In a 1992 CNN interview with Larry King on "Reagan, the Pope, Solidarity and the Fall of Communism," Time Magazine's Carl Bernstein made a stunning assertion: the Vatican had offered to help buttress Poland's ailing pro-Western Solidarity Party and prop up Lech Walesa's torpid presidency in exchange for a stiffening of conservative values and the establishment of the Christian Right as a viable political force in the U.S.

Investigations by this writer a year earlier into state-sponsored massacres of Guatemalan and Honduran street children, hinted that a political "fifth column" had indeed taken root in the U.S. and simultaneously sprouted in Central America where U.S. strategic interests continue to be guarded by U.S.-installed puppet regimes. Credible sources that spoke on condition of anonymity added convincing evidence to rumors that politicians, intelligence agencies, religious leaders, charitable organizations and multinational corporations were engaged in a hemispheric cabal aimed at harmonizing global evangelical interests with U.S. foreign policy objectives.


The authors of this stratagem -- now overt and in full bloom in America -- include an oddball assortment of powerful confederates. Chief among them is Robert Macauley, founder of AmeriCares, the New Canaan, Connecticut-based relief agency (and childhood buddy of George Bush, Sr.); the Knights of Malta (the Vatican's mouthpiece, a patron of the CIA and a regular conduit into Latin America); Pat Buchanan; and W. R. Grace CEO, J. Peter Grace, a man associated with CIA-engineered coups and the scuttling of American labor unions.

Grace, who referred to former New York governor, Mario Cuomo, as a "homo," and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins as a "pinkins," also had a fondness for war criminals. In 1958, in defiance of U.S. law, he helped Dr. Otto Ambros, the developer of Zyklon-B gas used in extermination camps, immigrate to the U.S. Convicted at the Nuremberg trials of mass murder and supplying slave labor, Ambos was hired by Grace as a "consultant."


What do Macauley, Grace, Buchanan and the Knights of Malta have in common? All have close ties to the CIA. All profess a strong penchant for conservative religious causes.

AmeriCares, whose declared mission is to offer worldwide relief "regardless of race, religion of political persuasion," has funded and taken part in U.S.-engineered armed conflicts and routinely flew its armada into ideological battlefields directly linked to U.S. strategic interests. It steadfastly withheld disaster relief to nations it deemed not sufficiently pro-American.

The Knights of Malta is a 900-year-old fellowship modeled after an ancient order of soldier-monks who merrily slaughtered thousands of "infidels." The KoM is dedicated to "inculcating lessons in chivalry and courage, and inspire a militant spirit in opposition to all non-Christian ideologies and powers." The American branch of the KoM counts among its members former CIA directors William Casey and John McCone. McCone is remembered as the architect of the bloody 1973 military coup in Chile. Others include former CIA chief of counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton; William and James Buckley; Alexander Haig; former treasury secretary William Simon (and his son, Bill Simon) and rabid critic of John Kerry, former Senator, Admiral Jeremiah Denton, who sponsored a bill allowing U.S. Air Force transports to ship goods for AmeriCares, a privilege accorded no other relief organization.


Twelve years after the CNN interview, the religious right, once regarded as a pesky but harmless aberration, has since consecrated the marriage between politics and religion. The offspring of this aberrant union -- resentment and distrust for the religious right's regressive and unyielding agenda -- will have sad historical consequences on a nation that has always taken pride in the tolerance, enlightenment and magnanimity of its people. Stridently opposed to reproductive rights and stem cell research, misogynous, homophobic, jingoistic and eager to crush free thought and secularism, the religious right, aided and abetted by America's clandestine services, is dangerously out of touch with the aspirations of this nation's pluralistic majority.

H.L. Mencken defined faith as the illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable. The religious right has taken faith to another level. It is now exploiting it as an instrument of national partition and discord. __
W. E. Gutman is a veteran journalist. He lives in southern California.