the US didn't seek to overthrow Saddam Hussein in 1991 because "the primary objective" of "liberating" Kuwait had been met, this later section says Bush was criticized for "not following through and eliminating Saddam Hussein as a threat to the Middle East." Similarly, where a brief discussion of Bosnia says that NATO's "show of force" led the Serbs to agree to a cease-fire, this section condemns "international entanglements" such as President Clinton's committing "U.S. troops to the UN 'peace-keeping' effort in Bosnia." On the other hand, the 2003 invasion of Iraq gets two paragraphs, which end with a bland note that Iraq held free elections in 2005 and was making "progress...toward establishing a democratic government."
World History and Cultures closes with a reprise of the haunting Culture War theme. A brief section on recent technological advances like the Internet laments that
the dependence on computers has brought with it problems: online pornography, identity theft, and cyberstalking. This is yet another example of how man can turn a useful tool into a wicked device to feed his sinful desires.
But does it include any links to hastily-written Furry porn? Sadly, it does not. We also get a blast of technoparanoia that transfers mid-1970s fears about UPC symbols to another inventory-control system, Radio Frequency ID chips, which the textbook warns "can be implanted into the arm or hand of humans." While briefly noting legitimate concerns that RFID technology might pose for privacy, the section cites Revelation 13: 16-17 to call attention to a greater and far more realistic worry:
Many Christians believe this technology corroborates with the biblical prediction that in the future people around the world will not be allowed to buy or sell without an identifying mark.
There's a nice sense of coming full circle -- just as the first chapter warns about the dangers of evolutionary theory, the last few pages include the happy news that "Darwinism" is almost certainly on the verge of being discarded once and for all, because "scholars in several fields, notably ethics, genetics, geology, and biochemistry, have raised questions about the validity of Darwin's theory." The exciting new field of "Intelligent Design," which the editors tell us with nearly straight faces "emerged from biochemistry," posits the very scientific idea that if something looks really hard to explain, then Goddidit. We also get a warning that
The horrible atrocities committed by the Darwinist dictators of the twentieth century -- Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao Tse-tung -- are also being perpetrated on the innocent today through legally sanctioned actions such as abortion and euthanasia.
So the editors equate a common surgical procedure to genocide, while elsewhere in the book they absolve "Bible-believing Christians" from any moral taint from the Crusades or the Inquisition, because those were perpetrated by "the Roman Church." We are perhaps too tainted by corrupted spiritual values to make such distinctions.
The book closes with a discussion of how the UN remains an enormous threat to freedom and democracy; even the 2010 revision still uses the present tense in telling us that "the very bloodiest of Communist regimes -- the Soviet Union and Red China -- hold special positions in the UN." The textbook asserts that
After Cambodia's Communist regime murdered nearly a third of the country's people, its foreign minister boasted, "We have cleansed our cities." The UN General Assembly welcomed him with applause.
You remember that, don't you? We couldn't actually find a source for this claim, and even searching the supposed quote turned up only an excerpt of this textbook. But sure, the UN applauds genocide all the time.
Fotunately, one good thing will come of all this globalization and one-world government, which makes us wonder why they even think it should be opposed:
The movement toward world government and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East have great significance to those who study world history and cultures in Christian perspective. We are reminded that this tiny region where history began will also be the scene of history's final events, when Christ returns in triumph to defeat the forces of Satan and to establish Jerusalem as the center of the kingdom of God on Earth. The Scriptures assure us that Christ will bring lasting peace to this troubled area and will personally rule the entire world in righteousness for a thousand years before crushing the final rebellion and ending world history. Knowing this, and knowing the earth-shaking events that will precede the reign of Christ, Christians can view current events with confidence, thrilling at the fulfillment of prophecy and continually endeavoring to be salt and light to a needy world until Christ, the Center of all history returns for His own.
Again, our secular humanist blinders prevent us from seeing why these guys think Cambodia's genocide was horrible for killing a third of the country's population, when they are "thrilling" at the fulfillment of a prophecy that involves a third of humanity being wiped from the earth. But apart from the famine and the war and the pestilence, everything's gonna be GREAT.
Next Week: As promised, an assload of Christian Sex Ed! Stop touching yourself! Why don't you stop touching yourself?