Scroll down to “Bush the Blasphemous and his Messianistic Nationalism”
I think Bush is, well, typically American. This sort of rhetoric goes all the way back to the desire of Pilgrims to make America a city on a Hill (thereby arrogating to the US the role of the Church). Not for nothing does Chesterton call the US a nation with the soul of a Church. American politicians have a long history of casting the US in Messianic language. (“We fight in honorable fashion for the good of mankind, fearless of the future, unheeding of our individual fates. With unflinching hearts and undiminished eyes, we stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord.” – Theodore Roosevelt. Dittos Lincoln’s characterization of America, not Jesus Christ, as the “last, best hope of mankind”.)
This does, however, prompt a thought. Like Calvinists who never ever ever, in my experience, think that they might be among the un-elect, it never seems to occur to American patriots that, when Antichrist comes, he will *of course* look like a terrific thing, proposing happiness that nobody in their right mind would oppose. Most Christians seem to think he will wear a black cape and shout, “Minions of Evil! Now is our Hour!” to the tune of “Night on Bald Mountain”. You’ll be able to spot him by the big E for “Evil” he wears on his chest. Is it really so far-fetched to think that rhetoric like Bush’s (or to be completely politically balanced, Clinton’s “New Covenant”) would not be instead be used (thus securing the Christian vote)?
No. I’m not saying Bush or Clinton are antichrist. I’m pointing to the fact that American culture tends to adopt messianic language about itself while resolutely directing our attention to purely earthly goods and discouraging contemplation of eternal ones. A culture formed along those lines is an excellent flock for the rule of antichrist. They will eagerly want what he will have to sell and will hate people who try to assert that eternal goods are superior to temporal ones. The greatest human conflicts are not usually between Good and Evil. They are usually ocassioned when the Good becomes the enemy of the Best. America is good. It is not the Best. The kingdom of God is the best.