December 17, 2004

Bush and Religion

...he's not a religious nutter. The Economist makes the case (one often made here at B.D.)

By and large, Mr Bush has not associated the workings of providence with America or himself. The best evidence is his frequent assertion that “the liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world. It is God's gift to humanity.” To many Europeans, this formulation seems unnecessary. They argue that liberty is good in itself, not because it is God's gift. But to Americans the association is almost axiomatic, since it is rooted in the declaration of independence (“all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”). In some ways, Mr Bush is actually rejecting the “exceptionalist” claim that America is a unique nation singled out by its liberty.

Mr Bush's followers have been less prudent. They talk as if he has the mandate of heaven. “The Lord has just blessed him,” said Pat Robertson, the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network. “I think President Bush is God's man at this hour,” said Tim Goeglein, of the White House Office of Public Liaison, soon after the September 11th attacks. But when Mr Gerson said the same thing (“Mr President, when I saw you on television, I thought God wanted you there”), Mr Bush retorted: “He wants us all here, Gerson.”

Lastly, while Mr Bush goes on about the importance of faith, he never talks about policy—even issues with a moral component—in terms of doctrine or revelation. Evangelicals, for example, want to ban gay marriage because (they say) it is against God's will. Mr Bush never says this. He opposes it on the grounds that marriage is an institution so fundamental to society that it should not be changed. That is also why he has been so cautious in arguing for his faith-based policies.

Posted by Gregory at December 17, 2004 04:33 AM

Bush's religion keeps him out of the booze and making good decisions. He goes to bed early and gets up early. He is always on time, always smartly dressed. He is drole and charming. He is a decent, hard-working man, and knows where he wants to take this country. He is winning. He can lose Chafee, Specter, Collins, Snowe AND either McCain or Hagel, and still get every single judge confirmed, with Cheney in the chair. And in case you haven't noticed, Hamid Karzai has emerged as the Kemal Ataturk of Afghanistan. The Saudis are killing al-Quaeda for us. Dr. Khan is outed. Libya has turned in its nukes. Peace is breaking out in Palestine, and maybe, just maybe, Iraq is over the hump. If so, that adds up to the greatest foreign policy since Reagan. Why can't we just embrace Jefferson's great legacy, and let people's religion be their own damned business?

Posted by: exguru at December 17, 2004 06:29 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I actually agree... Bush isn't a fundamentalist nut, though he panders too much to that part of the electorate.

Posted by: Guy at December 17, 2004 06:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Right you are. He just panders endlessly to religious nuts, invites them to the White House, has Karl Rove conduct weekly conference calls with them, and funnels cash to them via his unconstitutional programs that he's established via executive fiat.

And as this makes clear, his own rebirth is incredibly difficult to separate from electoral calculation ...

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