According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, evil, "in a large sense, may be described as the sum of the opposition, which experience shows to exist in the universe, to the desires and needs of individuals; whence arises, among humans beings at least, the sufferings in which life abounds. Thus evil, from the point of view of human welfare, is what ought not to exist."
Also see Wikipedia: "Evil".
"According to the Bible, evil is the result of an ongoing war in the spiritual realm. Satan was a great and beautiful angel; considered the most beautiful of them all. Eventually, filled with self-pride, he set himself out to take hold of the throne of God. But his rebellion was crushed, and he was cast out of heaven together with a third of all the angels."
"We know that evil demonstrates itself through behavior which troubles us. We tend as a society to think of evil almost as a physical entity, as we think of a knife or gun. Our western culture portrays evil as a red-skinned satanic creature with two horns holding a pitchfork and waving a spiked tail. The concept is that this character compels us to destructive behavior, though most think of this creature as a cultural myth."
Since the events of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush and members of the Bush administration have presented the world with an unrelenting repetition of the concept of absolutely good versus absolutely evil terrorists and evil-doers engaged in a war on freedom.
The terrorists, and those associated with them, are addressed as evil-doers and the evil ones. "Evil" is to be found everywhere and anywhere because evil knows no borders, no boundaries. Nearly every act and every motive attributed to these "evil ones" is painted with deliberate evil intentions. For example, the "evil ones" come from a cult of evil and are armed with the designs and power of evil. These "evil ones" represent a clear and present danger and are the enemies of freedom and a danger to civilization.
However, these "evil ones" are apparently not embued with self-direction. They have been described as the instruments of evil, motivated by hate. In these "evil ones," evil has found a willing servant.
In the ancient battle between good and evil, the "evil ones" have struck the innocent victims of September 11, 2001. America, as a compassionate nation of freedom-loving people, cannot comprehend these hateful actions and are alleged to frequently ask why do they hate us?
America's preliminary battle against evil resulted in Operation Enduring Freedom designed to locate and destroy Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan. Next, since it was necessary to expand against the Axis of evil engaged in the war on freedom, late in 2002 and early 2003, a coalition of the willing was enlisted in the fight against evil in Iraq, i.e. Operation Iraqi Freedom, to combat terrorism now said to be promoted by Saddam Hussein. In particular, Saddam was hiding weapons of mass destruction which threatened the United States. The numerous countries which formed the coalition were presented with the scenario of us versus them in a challenge by President Bush who demanded that they were either with us or against us.
President Bush has expressed that out of evil comes good, since the "evil" terrorists, to include al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, are being conquered.
President Bush is not the first U.S. President to attempt to affiliate America's enemies with evil. President Ronald Reagan, in depicting the former Soviet Union as an "evil empire," implored that there was a moral foundation to his efforts to contain and even defeat the former Soviet Union. Ironically, the same figures that the Bush administration regards as "evildoers" come from the same mujahideen guerrilla movement in Afghanistan that the Reagan administration supported as "freedom fighters" in the battle against the Soviets.
One source for the theological bent of Bush's speeches can be attributed to White House speechwriter Michael J. Gerson.
"Fritz Ritsch, pastor of Bethesda Presbyterian Church, in a Washington suburb, notes that the President will not meet with representatives of mainstream Christian denominations, while he uses the 'bully pulpit,' acting like 'theologian in chief.'
"Ritsch's column, titled, 'Of God, and Man, in the Oval Office,' gives a detailed and theological critique of Bush's rhetoric, and that of the so-called religious drive for war and empire.
"While Ritsch does not take up explicitly, the matter of the role of Bush's lead speech-writer, Michael J. Gerson, the Elmer Gantry-type who wrote the President's Oct. 7, 2002, Cincinnati speech on Iraq, Ritsch does specify and denounce specific words and phrases, which are the typical 'secret-meaning' fundamentalist clap-trap Gerson specializes in."
