Turns out Rumsfeld delivered intelligence briefings to GWB with cover sheets featuring prominent biblical quotations back in 2003. Psalms and Isaiah seem favorites (the one sheet with an unlabeled quote is from Isaiah 6.8); also 1 Peter, Ephesians, Joshua, Daniel, and 1 Chronicles. Better pics here.
This is major-league creepy, folks, to borrow an adjective from Frank Rich. It doesn’t just cross the church-state barrier – it leaps over it and keeps running. It provides picture-perfect documentary evidence for America’s enemies that the invasion of Iraq was for religious reasons.
I want to know who designed these cover pages. A chaplain may have been consulted for apropos quotes to match the pictures, but not necessarily; it may have simply been someone who had a reasonable knowledge of the Old Testament in particular, enough to come up with something vaguely befitting a given photo. The one with the M-1 tank. for example, is clearly keyed to “armor” in the quotation.
Someone with more familiarity with the various denominations could probably ID the brand of Christianity behind the quotes. The quotes themselves seem to be from the New International Version, and the use of 1 Peter and Ephesians suggests a Protestant line. Rumsfeld is supposedly Presbyterian, but I doubt he designed the pages.
Ok, after some more reading on my part, the GQ article states “Major General Glen Shaffer” was the “brainchild” behind the cover pages, a director of intelligence working for both Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs. This doesn’t mean he actually did the layout or chose the quotations, though, though it seems clear that he, as well as everybody above him, approved of them.
Shaffer retired in August of 2003. No info from that page on religion. He now works for KGS, a management consulting company that takes government contracts. His bio page there says he’s “a member of the Bracken Christian School Board of Trustees and Chairs the Board of Trustees for Son Shine Ministries of Azle, Texas.” The latter is a support ministry for overseas troops, apparently; the BCS board supports the Bracken Christian School in Texas.
BCS’s mission statement has a paragraph that might explain why General Shaffer thought highly of placing photos of the Iraq War in context with biblical quotations. I quote it in its entirety:
“Seeing events of life through the lens of Scripture is called a biblical worldview. This is the fulcrum upon which all of our programs hinge. Without a thorough understanding of what God thinks about certain issues, we are left to interpret the events of life based on how we feel, a sorely inadequate foundation from which to work. A biblical worldview enables a person to set an anchor in life. We are no longer tossed here and there by every contemporary cultural wind. We stand on a rock while the remainder of the world continues to sink in the sand of relativism. We are not arrogant when we say that we have the truth. We state that fact with all humility, knowing that it is not our intellect that has brought us to the truth, but the grace of a holy God. The Bible stands as our lighthouse, constantly providing a reference point and direction for our lives. Teaching our students to think biblically and assess life biblically is of primary importance. Without that mindset, the mind of Christ, a student will be lost in a world that is increasingly hostile to the things of God.”
It’s hardly a secret that there are a fair number of militant Christians in the U.S. military that share this biblical epistemology, uncritically using a book assembled over centuries for largely political reasons to inform their modern decisions. But it’s one thing to serve your country, though, with such a mindset, and other to set war policy based on the inerrant word of God (and BCS, as well as SSM, hold to a brand of inerrancy).