February 18th, 2005

me

"There is no tomorrow"

There Is No Tomorrow


by Bill Moyers

Published January 30, 2005

One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.

Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a worldview despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.

Remember James Watt, President Ronald Reagan's first secretary of the interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever-engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, "after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back." [NOTE, Grist later wrote: "[Editor's note, 04 Feb 2005: While Miles' book does cite this Watt quote, it does not state that the quote was made in congressional testimony, as Scherer originally wrote in his article. We have corrected the original article to reflect this fact, and we continue to look into the accuracy of the quote.]"]

Beltway elites snickered. The press corps didn't know what he was talking about. But James Watt was serious. So were his compatriots out across the country. They are the people who believe the Bible is literally true—one-third of the American electorate, if a recent Gallup poll is accurate. In this past election several million good and decent citizens went to the polls believing in the rapture index.

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