"Ritsch writes, 'Contrary to popular opinion, the religion that this group [Bush's religious supporters] espouses is Triumphalism, not Christianity. Theirs is a zealous form of nationalism, baptized with Christian language. The German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was martyred by the Nazis, foresaw the rise of a similar view in his country, which he labeled, 'joyous secularism.' .... If, as I believe, this worldview is really American triumphalism, Christianity has taken a backseat to joyous secularism [i.e. Nazism].'
"Bush, Ritsch says, 'asserts a worldview that most Christian denominations reject outright as heresy: the myth of redemptive violence, which posits a war between good and evil ... God [versus] ... Satan.... Christians have held this view to be heretical since at least the third century.... In contrast [to the 'fundamentalists'], the Judeo-Christian worldview is that of redemption. ...'
"Ritsch points to ways that the ignorant Bush misuses received religion. For example, 'The President used the words of a hymn There's Power in the Blood, to strengthen the religious rhetoric of his State of the Union 2003 speech. He spoke of the 'power, wonder-working power' of 'the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people.'
"'The original words of the hymn refer to the 'wonder-working power' of 'the precious blood of the lamb' -- Jesus Christ. The unspoken but apparently deliberate parallel between Americans and Jesus is disturbing, to say the least.'"
According to Rosalinda Arizona Indymedia, the article "Bush, Bible, and Iraq" by Stan Crock in the March 7, 2003, edition of Newsweek "reviewed the Darbyite belief in a final battle of Armageddon, leading to the return of Christ and a thousand-year reign of peace, and noted that Bush's campaign speeches, written by fundie Michael Gerson, are peppered with secret messages to his fundamentalist constituents."  See John Nelson Darby for explanation of "Darbyite belief."
"'It's true that a President sending political messages to a key constituency isn't the same as a President basing a strategy on a messianic vision,' author Stan Crock wrote. 'But European geopolitical strategists with long ties to the U.S.--people who can't be dismissed as nut jobs--are convinced that religious beliefs are the primary motivation for the Bush administration.'
"While not fully agreeing with this assessment, Crock warned, 'The problem is that even as the President's words strengthen his ties to his political base at home, they corrode relations with important elites and publics abroad. Unless you understand the religious undercurrents at work in the current crisis,' he concluded, 'you can't fully appreciate the resistance of America's allies as the U.S. tries to build a consensus for attacking a devilishly clever leader in Iraq.'"
Other Related SourceWatch Resources
- capture of Saddam Hussein
- evil empire
- fear (see article for Bush info)
- media control
- mind control
- nuclear weapons
- political hate speech
- power of persuasion
- religion and empire
- thought control
- "Devil" from Catholic Encyclopedia.
- "demons": "Authorities, rulers, powers of this dark world, spiritual forces of evil." .. the evil ones; "Satan is at work in the world today for he is the "god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4)." ..."this dark world".
- World Scripture: Good and Evil.
- Danny Schecter, The Power of Evil, znet/zmag, January 14, 2003. Regarding the phrase Axis of evil and the addition of North Korea to the axis: "Most likely, it was simply oratorical affirmative action, bussed in to lend diversity to what would otherwise have been an all-Muslim list. One thing it was not was the product of careful policy deliberation. It had not been, as they say, staffed out. As the Wall Street Journal reported last week, the State Department's East Asia hands learned about it only hours before the speech, and they were not happy. ... What we learn here is that the phrase comes from the world of propaganda more than politics."
- The Evolution of the Idea of Evil, PBS.org, January 2, 2004.
George W. Bush on "evil"
- Bush's Theological Diplomacy.
- The War On Evil - President George W. Bush's insights on evil includes a long list of quotes in which President Bush uses the word and concept of "evil".
- Bush vows to rid the world of 'evil-doers', CNN.com, September 16, 2001: "President George W. Bush said Sunday he is confident the nation will rebound from the week's terrorist attacks, and he urged Americans to go back to work on Monday knowing that their government is determined to 'rid the world of the evil-doers.'"
