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This Week in God, 8.15.15

Republicans have thrown all kinds of arguments at the Iran deal, but only one former congresswoman sees the agreement as a sign of the Biblical End Times.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks at the Capitol in Washington on Dec. 11, 2014. (Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks at the Capitol in Washington on Dec. 11, 2014.
First up from the God Machine this week is an unusual theological argument against the international nuclear agreement with Iran.
As anyone who's followed the debate at all knows, Republicans have made a variety of arguments against the diplomatic deal, nearly all of them related to national security. But as Right Wing Watch reported this week, former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) went in a more unusual direction, arguing that President Obama is ushering in the End Times, and the nuclear agreement is evidence of the arrival of the Last Days.

Bachmann claimed that the unanimous UN Security Council vote to approve the agreement was "the most important national security event of my lifetime" because it fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 12:3 that all the nations of the world will unite against Israel, "with the United States leading that charge." She added that God and "heaven's armies" will use groups like AIPAC to defeat the deal in Congress and in doing so "prove to the world His power and His strength." [...] Bachmann told listeners that they should feel "encouraged" by the fact that they are living in the End Times, explaining that these dark times are actually the best time to be alive since that means the world will soon come to an end.

The right-wing former lawmaker, just four years removed from her presidential campaign, added that she's "extremely excited" because "I think that we are about to see the strong right arm of the Holy God show to the world and prove to the world, His power and His strength. He is the Lord of Heaven's armies."
To date, she's the only Republican that I'm aware of who's publicly framed the debate over the Iran deal in terms of the End of Days. Whether any of Bachmann's former colleagues follow her lead remains to be seen.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* In an unexpected announcement, Kenya's Conference of Catholic Bishops declared a boycott this week of the World Health Organization's vaccination campaign, saying they needed to "test" whether ingredients contain a derivative of estrogen. The NPR report has the details.
* A vandalized church in Maryland: "A 'Black Lives Matter' sign at a Maryland church was vandalized on Tuesday for the second time in less than a month. The River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation, which the Washington Post reports is predominantly white, wanted to highlight the struggles of their black brothers and sisters by placing a 'Black Lives Matter' sign outside their Bethesda church. After vandals defaced it, all that's left is 'Lives Matter.'"
* Given his recent interest in anti-gay banking, stories like these stand out: "Franklin Graham started taking a salary from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association two years after giving up pay from the Charlotte ministry founded by his father. The Charlotte Observer reports that Graham is getting just over $250,000 from the association, on top of the more than $620,000 he makes from leading the international relief agency Samaritan's Purse."
* Judges really aren't supposed to do stuff like this: "Smith County, Texas, Judge Randall Lee Rogers overstepped his bounds when he ordered a man charged with assault to write Bible verses and marry his girlfriend as an alternative to jail, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State."