It is more than a little ironic, I think, that the North Carolina minister forced almost 50 people to leave his church for the newly discovered sin of failing to support George Bush.

As one former member of East Waynesville Baptist Church was reported as saying: “… if we didn’t support George Bush, we needed to resign our position and get out, or go to the altar and repent, and support George Bush.”

The minister, Chan Chandler, insists that he is acting according to God’s Word. However, despite searching the King James, the New International Version and the American Standard Bibles – not to mention running various letter sequences through the Bible Code – I was unable to find the verse that said “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the President George Bush, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

I did, however, run across Jesus Christ’s parable of the tree and its fruit in the book of Matthew, warning of false prophets, wolves dressed as sheep. And I wondered: Who might these false prophets be? Who are the false Christs working evil, deceiving even the elect as they bring about the dominion of the last and greatest antichrist?

Then I considered the following description of the RealID plan:

Starting three years from now, if you live or work in the United States, you’ll need a federally approved ID card to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, collect Social Security payments, or take advantage of nearly any government service.

This sounds more than a little remniscent of words written on the isle of Patmos almost 2,000 years ago: “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark …” That’s a rather impressive forecast, especially if you consider how far off the best science fiction writers of the Golden Age were from accurately portraying a reality only 50 years after their time. But then, I suppose one could argue that divine inspiration is a form of cheating.

It is true that even in latter-day America, which is already 40 percent government-owned, it will still be theoretically possible to do some buying or selling after our Republican House, Senate and president impose this RealID monstrosity on us. After all, who has a bank account, travels on airplanes or pays income taxes, right? And no doubt some bright Three Monkey Republican will be quick to point out that an ID card containing digital information is not the same thing as a mark on your body.

Not yet, anyway.

Homeland Security is permitted to add additional requirements – such as a fingerprint or retinal scan – on top of those. We won’t know for a while what these additional requirements will be.

It will be a delicious surprise to almost everyone except me, I think, when the Department of Vaterland Security informs a surprised American people in a few years that due to the theft of RealID cards by suspected Islamic terrorists, it has determined that the most effective way to ensure security of the RealID system is to implant miniaturized RealIDs into the card-owner’s body. This will be mandatory, of course, because otherwise it will be impossible to protect America from the imminent threat of destruction by people paying cash for their Cheerios at the supermarket.

I realize that many Christians believe George Bush is a godly man, that he has been selected by a higher power for a special mission at a critical time in this country’s history. Nor do I deny that this may well be so. But the vital question is to discover which god he serves – God, the Father of Jesus Christ, or the god that Jesus Christ described as the prince of this world.

For it is written that many will be deceived, and it is impossible to argue against the fact that this president, like his father before him, is dedicated to expanding the size and scope of government, to sustaining and supporting the legitimacy of the United Nations, and to building a new world order on the ashes of American sovereignty.

No man can judge another man’s heart or his soul. That is for God alone. But we can, as Jesus Christ told us, know the tree from its fruit. And while I did not believe the president’s qualified claims to being a conservative during his 2000 campaign, I saw no reason to doubt his religious faith.

Now, after five years of a presidency that has conclusively proven George Bush is no conservative, I am beginning to wonder if his claims of sharing a faith with the Christians of America might not be dubious as well.

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