THE TIMING COULDN'T have been more awful. A murderous spasm was loosed on Baghdad a week before Christmas; Clinton and his captive coven of generals crowded the screen, lying up a lather.
And lo, on the cover of the January-February 1999 issue of Sojourners, a general ("An Unexpected Calling")! Stars, stripes, epaulets, fruit salad—the works. And just so we get the message, the face is repeated inside, three times, the smile twice. One photo is disquieting; the background shows a flash of light and—can it be a cruise missile taking off?—atom-bomb-tipped? Is the picture included to strengthen our confidence? In any case, the general turns his back on (maybe) his own handiwork, to face the camera. And that smile! The last day, one thinks, will see it intact.
Gathered round the pulpit, where the religion of the general led in his youth to the famous "calling," let us not miss the choir. In the same issue of Sojourners, the general is in company with Howard Thurman and Dr. King; the message underscored, so to speak. How wonderfully inclusive we Christians are!
But wait a minute, save the applause; we have us an embarrassment here. Let us deconstruct. The cover general, Butler, for years had a finger on the Button of the End Time. And he had, as they put matters in psychobabbling pulpits, no problem with his "calling."
No wonder. His religion taught him something Sojourners seems in process of picking up on; nuclearism IS the official American religion. Trust in the gods of death for deliverance, for national survival, for the prospering of generals and international brigands on the spoor of big, very big bucks. Those cruise missiles over Baghdad; one million greens a throw!