- Slogans and Platitudes, funnytheworld.com, November 12, 2001.
- Wes Pruden, When fear can fool even the wise men , Jewish World Review, December 1, 2001: "The administration has skillfully exploited the fear that hovers over the landscape in the wake of September 11, and nothing illustrates this better than the willingness of those who know better, or should know better, to wink at the shortcuts through the Constitution as the administration pursues the Evil One and all the little evil ones."
- Stephanie Salter, The Ghost of Christmas Future in the Land of the Free, San Francisco Chronicle, December 12, 2001.
- George W. Bush, Quote, January 29, 2002: "Those of us who have lived through these challenging times have been changed by them. We've come to know truths that we will never question: Evil is real, and it must be opposed."
- Brad Knickerbocker, As 'evil axis' turns, Bush sees no blur of right, wrong, Christian Science Monitor, February 6, 2002: "National leaders - most notably Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II - have always painted a black-and-white picture of the values, cultures, and civilizations pitted against one another in times of mass conflict involving great effort and great loss. The war against terrorism has followed this pattern, with Bush's constant references to 'evil,' 'evil doers,' 'the evil ones,' and 'axis of evil.' ... 'The implication of this language is a sort of insight and ultimate judgment that most Christians are a little uncomfortable with,' says James Dunn, a professor of Christianity and public policy at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. 'When that sort of ultimate certainty comes along, you have the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Puritan hangings.'"
- Tom Turnipseed, Bush Mimics Reagan and the Corporate Stranglehold on U.S. Media Tightens, February 23, 2002: "Bush rallies America in a perpetual war against 'evil ones' and the 'axis of evil.' Ronald Reagan used the cold war to lambast the 'evil empire' of the Soviet Union."
- Jim Duensing, The Evil Ones, The Libertarian Enterprise, September 16, 2002: "And, George Bush said the evil ones attacked freedom on September 11th."
- Morgan Strong, Armageddon, antiwar.com, October 19, 2002: "What is frightening is the language President Bush uses when he describes Saddam and others as the 'Evil Ones,' the 'Evil Doers,' to incite the American people to war. They are the same descriptions; carrying the same religious connotations, that Jerry Falwell and his flock employ to describe non-believers. George Bush is a child of their beliefs. George Bush seems to believe he and Ariel Sharon are locked in a struggle together against the Evil Ones for the world's salvation."
- Philip Atkinson, "A Study Of Our Decline": The Role of Morality: "Recognising Good And Evil," March, 2003.
- Howard Fineman, Bush and God, Newsweek, March 10, 2003 issue. Archived copy at ropma.net.
- Richard Norton-Taylor and Nicholas Watt, The Language of War. An occasional series decoding the military jargon, Guardian/UK, March 25, 2003: Evil ones: "Saddam Hussein threw George Bush's favourite insult back at him yesterday. In his second television address since the military campaign began, he branded Mr Bush and Tony Blair the 'evil ones' who are no better than 'lowlifes and enemies of humanity'. Such language will be familiar to President Bush, who condemned Osama bin Laden as the 'evil one' after the September 11 attacks."
- Juan Stam, Bush's Religious Language, The Nation, December 4, 2003: "Politically, Bush's discourse has been very effective, but theologically the results have been more problematic...."
- Chip Berlet & Nikhil Aziz, Culture, Religion, Apocalypse, and Middle East Foreign Policy, rightweb, December 5, 2003: "Apocalyptic thinking--especially in the Christian Right--joins other factors influencing U.S. Middle East policy, such as controlling global oil sources, assisting corporate-driven globalization, militaristic imperialism, and more. Why focus on this one factor? Because the Christian Right is a powerful force shaping politics and culture in the United States, and they are the largest voting bloc in the Republican Party, so they can expect politicians to pay attention to their interests. That George W. Bush takes his born-again religion seriously and applies it to his political decisions has been discussed widely. That's why we need to understand apocalyptic thinking."