Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Q. Thank you for coming to Cleveland, Mr. President, and to the City Club. My question is that author and former Nixon administration official Kevin Phillips, in his latest book, American Theocracy, discusses what has been called radical Christianity and its growing involvement into government and politics. He makes the point that members of your administration have reached out to prophetic Christians who see the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism as signs of the apocalypse. Do you believe this, that the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism are signs of the apocalypse? And if not, why not?

THE PRESIDENT: The answer is -- I haven't really thought of it that way. (Laughter.)

-- from a transcript of President Bush's visit to the City Club of Cleveland, March 20, 2006.

Doomsday prophet Mihran Ask was born on this day in 1886 in Shabin Karahisar, Sivar Province, Western Armenia, Ottoman Empire.

A pastor of the Remnant Church in Gilroy, California, Ask declared in January 1957: "Sometime between April 16 and 23, 1957, Armageddon will sweep the world! Millions of persons will perish in its flames and the land will be scorched!"

In case you missed it, he was wrong. The only item of note during that period appears to have been President Eisenhower's appropriation of $41 million for the U.S. Postal Service. Ask's prediction was even embarrassing to the perennial heralds of doom, the Jehovah's Witnesses, who wrote that "(s)uch false prophets tend to put the subject of Armageddon in disrepute."

Ask went on to run for U.S. president in 1964 (perhaps he was upset with Eisenhower over that postal appropriation) as the self-proclaimed candidate of the Peace Party. He is said to have received a grand total of 10 votes in all.

He died February 6, 1979 in Morgan Hill, California.

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